We knew that the genesis of the Texas Legends’ roster could somehow be connected to that of the now-defunct Los Angeles D-Fenders. We also knew that an expansion draft could be an important formative step for the Legends. What we didn’t know is that those two would methods of acquiring players would actually be one in the same, as the D-League announced on Thursday. There will be a D-League expansion draft for the Legends benefit after all…with a 14-player pool comprised of solely former D-Fenders.
From the team release:
The roster for the inaugural Texas Legends season, which tips off in November, will begin to take shape by way of an Expansion Draft, it was announced today. The 14-player expansion draft pool is made up of solely of the returning players from the 2009-10 Los Angeles D-Fenders, which will be on hiatus for the 2010-11 season. Included in the pool are guard Dar Tucker and center Michael Fey, two of the 30 players invited to the 2010 NBA D-League Elite Mini-Camp, held in June in Chantilly, VA.
…“This is another step towards our inaugural season,” Legends Owner Donnie Nelson commented. “The D-Fenders had a number of very talented players who have a real chance to develop into NBA athletes. The opportunity to draft their rights is the first step towards forming our team.”
Essentially, the Legends will have the right of first refusal on all of the D-Fenders, and there should be plenty of refusing. L.A. had the worst record in the Western Conference last season (and the second-worst record in the D overall), and the overall talent of the roster reflects that. I’m sure some of the D-Fenders will end up with the Legends to start the season, but don’t mistake this for anything more than the most basic of starter kits.
Available for the picking are Dar Tucker (also known as he who did this), Michael Fey, Joe Crawford, Diamon Simpson, Ryan Forehan-Kelly, Gabriel Hughes, Lawrence McKenzie, Frank Robinson, Horace Wormely, James Wright, Keith Clark, James Peters, Ray Reese and Rodney Webb. You can view all of their statistical information here, but keep in mind that someone has to produce on every team, even the second worst in the D-League.
UPDATE: Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside ranked the top 10 D-Fenders and described them in greater detail. I’m inclined to defer to him on these matters. Follow along with Schroeder as he briefly explains each of the top 10 options, their relative standing, and why it makes sense to draft the rights of some players that have already signed deals to play overseas.