The Texas Legends participated in a peculiar one-team, ten-round expansion draft on Monday, in which Nancy Lieberman and her staff had their pick of the L.A. D-Fender litter. The Legends now own the rights to 10 former D-Fenders. Those 10 players are, according to a release from the team:
|Frank Robinson||6-4||220||Cal-State Fullerton||26
|Diamon Simpson||6-7||230||St. Mary's (CA)||22
For those keeping track at home, the D-Fenders not selected were: Lawrence McKenzie, Ray Reese, Rodney Webb, and Horace Wormely.
The Legends still do not have a roster. Though they now own the rights to the selected 10, not all of those players will be in the D-League next season, much less in Frisco. As Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside noted last week, Diamon Thompson, Michael Fey, Ryan Foreham-Kelly, and Frank Robinson have already signed contracts to play overseas next season, and thus will likely pass on the opportunity to play for the Mavs’ affiliate. Of the remaining six, some will at least make it to Legends camp, though it’s unknown how many of those players will actually make the final roster.
The Legends have begun to take shape. Even if, for the moment, that shape is something of an amorphous blob.
UPDATE: Here’s Schroeder’s take, again from Ridiculous Upside.
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.