Rod Benson's time with the D-League is over

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Rod Benson is arguably the biggest star in the D-League. He’s not the best player in the league or the most productive, but in terms of organically created stardom from within the minor league system, no player can compare to the man known as Boom Tho.

He’s been in the D for four years, and over that time has become the league’s all-time leading rebounder. He’s been to summer league and training camps, to Europe and back, and yet despite his NBA size, rebounding skill, and ability to finish around the basket, he hasn’t logged a single minute of NBA action. Not one.

That’s largely attributed to Benson’s massive online presence, which is perceived as a possible threat to PR-conscious general managers. As far as 12th men go, Benson would seem to come at a bigger risk than most. That’s why you see Boom as one of the last guys picked on the proverbial whiffleball field, despite his noticeable talent and the flurry of call-ups this season. Some of those call-ups were, frankly, given to inferior players.

At some point, Benson was going to say that enough was enough. Well, he kind of already did that once, but now he’s back and doing it again. From our own Matt Moore, writing at FanHouse:

It’s tragic that in a season of so many successes for the NBA D-League — with attendance up, a record shattering number of call-ups, and an
all-time high level of positive attention for the league — there is
such a big failure to be noted: the inability of the league to
accurately showcase Rod Benson, the all-time leading rebounder in NBA
D-League history.

Benson informed FanHouse that he is “done” with the D-League and will
not be returning next season after his team, the Reno Bighorns, fell to
the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Tuesday, completing a three-game series
in which he averaged 24 points and 16.3 rebounds per game.

Moore goes on to describe the Benson fiasco as a failure, and he’s right; Rod is an NBA-caliber big, even if he isn’t going to rule the world with refined post moves or supernatural talent. He’s well-worth a roster spot right now, and the fact that he’s been in the D-League for so long without an NBA call-up is at least perplexing, if not embarrassing. Regardless, the D-League is about to lose one of its biggest names to the bigger paychecks of European leagues, and that’s a shame.

What championship hangover? Cavaliers rout Knicks on ring night in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers finishes off a fast break with a dunk in the third quarter as Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks watches on October 25, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland defeated New York 117-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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There’s a good reason LeBron James has been to six straight NBA Finals. It’s not all about his incredible physical gifts. It’s not about the quality of his teammates.

It’s about will.

On a night when a lot of teams play like their hungover — the night they get their championship rings and a banner is raised to the rafters — LeBron played harder than anyone and pulled his team along.

LeBron had a triple-double — 19 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds — and led the Cavaliers to an easy win over the Knicks, 117-86. Kyrie Irving had 29 points — 19 in the third — and Kevin Love added 23 in the win.

But mostly it was the Cavaliers’ offense getting whatever shot it wanted and the Knicks watching dunks from up close.

Over the course of this season, these Knicks will evolve into something better than they showed opening night. No Derrick Rose (trial) and no Joakim Noah (injury) meant the Knicks starting five didn’t have a lot of cohesion and chemistry from the start.

After a sluggish first five minutes by both teams — they were a combined 6-of-22 shooting to open the game — the Cavaliers slowly started to create a little space behind 10 first quarter points from Love. That lead really started to grow as the Knicks bench came in and went 0-of-6 shooting to end the quarter, with Brandon Jennings making questionable decisions. Tack on seven Knick turnovers and the first and they were down 10 after 12 minutes.

The Cavs were in control through much of the second quarter until the Knicks went on a 10-0 run to make it a game again. It was Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony driving the team — they shot a combined 12-of-20 in the first half, the rest of the Knicks were 5-of-23. It was 48-45 Cavaliers at the break.

In the third quarter the Cavaliers starters cranked it up behind Kyrie Irving and tighter defense — the third quarter saw Kyrie Irving with 19 points and the entire Knicks team with 19. It was 82-64 Cavs after three and the celebration was on.

Kristaps Porzingis showed some moments but his 16 points came on 5-of-13 shooting. Anthony had 19 points on 18 shots. Rose had 17 points but four turnovers and one assist. Brandon Jennings came off the bench to shoot 1-of-7. It was not their best night.

For the Cavs, it was one to remember — the first banner in 52 years went up.

Did we mention LeBron James was dunking all over Knicks? Watch for yourself.


LeBron James isn’t the only story out of the NBA season opener — Kyrie Irving had 29 points, Kevin Love had 23, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose were shotmaking.

But mostly, LeBron James was dunking. And racking up a triple-double (19 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds). But mostly just dunking. Like you see above. Or there is this alley-oop.

Or, there was this putback throwdown.

And we can throw in a block on Courtney Lee just for fun.

Cavaliers moving ball, LeBron James dunking in season opener

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on in the first quarter against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Cavaliers were not in mid-season form on opening night — they started the game 3-of-12 from the floor and were 4-of-21 from three in the first half.

But they were showing flashes.

Like the LeBron James dunk above. Or this stretch of ball movement below.

The Cavaliers led the Knicks 48-45 at the half.

Watch LeBron James’ speech after getting his ring in Cleveland


“At this point, if you’re not from here, live here, play here, dedicate yourself to Cleveland, then it makes no sense for you to live at this point — Cleveland against the world!”

And with that, the Q went nuts.

LeBron James and the Cavaliers got their rings and raised a banner in Cleveland — the first title banner in that city in 52 seasons (although the Indians are trying to have their say on the matter across the street). It was emotional for everyone in the building, and particularly the hometown boy LeBron.

Check out the full ring ceremony.