Tag: Erie Bayhawks

Jeremy Lin

While Knicks struggle, back-up Jeremy Lin messes around and gets a triple-double in the D-League


The New York Knicks have been dealing with quite a few issues this season, some of which are related to injury, but it was succinctly summed up on Friday night when Knicks blog Posting and Toasting wrote that they would “rather eat a cactus than watch these Knicks.” If fans aren’t quite ready to start eating desert plantlife, the intermediary between the two is probably tuning in to watch the Knicks’ NBA Development League affiliate Erie BayHawks play. And, if and when that happens, the New York faithful might be treated to some surprising performances a la the one back-up point guard Jeremy Lin turned in on Friday night.

The Asian-American Lin has shown in limited minutes this season that  he probably isn’t the answer to the problems at the point guard position for the Knicks — and there are problems, Iman Shumpert fans — but that doesn’t mean the 23-year-old Harvard grad doesn’t have potential to someday be a rotational player at Madison Square Garden. In fact, Lin may have shown off a bit of that potential while making his Erie BayHawks debut on Friday night.

Lin messed around and got a triple-double while helping lead the Knicks-operated BayHawks to a victory over Morris Almond and the Maine Red Claws. The Knicks guard, on assignment with fellow end-of-the-bench Knickerbocker Jerome Jordan, played took full advantage of his 44 minutes and 22 seconds of playing time by scoring 28 points to go along with 12 assists and 11 rebounds in the 122-113 victory.

It wasn’t the stiffest competition, as most are wont to point out as soon as they see mention of the D-League, but consider the level of play around the D-League this season: the team Lin was facing, the Maine Red Claws, cut former 20-point-per-game-in-the-NBA scorer Ricky Davis earlier in the day after the 32-year-old averaged just eight points on 39 percent shooting through the first 11 games of his comeback season; Lin’s triple-double came on the same night that Sacramento Kings assignee struggled to a five-point, two-assist effort off the bench for the Reno Bighorns; and Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey recently said the talent of play in the D-League is the highest he’s ever witnessed.

Anyway, now that it’s clear that Lin isn’t going to put up a triple-double for the Knicks anytime soon and that he also wasn’t playing against the level of competition that I play with at the Bismarck YMCA, there are some bright spots that could come into play once Lin is called back up to the Knicks.

  • Jeremy Lin is better than Mike Bibby. This isn’t going out on much of a limb, but there has to be an advanced statistic available to prove that it’s true. Bibby is small, doesn’t rebound and has lost his shooting touch (the veteran point guard is shooting less than 40 percent from the field this season). If nothing else, the allure of potential being cooler than reality should be worth playing Lin over Bibby … right?
  • Lin’s out to prove that he’s more than a marketing tool. There was quite an uproar last season when Lin, an undrafted free agent, was given guaranteed money by the Golden State Warriors last season largely because he out-dueled John Wall in a Summer League game (and it didn’t hurt the marketing department that he had the large Asian-American population in the Bay Area hanging on his every move). The second-year pro was unable to stick with the Warriors out of training camp this season, however, and is now looking to prove that he has the game to back up the hype that surrounded him last season.
  • The kid can play. He was matched up against a vastly undersized Jerome Randle on Friday night, sure, but Randle was a prospect the experts at Draft Express fawned over prior to the 2010 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Lin showed a quicker first step than his looks would indicate and an understanding of how to run the pick-and-roll (he and Jordan ran it beautifully a few times Friday night) on his way to the triple-double. He seems to have room for development, too, considering his basketball IQ and age are both acting in his favor.

If Lin’s able to keep building his confidence on Sunday afternoon — Maine moved the game from 5 p.m. to noon to avoid any conflicts with the New England Patriots’ playoff game, apparently — it would seem that the second-year pro deserves another shot at Mike D’Antoni’s rotation. Considering the Knicks are riding a five-game losing streak and have their fans wanting to eat cacti, it couldn’t hurt to infuse a bit of new blood — even if it is only to decide whether Lin is stuck right in the middle of ‘too good for the D-League but not good enough for the NBA’ or whether there’s actually a bit of ridiculous upside in his future.

As expected, Cavaliers send Christian Eyenga to D-League

Image (1) CAVALIERS_LOGO-thumb-250x132-11987.png for post 2066
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Don’t worry Christian Eyenga, Erie is lovely this time of year — feel the lake effect!

As has been expected, the Cavaliers have formally sent Eyenga down to the Erie Bayhawks of the D-League. He will open the season with them this week.

Which is what should happen — Eyenga is a swingman with some potential to get backup/rotation minutes on an NBA team in the future, but he needs seasoning. He’s not going to get it at the NBA level now, with the Cavaliers playing solid basketball, and that is what the D-League is for.

Eyenga, born in the Congo and picked No. 30 overall in 2009, has a two-year deal with the Cavs (and team options beyond that for a couple years) so they are in on letting him develop.

Raptors assign Solomon Alabi to the Erie BayHawks, Ed Davis may join him

Solomon Alabi
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Solomon Alabi was among a notable class of second rounders in the 2010 draft, but his NBA career will be put on pause after just 18 seconds of action. The Toronto Raptors announced that they have assigned Alabi to their D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, and it’s a move that certainly makes sense for all parties.

While the Raps could theoretically use a player like Alabi at center, he’s far too unpolished and inexperienced to provide much help to the current core. Sadly, even Toronto’s current group of slow-rotating, weak-rebounding, outside-in big men are more effective than a rookie center project. I like Alabi’s chances of becoming a productive NBA player eventually, but he needs extended burn and specific instruction to improve his NBA effectiveness, and that’s just what he’ll receive in Erie. As icing on the cake, Alabi will now be the only player on the BayHawks’ roster designated as a center. Head coach Jay Larranaga will benefit from Alabi’s length just as much as Alabi benefits from seeing some actual playing time, though Toronto hopes to benefit most from all of this.

Also, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, Alabi may not be the only Raptor on the BayHawks’ roster. Smith reports that rookie first rounder Ed Davis will likely be sent to Erie while he works his way back from knee surgery, a strategy that more NBA teams would be wise to employ. The D-League isn’t only a great place to send fringe NBA talent or projects. It can also be an invaluable tool for rehabbing players, although currently it can only be used for those within their first thee years in the NBA. The D-League is a terrific option for younger players trying to improve their conditioning and timing after surgery or major injury, so kudos to the Raps for taking full advantage of the D’s offerings.

John Treloar jumps from the Erie BayHawks' bench to the Phoenix Suns' front office

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Thumbnail image for Suns_logo.gifThis summer, much like the season before it, has been kind to the D-League. There have been call-ups from players to coaches to managers to referees, and some of the D’s best and brightest are now the NBA’s, well, something far less.

It doesn’t matter. They’ve made it. Whether on guaranteed contracts or make-good deals, they’ve made it to the NBA, and the D-League has again provided an invaluable avenue for talent in all areas of the game to find big league exposure.

The latest: Erie BayHawks head coach John Treloar has been hired as the Phoenix Suns’ new director of player personnel. It’s a change of pace from the capacity that Treloar is used to at the head of the bench, but considering the personnel duties most D-League coaches are tasked with, Treloar does have somewhat of a foundation for the job.

However, as Scott Schroeder brought up at NBA FanHouse, it may not be Treloar’s body of work in Erie and in the NCAA that got him the Suns job. Instead, Treloar’s pre-existing relationship with Phoenix’s newly-ordained GM, Lance Blanks, may have played a substantial role in the decision. Even though this is Treloar’s first time with an NBA franchise, it looks like he’s already a good ol’ boy.

He’s far from the only one. Owners, GMs, and coaches around the league — and all sports leagues, really — often seek to hire their people, and their people are usually those from working relationships similar to the one in question. It doesn’t mean that all coaches and managers that have benefited from those relationships are unqualified, even if on paper, Treloar seems like he might be. Leaping from D-League head coach to NBA director of player personnel is a big shift, particularly for an individual who really hasn’t worked explicitly in any managerial capacity.

Regardless, Treloar’s hiring — like so many of the other, similar hirings that have come before it — smells just a bit funny. That doesn’t mean he can’t thrive in a front office, but it’s reason enough to raise an eyebrow when considering Treloar’s lack of job-specific experience.

Sneak a peek at two D-League teams' ad-bearing unis

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Yesterday the D-League’s Erie BayHawks and Rio Grande Valley Vipers announced that they would add sponsor advertisements to their team uniforms for the coming season. Now, thanks to NBA.com (via Scott Schroeder of FanHouse), we have our first look at the D-League’s walking billboards:


According to Schroeder, the WNBA’s jersey ad model scored participating franchises over $1 million per season, though the D-League look (featuring the team name and the advertisement rather than the team name being replaced by the advertisement) may not be quite as lucrative due to the less favorable placement.

While yesterday I noted that NBA teams were unlikely to go the full ad route with their uniforms, this is a more reasonable model that could definitely be palatable to big league teams. Particularly in small markets, the allure of adding a sponsor’s logo for some quick, easy cash may be too good of a deal to pass up.