Last week, D-League teams converged in Reno for the annual D-League showcase. The San Antonio Spurs affiliate Austin Toros went a perfect 2-0 at the showcase, and several Toros were mentioned in a showcase edition of the prospect watch on the league's homepage.
While Cory Joseph led the Toros with just over 21 points per game in the showcase before he was called back up to the Spurs, a pair of other Toros stood out.
Tyler Wilkerson, who was part of the Spurs training camp, had 12 points and eight rebounds in the first game and finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and one blocked shot in the second game in a matchup against Nuggets draftee Quincy Miller.
Wilkerson is now 22nd on the D-League Prospect Watch big board.
Wilkerson's frontcourt mate, Rick Jackson, also impressed, moving from being an on the cusp pick to 25th on the big board for his aggressive play, especially in a matchup against the much bigger Chris Johnson of the Santa Cruz Warriors. After the showcase, Jackson is now being listed as 21st.
Jackson's best game came against Johnson and the Warriors as he finished the game with 16 points, 14 rebounds and one blocked shot in 30 minutes, while also limiting Johnson to six points.
At 6-foot-9, the Syracuse product shares the same height as a lot of NBA hopefuls that are currently in the D-League. But at 240 pounds, he knows how to throw his body around. His top skill is rebounding, but he can also finish around the basket with a few different moves.
Since the showcase, the Toros have remained perfect with two wins against the Texas Legends. The Toros have back-to-back games against the Tulso 66ers tomorrow and Saturday.
• Bakersfield Jam player wants to be like Bowen
While most young players grew up wanting to be like "Mike," one Bakersfield Jam player, swingman James Nunnally, sees his future role in the NBA similar to that of former Spur Bruce Bowen.
"As far as what my role would be in the NBA," he said, "I'm thinking more of a Bruce Bowen type player. I'm a good defender and I'm continuing to get better. I'm learning all the tactics and rules to being able to defend in the NBA. Doing that and being a knockdown shooter are the two things that will help me get there."
Bowen was a talented player who obviously realized plenty of his own success in The Association, but such a standard isn't one that should necessarily be considered out of reach for Nunnally. He may not score 20 points every night, but the fact is he's still a threat to knock down shots, no matter where he stands on the court. He helps his team spread the floor, and with a continued extra defensive effort, could prove to be that necessary spark-plug a team brings off the bench to to receive an injection of life.
Bowen already works with Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan and he may have his next client in the 22-year-old, who currently comes of the bench for the Jam behind former Texas Longhorn Damion James.
While most young players set their sites on becoming the next LeBron or Kobe, aiming to have a long career and being known as one of the league's best defenders is more than an ideal situation for some like Nunnally.
• Video: Kelly to Wilkerson for the Jam
While Wilkerson stood out at the showcase due to his strong performances, it certainly didn't hurt to have a highlight like the one before, where he abuses an opponent for a dunk off an assist from guard Tre Kelly.