An NBA blog from Newsday's Bobby Bonett
Linsanity! A 'D-Leaguers in the NBA' update
One of Jeremy Lin's many stops in his professional basketball journey was a cup of tea with the Erie Bayhawks this year. He played one game for the team, putting up a monstrous triple-double: 28 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
Of course, Lin has now taken the NBA and, well, world by storm. Lin's now the Knicks' starting point guard, and could wind up there for the foreseeable future with Baron Davis suffering a setback in his rehab from a back injury.
Lin is one of 18 active players on NBA rosters who have appeared in a D-League game this year. Here's a look at how they got here and how they've performed, broken down into three groups:
Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks: 7.7 PPG, 2.9 APG, 1.5 RPG, 12.3 MPG
The stats that matter: 26.5 PPG, 7.5 APG, 55.6 percent from the field in his last two games. After a big game against New Jersey, Lin took over as Mike D'Antoni's starting point guard and logged 45 minutes in an 11-point win over Utah. The big minutes prompted D'Antoni to say he rode the point guard "like friggin' Secretariat." Lin has looked comfortable running the pick-and-roll, has shown a surprising ability to get to the basket, and most importantly, seems to have the trust of his veteran teammates. Yes, it is a ridiculously small sample size, but the journeyman could be the right piece to pair with the Knicks' big frontcourt of Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. What his role will be when (or if) Davis makes it back to the court remains to be seen.
GETTING SOME BURN
Walker Russell, Detroit Pistons: 4.0 PPG, 2.8 APG, 1.3 RPG, 19.2 MPG
Outside of Lin, Russell is making the biggest impact for his NBA team, backing up rookie Brandon Knight at point guard. Russell played a career-high 33 minutes in his last game on Saturday, scoring nine points and dishing four assists. He shot just 22.9 percent in eight games in January, but is 9-for-18 from the field in three February games.
Cory Higgins, Charlotte Bobcats: 4.1 PPG, 1.1 APG, 1.2 RPG, 12.4 MPG
Higgins has played at least seven minutes in every Bobcats game since Jan. 12. He scored in double digits three times in that span, but is shooting just 32.5 percent on the season.
Carldell Johnson, New Orleans Hornets: 1.9 PPG, 1.4 APG, 0.6 RPG, 7.8 MPG
Johnson is making a living giving New Orleans hustle minutes. In each of his last three games, he has played at least 10 minutes, and recorded at least one steal and two assists.
Luke Harangody, Cleveland Cavaliers: 2.3 PPG, 0.4 APG, 2.1 RPG, 8.7 MPG
Harangody was recalled from Canton last week, and played eight minutes and 15 minutes in his first two games back with Cleveland. He played a season-high 23 minutes against Atlanta on Jan. 21, finishing with two points, three rebounds and four fouls.
Julyan Stone, Denver Nuggets: 2.3 PPG, 1.2 APG, 1.8 RPG, 10.5 MPG
Stone has been in and out of the Nuggets rotation, but started for Denver Monday. He played 21 minutes, scoring two points and grabbing four rebounds.
Jamaal Tinsley, Utah Jazz: 1.3 PPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 RPG, 7.9 MPG
Tinsley filled in for the injured Devin Harris against the Warriors last week and had a big game, finishing with nine points and 13 assists in 34 minutes. Harris hasn't been overwhelmingly impressive for Utah, meaning Tinsley's role could increase.
Yi Jianlian, Dallas Mavericks: 3.4 PPG, 0.1 APG, 2.5 RPG, 9.1 MPG
Yi played a pair of games in the D-League after being signed by the Mavericks in early January. With Dallas, his impact has been minimal. The Chinese-born forward has seen his production dip the last three years after averaging 12.0 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Nets during the 2009-10 season.
Greg Stiemsma, Boston Celtics: 1.5 PPG, 0.4 APG, 2.2 RPG, 8.3 MPG
Stiemsma averaged 18.5 minutes per game in December, 7.3 in January and 5.5 in February. His biggest moment this year was his role in the Jason Richardson line-change defense play.
Ish Smith, Orlando Magic: 3.6 PPG, 1.6 APG, 1.4 RPG, 9.8 MPG
Knicks fans might remember Ish from his 11-point, six-rebound, four-assist game for Golden State on Dec. 28. Since then, he's played more than 10 minutes just once -- the following game -- and has since left the Warriors for Orlando. He has played in two of the three games he has been on the Magic roster.
STUCK ON THE PINE
Jerome Jordan, Knicks: 1.6 PPG, 0.3 APG, 1.3 RPG, 5.1 MPG
The presence of Chandler, Jared Jeffries and Stoudemire means Jordan is stuck pretty deep on the Knicks bench. Once Josh Harrellson returns from injury, Jordan's already-limited minutes may continue to shrink.
Terrel Harris, Miami Heat: 3.8 PPG, 0.9 APG, 2.9 RPG, 11.4 MPG
Harris has played 91 minutes this year . . . 44 of them coming in a 116-109 win against the Hawks on Jan. 5. He hasn't seen action since Jan. 21 against the 76ers.
Dominique Jones, Mavericks: 1.7 PPG, 0.6 APG, 0.9 RPG, 4.3 MPG
The second-year pro from South Florida has played more than 13 minutes in a game just once this year. He is 7-for-20 from the floor and 0-for-3 from deep.
Chis Wright, Golden State Warriors: 1.0 PPG, 0.2 APG, 0.8 RPG, 3.2 MPG
The Warriors recalled Wright on Monday. He appeared in five games for Golden State earlier this year. Wright was a double-double threat in the NBADL, averaging 18.6 points and 10.4 rebounds in seven games.
Tyler Honeycutt, Sacramento Kings: 1.3 PPG, 0.0 APG, 0.7 RPG, 2.7 MPG
The rookie from UCLA played in one game in December and one game in January in the NBA. His action in the D-League for Reno was minimal, too: Honeycutt averaged 5.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 12.7 minutes in 10 games, primarily off the bench.
Hamady N'Diaye, Washington Wizards: 0.0 PPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 RPG, 1.0 MPG
N'Diaye's most interesting stat is his PER: -13.22. He played a minute apiece in three of the Wizards' last four games. In 10 D-League games, he averaged 17.2 minutes, 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Lance Thomas, Hornets: 0.5 PPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 RPG, 2.0 MPG
Thomas was signed by the Hornets from the Austin Toros on Monday. He played two games earlier in the year for the Hornets, scoring one point. In 19 games for Austin, Thomas aveaged 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Christian Eyenga, Cavaliers: 0.0 PPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 RPG, 1.0 MPG
Eyenga played a prominent role last season, averaging 6.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in 44 games, but hasn't seen much of the floor this year. He played in nine games in the D-League this year, averaging 8.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.
Tags: D-League , Jeremy Lin , Knicks , Walker Russell , Cory Higgins , Carldell Johnson , Luke Harangody , Julyan Stone , Jamaal Tinsley , Yi Jianlian , Greg Stiemsma , Ish Smith , Jerome Jordan , Terrel Harris , Dominique Jones , Chris Wright , Tyler Honeycutt , Hamady N'Diaye , Lance Thomas , Christian Eyenga