Top 10 NBA D-League Prospects Rookie Cards – Part 1 – The creation of the NBA’s Development League has provided numerous young athletes a competitive environment to hone their skills and earn a chance at being called-up by an NBA team.
Last season, 47 players received that call. With the NBA season at the half-way mark and numerous teams plagued by injuries to key roster personnel, here is a look at the Top 10 NBA D-League Prospects (part one of two) and some of their key NBA Rookie Cards who also might receive the Gatorade call-up this season.
Top 10 NBA D-League Prospects Rookie Cards – Part 1 – Elliot Williams
Elliot Williams 6’5″, 190lb – Guard, Drafted 2010, Portland Trailblazers – 1st Round, 22nd Overall, Duke/Memphis – Williams was NBA D-League All-Star in 2015, in route to winning the league championship and being named the Finals MVP. His NBA D-League player profile states that he is an “elite-level athlete with supreme leaping ability; has grown as a facilitator.”
Elliot Williams has several NBA rookie cards that were released in 2010-11 Panini NBA basketball card sets. He also has pre-rookie cards from Upper Deck.
Top 10 NBA D-League Prospects Rookie Cards – Part 1- Russ Smith
Russ Smith 6′, 165lb – Guard, Drafted 2014, Philadelphia 76’ers – 2nd Round, 47th Overall, Louisville – Was a key player in Louisville’s NCAA championship in 2014. That year he was a consensus first team All-American and Naismith Award winner. He is described as being a “quick play-maker with the ball in his hands, can wreak havoc as an on-ball defender”.
Russ Smith’s NBA rookie cards are included on the checklists of several 2014-15 Panini NBA basketball products including: Luxe, Select, Paramount, National Treasures, Court Kings and Prizm, to name a handful. (Click on the links to learn more about these NBA trading card products fro Panini America.)
Top 10 NBA D-League Prospects Rookie Cards – Part 1 – Jimmer Fredette
Jimmer Fredette 6’2″, 195lb – Guard, Drafted 2011, Milwaukee Bucks – 1st Round, 10th Overall, BYU – After winning the National Player of the Year ward at BYU in 2011, Fredette has had a bit of an up-and-down career. He’s appeared in over 233 NBA games for three different teams. He can still be a valuable addition to an NBA roster for a team looking for shooting range off the bench.
Jimmer Fredette’s first autographed cards debuted in a handful of basketball card sets from Upper Deck during the 2011-12 season. While he saw playing time coming off the bench in December of 2011, his first NBA start came in 2012. Because of the NBA lockout at the start of the 2011-12 season, players drafted in 2011 and making their team’s roster, were officially designated for rookie card eligibility in 2012-13. The NBA’s exclusive licensee for basketball trading cards, Panini America, included Fredette in several sets from that year including: Immaculate, Intrigue, Innovation, National Treasures and Crusade to name a few.
Top 10 NBA D-League Prospects Rookie Cards – Part 1 – Toure Murray
Toure’ Murray 6’5″, 195lb – Guard, Undrafted 2012, Wichita State – Being undrafted didn’t detour Murray from his dream of playing in the NBA. He joined the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2012 NBA Summer League. He eventually made his NBA debut with the Utah Jazz in January of 2014. He is an aggressive defender with 56 games of NBA experience. He is still just 26 and continues to develop offensively.
Top 10 NBA D-League Prospects Rookie Cards – Part 1 – Orlando Johnson
Orlando Jonson 6’5″, 220lb – Guard, Drafted 2012, Sacramento Kings – 2nd Round, 36th Overall, Loyola Marymount/UC Santa Barbara – Johnson is a former Big West Player of the Year. He has 96 games of NBA experience with the Indiana Pacers. He is a long, athletic guard, with a big body giving him a physical edge over smaller competitors.