Each week, ESPNDallas.com will take a look at the Texas Legends, the D-League affiliate for the Dallas Mavericks, in order to see how the two are working hand in hand to improve one another.
The Texas Legends get to show what they can do with as they participate in the NBA D-League Showcase. The five-day event in Santa Cruz, Calif. continues with four games apiece on Jan. 16-18 and culminates in a three-game schedule on Jan. 19.
It’s a huge opportunity for all of the players as all 18 D-League teams converge in one city to play in front of NBA general managers and player personnel executives from all 30 NBA teams.
Hopefuls on the Legends can look back to last season and see that success in the showcase can do wonders for their chances of making it to the NBA. Last year, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad scored a combined 46 points in 49 minutes in two games with the Iowa Energy. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who is enjoying a breakout season of his own this year, was a 2014 standout with the Bakersfield Jam.
While the spotlight will shine on teams like the Legends, Eric Griffin will be one of the most intriguing options for the general managers and executives to observe. It's a great opportunity for the Legends' best player to show what he can do.
At 24, the athletic swingman provides plenty of intrigue as he’s playing in just his eighth year of organized basketball. His ability to jump out of the gym and show that he can develop more of an all-around game at a rapid rate makes him a player that the scouts will keep an eye on.
Mark your calendars
The Bakersfield Jam held off a fourth-quarter rally by Texas Legends to win the opening game of the Showcase Cup at the NBA D-League Showcase, 109-102. Both squads qualified for the Showcase Cup by virtue of their records as of Jan. 1, as the top eight teams compete to become the first-ever Showcase Cup champion.
Texas will play in the consolation bracket on Sunday, Jan. 18 at 10 p.m. CT. After the NBA Development League Showcase, the Legends will head out on the road to face the Austin Spurs on Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Fans will be able to watch the D-League live on the NBA D-League YouTube Channel (YouTube.com/nbadleague), the Legends’ website, as well as via the NBA D-League Center Court mobile app -- the league’s free mobile application providing fans with access to NBA D-League content.
But not least …
The Legends acquired guards William Buford, Myck Kabongo and Brandon Young from the available player pool over the last week.
Buford (6-5, 215) was a four-year starter at Ohio State averaging 13.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Buford played 11 games with the Canton Charge earlier this season averaging 6.2 points and 2.5 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game.
Kabongo (6-3, 180) played two years at the University of Texas averaging 10.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 32 minutes. Prior to joining the Legends, Kabongo played 16 games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and added 8.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
Young (6-4, 192) was a four-year starter at DePaul averaging 15.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists. In his freshman season Young was named to the AAC All-Rookie Team. Young is the only player in DePaul program history with at least 1,200 points, 400 assists and 100 three-pointers, as well as the only player with at least 100 assists in all four seasons.