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.
After selecting six players in the 2014 NBA Development League draft on Nov. 1, the Texas Legends completed a five-team trade the same day that netted them Justin Jackson, Yuki Togashi, Marcus Melvin and Ish Smith. Who says the D-League is boring?
Smith has four years of NBA experience, and has since been called up and signed by the Oklahoma City Thunder because of the injuries they have sustained.
Four players on the current Legends roster also participated in Dallas’ 2014 training camp. Summer league standouts Eric Griffin and Togashi join Doron Lamb and Bernard James on the Legends this season. They will also have another ex-Mav, 39-year-old Mike James, on the roster. James played with Dallas during the 2012-13 season and will likely serve as the Legends’ starting point guard.
Forwards Jeremy Atkinson and Damion James and guard Booker Woodfox, return to the Legends from the 2013-14 roster.
Don’t be surprised if Mavs swingman Ricky Ledo makes the commute to Frisco in the very near future. The convenience of being “just down the road” will likely be implemented when the Legends return home from their road trip, and Ledo will be assigned to the Legends.
While it’s a safe bet to assume the next Dirk Nowitzki isn’t suiting up for the Legends, there are proven NBA players and very legitimate NBA prospects on the roster.
Mark your calendar
The Legends have their season opener on the road Friday night against the Bakersfield Jam. On Tuesday, just a few days before their home opener, they will host their annual Fan Jam at 6:30 p.m. That will give fans a chance to get a look at the roster via an intrasquad scrimmage. Admission at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco will be free.
Their first home game is Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. against the Santa Cruz Warriors.
Fans will be able to watch the D-League live on the NBA D-League YouTube Channel (YouTube.com/nbadleague), 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 announced this week that beloved Mav Eduardo Najera, who is entering his third season as coach of the team, is getting three new additions to his coaching staff. Former Mav Nick Van Exel will make his D-League debut as associate head coach, while former Mav DeSagana Diop and former Legend Fred House will join the staff as player development coaches.
Diop retired from the NBA in 2013 after 12 years. He will work with the post players to develop agility under the basket and provide guidance.
House retired from basketball after a 12-year career to join the Legends coaching staff. He was part of the Legends during the 2012-13 season and spent last season in Russia with KB Peja of the Balkan League.
In total, the Legends added 37 years of playing experience to Najera’s staff.