Each week, ESPNDallas.com will take a look at the Texas Legends, the D-League affiliate for the Dallas Mavericks, to see how the two teams are working hand in hand.
While it is the NBA’s official minor league basketball organization, the D-League doesn’t operate exactly under the same guidelines. They experiment with rules and personnel decisions. On top of that, they only play 50 games compared to 82 games in the NBA. Two of the games are played in the D-League Showcase, where every team in the league plays two games over four days, giving NBA GMs, scouts and player personnel directors an opportunity to see every player in one setting.
With nearly a quarter of the season done, here are some notes of interest with the Texas Legends.
After Thursday's comeback victory over the Oklahoma City Blue, the Legends had a record of 7-4. The record had them settled in second in the Southwest Division, trailing the Austin Spurs. With a record of just 2-3, the Legends have struggled to capitalize on their homecourt advantage. To their credit, they’ve become the road warriors as they boast a league-best record of 5-1 on the road.
While the Mavs have been pleased with Ricky Ledo’s progression, the swingman has struggled to find his way in terms of consistency. The second-year player is averaging just under 13 points a night, but is shooting under 40 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range. Ledo has the athleticism to get any shot he wants when he’s on the floor, but he’ll need to continue to develop some overall consistency in order to take his game to the next level.
Despite Ledo’s shooting woes, the Legends rank amongst the league’s elite in field-goal percentage, shooting over 48 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range this season. To their credit, they’re also amongst the top in the league in opponent field goal percent and 3-point percentage allowed. They do need to work on their ball security as rank sixth in turnovers per game with nearly 19 turnovers per game.
The Legends inked forward Ivan Johnson to a contract last week. The big man has tried to fill the void of center Bernard James, and it appears that he could be on his way to doing so. Fouls and technical fouls have been an issue for Johnson, but he is bringing a bruising presence in the middle for the Legends. The Mavs actually tried to work on his perimeter shooting during the summer league and training camp in an attempt to expand his game. It's still a work in progress as he’s shooting just 22.2 percent from 3-point range early in his time with the Legends.
Mark your calendars
The Legends get a much-needed break this week. The cold and flu season is in full swing, so most of the team is dealing with that, so a break in the schedule comes at a great time. They won’t play their next game until Friday, Dec. 19 against the Delaware 87ers. They will host the 87ers and then host the Sioux Falls Skyforce on that following Saturday. Both games will be played at Dr. Pepper Arena and will start at 7 p.m. CT.
Each game can be seen live on the D-League's YouTube Channel.
But not least …
The Legends opened up registration for their 2014 Winter Camp. This 3-day camp is for boys and girls between ages 6-14 who are looking to improve their game, compete in fun camp contests, and interact with the team. The camp will be hosted at Hunt Middle School in Frisco and will begin on Dec. 29 and go through Dec. 31. More details for registration are on the Legends’ website.