2014 NBA First-Round Picks In The D-League

The goal of many at this week’s NBA draft combine is to become a first-round draft pick. Two seasons of guaranteed salary go along with that distinction, as long as teams sign the first-rounders they have the rights to, and that gives those prospects a better footing on NBA rosters. It doesn’t guarantee they won’t spend time in the D-League, however.

Nearly half of the 30 first-round picks from 2014 spent time in the D-League this past season. That includes Josh Huestis, who agreed to sign a D-League contract instead of an NBA deal in exchange for Oklahoma City drafting him 29th overall, an unprecedented arrangement. The 13 other first-rounders from last year who appeared in the D-League in 2014/15 did so on assignment from their NBA teams. No. 25 overall pick Clint Capela, who’s been part of Houston’s rotation in the playoffs, spent so much time on assignment that he was a member of the D-League’s All-Defensive First Team.

Perhaps the key to avoiding D-League time is to end up in the lottery. T.J. Warren, the last lottery selection in 2014, saw nine games in the D-League, but no other player taken within the top 14 picks went on assignment more than once. The Celtics put Marcus Smart, the sixth overall pick, into only one D-League game, though that still made him the highest draft pick from last year to play in the D-League.

Here’s a look at all of the 2014 first-rounders and the time they spent in the D-League this season, with an assist from our D-League Assignments/Recalls Log:

  1. Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves: None
  2. Jabari Parker, Bucks: None
  3. Joel Embiid, Sixers: None
  4. Aaron Gordon, Magic: None
  5. Dante Exum, Jazz: None
  6. Marcus Smart, Celtics: 1 assignment, 1 game
  7. Julius Randle, Lakers: None
  8. Nik Stauskas, Kings: None
  9. Noah Vonleh, Hornets: 1 assignment, 2 games
  10. Elfrid Payton, Magic: None
  11. Doug McDermott, Bulls: None
  12. Dario Saric, Sixers: Overseas
  13. Zach LaVine, Timberwolves: None
  14. T.J. Warren, Suns: 4 assignments, 9 games
  15. Adreian Payne, Hawks/Timberwolves: 4 assignments, 17 games
  16. Jusuf Nurkic, Nuggets: None
  17. James Young, Celtics: 11 assignments, 17 regular season games and 2 playoff games
  18. Tyler EnnisSuns/Bucks: 4 assignments, 9 games
  19. Gary HarrisNuggets: None
  20. Bruno Caboclo, Raptors: 2 assignments, 7 games
  21. Mitch McGary, Thunder: 4 assignments, 8 games
  22. Jordan Adams, Grizzlies: 5 assignments, 11 games
  23. Rodney Hood, Jazz: None
  24. Shabazz Napier, Heat: 2 assignments, 4 games
  25. Clint Capela, Rockets: 5 assignments, 38 games
  26. P.J. Hairston, Hornets: None (Played in D-League during 2013/14 season)
  27. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Suns: Overseas
  28. C.J. Wilcox, Clippers: 1 assignment, 5 games
  29. Josh Huestis, Thunder: 44 regular season games and 2 playoff games on D-League contract
  30. Kyle Anderson, Spurs: 7 assignments, 26 regular season games and 5 playoff games

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