The NBA D-League held its Draft today, with Jeff Ayres going first overall to the Idaho Stampede, the Jazz’s D-League affiliate. The selection of Ayres was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor was the first to report that Ayres signed a D-League contract making him eligible for today’s draft. In addition to Ayres, the top of the draft was saturated with selections of players who had not survived the October 26th league-wide cut down date, when rosters were required to be pared down to the regular season maximum of 15 players, including the likes of Jimmer Fredette, Perry Jones III, and Cartier Martin.
The 28-year-old Ayres, once known as Jeff Pendergraph, averaged 2.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 0.3 assists in 7.5 minutes per game during the 2014/15 season for San Antonio. Rumors of NBA interest in the big man were scarce over the summer after the Spurs renounced their Early Bird rights to him in an effort to clear cap room for their offseason free agent haul, according to RealGM. Ayres had inked a one-year deal with Shanxi of the Chinese Basketball Association worth a reported $1MM back in early September, but he was unceremoniously waived by the club at the beginning of October.
It was a bit of a surprise to see Jones slip to the No. 3 overall pick, with the 24-year-old possessing one of the higher upsides among the pool of potential draftees. However, it wasn’t a shock to see the Knicks nab Fredette, who was born in Glens Falls, New York, and who will likely become a fan-favorite in Westchester in short order. With the Knicks’ backcourt depth dangerously thin, as well as being one of the poorer units statistically in the NBA thus far, Fredette has an excellent chance of returning to the NBA at some point this season, though he is still free to sign with any NBA team that were to come calling.
Here is the full list of first round selections. You can view the complete round by round summary of picks here:
- Idaho Stampede (Jazz) — Jeff Ayres
- Westchester Knicks (Knicks) — Jimmer Fredette
- Iowa Energy (Grizzlies) — Perry Jones III
- Iowa Energy (Grizzlies) — Cartier Martin
- Delaware 87ers (Sixers) — Rysheed Jordan
- Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets) — Amir Williams
- Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors) — Sam Thompson
- Delaware 87ers (Sixers) — David Laury
- Iowa Energy (Grizzlies) — Rick Jackson
- Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets) — Jarvis Summers
- Maine Red Claws (Celtics) — Askia Booker
- Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets) — Cliff Hammonds
- Oklahoma City Blue (Thunder) — Rodney Carney
- Sioux Falls Skyforce (Heat) — Jabril Trawick
- Canton Charge (Cavaliers) — Antonio Barton
- Austin Spurs (Spurs) — Jean Victor Nguidjol
- Bakersfield Jam (Suns) — Kevin Young
- Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors) — Jared Shaw
- Raptors 905 (Raptors) — Mike Anderson