FORMER Ginebra import Orlando Johnson is making his case for a return to the NBA, leading the D-League in three-point shooting percentage as the annual league showcase opens.
While NBA scouts actually monitor D-League players all season, it is during the showcase where they get to see the top players battle it out, without having to travel.
The site this year is Santa Cruz in California, with all 19 teams seeing action starting on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
The D-League site has listed Quinn Cook of the Canton Charge, Jimmer Fredette of the Westchester Knicks, Sean Kilpatrick of the Delaware 87ers, and Andrew Harrison of the Iowa Energy as the 'players to watch' in the showcase.
Johnson, meanwhile, has been listed among the top five free agents in the D-League by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports based on his interviews with NBA scouts.
The Ginebra Kings’ former reinforcement is hitting 53.2 percent from the three-point range for the Austin Spurs and the 26-year old guard could be a tantalizing prospect for NBA teams needing gunners, while likely quashing chances of a PBA comeback this year.
[See Tim Cone bares Ginebra bringing in former TNT import Othyus Jeffers for Commissioner's Cup]
One scout said of Johnson, who had previous stints with the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings: “He’s shooting the three-pointer real well. He’s being more efficient. He plays a lot more like a pro now than when he was in the NBA.”
All five players mentioned in Spears’ top list are guards, with Erick Green of the Reno BigHorns, Elliot Williams of the Santa Cruz Warriors, Lorenzo Brown of Grand Rapids Drive and Kilpatrick joining Johnson.
As for Fil-Am Ray Parks of the Texas Legends, with 0.6 points and 1.4 rebounds average in a first D-League stint hampered by a reported ankle problem, it may take a while before scouts notice.
[See Former Ginebra import Orlando Johnson makes US highlights with mean dunk in NBA D-League]