The Austin Toros acquired Sioux Falls Skyforce guard Charlie Westbrook in a trade last week. Westbrook’s addition cramps an already cramped guard rotation including Courtney Fels, Myck Kabongo, Ronald Murray and even Nando De Colo, who soaks up significant minutes when he’s not with the San Antonio Spurs.
The five-day NBA D-League Showcase concluded yesterday — which props fringe talent on a NBA platform. Fringe talent like Kabongo and Westbrook, who the D-League tabbed as “intriguing” prospects.
Here’s their take on Kabongo, via the D-League’s official website:
Coach’s dream. Best pure point guard in his class. Canadian sensation. These were the buzz words tossed around about Kabongo just three years ago. Now he’s an undrafted prospect searching for redemption in the NBA D-League after a rocky two-year career at Texas that was marred by a suspension for violating NCAA amateurism rules. Yet there’s so much of Kabongo’s story left to be written — he’s still just 20 years old and possesses all the tools to be an NBA point guard. A return to Nevada, where he spent his senior year of high school at Findlay Prep in Henderson, seems like a perfect place to start.
The Toros score 9.1 points (per 100 possessions) more with Kabongo on the floor, and a big chunk of their offense is created by Kabongo in transition, the primary spark plug in the Toros’ typically dormant transition offense. Kabongo is second on the team in 3-point percentage — first, if you’re not counting Terrence Woodbury’s meager four 3-point attempts. His showcase performance may leave much to be desired, just five points in 35 minutes, but he did finish in double-figures in six of his previous eight games.
Westbrook averaged 12 points, three rebounds and 2.1 assists with the Skyforce. Here’s the D-League’s take:
Conveniently enough, Charlie Westbrook’s style of play most resembles his NBA equivalent (of no relation) Russell Westbrook, down to their very similar builds (6-4, 196) vs. (6-3, 200). Charlie, a prolific scorer at the University of South Dakota, uses his athleticism to thrive in transition and fly around the defensive end, but needs work as a shooter and distributor (sound familiar?). That’s not to say the NBA D-League’s Westbrook is bound for the next level, but the two-time defending champion Heat were intrigued enough to add him to their training camp roster in September AND their new single-affiliate, the Skyforce, in December before Sioux Falls traded him to Austin the day before Showcase.
Westbrook scored 16 points in 33 minutes during the showcase. He’s appeared in three games with the Toros, and they were decimated on defense in his 40 minutes. But it’s early, and Austin may have unearthed a couple of promising talents, in the meantime.