The #CallWillieUp hashtag on Twitter was Willie Reed's way of promoting his NBA prospects ... well that and some big numbers. It worked last season when the Grizzlies called him up from the Armor and he stayed with them through the end of the season and the playoffs. The 6'10" power forward (he says 6'11") returned to Springfield this season and tried again. But the 23-year-old remains in Springfield with few possibilities of moving up. The Armor have only four games left.
Reed is now ranked the D-League's fifth best NBA prospect and this week was named D-League Performer of the Week. it's no wonder, After Sunday's 20-point, 18-rebound explosion in a loss to Maine, he's averaging 19.8 points, 15.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 75-of-145 in the month of March. In the last five, he's averaging 17.2 points and 17.8 rebounds.
The Nets have to decide by Thursday whether to keep Jorge Gutierrez for the rest of the season. Considering his recent performance vs. the Celtics, that's likely to happen. So what are Reed's options if there are no call-ups. He could be invited to an NBA summer league roster or training camp, maybe by the Nets or any other NBA club. Married and the father of an infant son, he could command a much better salary in Europe or China than he could in the D-League, where the most a player can make is $35,000 plus in-season housing.
It would seem a waste the Nets to help him develop as much as they have in Springfield, then walk away with nothing. The Nets took a chance on Reed and he performed. But in the D-League, under current rules, that's what happens. The same holds true for other NBA prospects on the Springfield roster, including 6'7" swingman Adonis Thomas and 6'5" point guard Lorenzo Brown, but both to them had NBA shots this season.
In Sunday's loss to the Maine, Brown, ranked just ahead of Reed at No. 3 in the Prospect Watch, had 23 points and six assists while the often streaky Thomas finished with eight points, shooting 3-of-17. Thomas is ranked No. 13 among prospects. The other Armor player on the Prospect Watch, Devin Ebanks, is serving a five-game drug suspension.
For Maine, Tyshawn Taylor finished with 18 points, but shot 7-of-23.
- Game Info: Armor at Red Claws - D-League
- Late comeback falls short, as Springfield Armor lose to Maine Red Claws 100-95 - Kevin Thomas - Springfield Republican