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At D-League Showcase, Milton Lee talks league future, value to Nets

Springfield Armor

The D-League's Showcase takes place this week in Reno, with all 16 development league teams playing four games a day over four days. It's a chance for NBA executives to scout all the top prospects in one place.

Milton Lee, the Nets assistant GM for minor league operations was interviewed by NBA TV before the Armor's latest loss, 97-91, to the host Reno Bighorns. He talked about how important the D-League is not just for finding the next diamond in the rough, as the Nets did last year with Gerald Green, but building the scouting database on players sent down by other clubs

"We're also looking at a guy like Nolan Smith or Will Barton or Terrence Jones, somebody we haven't seen on the court that much in the NBA, so it's a great way to keep up with their development as well," said Lee referring to the latest players assigned to D-League clubs.

For the Nets, last season's Showcase led directly to the signing of Green a few weeks later. The 6'8" Green became one of the most productive call-ups for any team in the league's history. "We saw him here at the Showcase, got reports that he was really coachable and had a great attitude," said Lee of Green. "His athleticism is pretty obvious to all of us. and the Showcase gave him a chance. In many teams eyes, we were the lucky ones who got him before the others."

As for the future, Lee, who referred to himself as a "huge bull" on the future of the league, said teams like the Nets, with their single affiliation with a D-League, haven't scratched the surface yet on ways to use the league, citing innovative ways the Knicks and Celtics used their D-League clubs

"What New York did a couple of weeks ago with bringing their D-League down to their practice facility to practice with Amare, what Boston has done a couple of times in bringing their whole D-League team (Maine Red Claws) to work out with free agents," Lee explained. "There are a lot of ways single affiliate teams are using the D-League that aren't that publcized but as we get closer to 30 for 30 teams, we're going to be using and integrating our minor league system in ways that aren't even obvious to us right now. "

As for game, the Armor lost their sixth straight, falling to 4-11. James Mays, the 6'9" center-power forward, had another double-double with 15 and 10, and Christian Polk, a three-point specialist out of UTEP, hit five bombs on his way to 21 points. Carleton Scott, the 6'8" small forward who the Nets were high on in training camp, was again inconsistent, grabbing 10 rebounds but shooting only 1-of-8 from downtown. Dennis Horner and Ben Uzoh, both former Nets, had tough shooting nights as well, going a combined 7-of-27.