The Knicks are making a big deal about signing Jeremy Tyler, their 6'10" prospect. Tyler was cut by the Knicks in preseason (so they could keep J.R. Smith's brother Chris), then assigned to the Erie Bayhawks. Although Tyler is a good prospect --he's listed at No. 6 on the D-League Prospect Watch, he's not much better than the Springfield Armor's 6'10" center Willie Reed, who's listed at No. 9 ... and Reed is a far better defender.
Armor GM Milton Lee took a chance on Reed after a controversial time at St. Louis University. Now, he's an established professional player. He excelled enough last year at Springfield to warrant a late season call-up by the Grizzlies. He saw no action in Memphis and was cut in training camp. He decided to stay in the D-League rather than go overseas; His wife is expecting their first child and he didn't want to be far from home. The Armor held his rights. So, the 23-year-old is back in Springfield, where he's averaging 14.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.15 blocks while shooting 63 percent. He ranks fourth in PER as well. (Tyler on the other hand averaged 18 points, 10.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks while shooting 47.8 percent in half as many games while at Erie.)
In a two-part interview with Ridiculous Upside, Reed talks about how he takes particular pride in his defense but he understands he needs to work on his offense to make the NBA grade again. He tells Dakota Schmidt of Ridiculous Upside...
I talk about defense a lot, because that's my identity and who I am. This is the NBA Development League and I've always had some nice moves and have been able to put the ball in the basket.
But this league is about development, and this is where you try to improve yourself. I've worked with the coaching staff to work on my moves, my touch, and taking hook shots. I'm making sure that I work on my touch and work on where I'm going to get my shots at over and over again.
Chris Carrawell, the Armor assistant coach (and therefore a Nets employee), gets a lot of credit for helping Reed develop.
Reed also has some advice for another troubled college player, P.J Hairston who was recently dumped by North Carolina. "I think the biggest key for him is figuring out how to rebuild his image," said Reed adding that if Hairston chooses the D-League, there are a lot of advantages.
- NBA D-League Prospect Willie Reed Breaks Down His On the Court Approach - Dakota Schmidt - Ridiculous Upside
- NBA D-League Prospect Willie Reed Discusses What's Next For P.J. Hairston - Dakota Schmidt - Ridiculous Upside