Even with five new expansion teams, the 2016-17 NBA D-League season won’t be lacking talent by any means. With 104 players returning to the Development League, fans across the country will be seeing plenty of familiar faces as the year gets underway.
The Santa Cruz Warriors and Austin Spurs have the fewest returning players on their roster with both teams bringing back just two former players. One of those faces returning to the Cedar Park Center can technically be classified as an NBA veteran.
Our friends over at D-League Digest picked their top players returning to the Development League, and at the top of the list is no other than Austin Spurs forward Jarell Eddie.
If you’re unfamiliar with Eddie, the 25-year-old played four years at Virginia Tech and was a three year starter for the Hokies. As a senior, Eddie averaged 13.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 33 minutes per game.
After going undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, Eddie would join the Washington Wizards for the 2014 NBA Summer League, before being picked up and released by both the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics. Eddie would then transition to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants as an affiliate player for the Hawks, before getting his rights traded to the Austin Spurs for Myck Kabongo and a second-round draft pick.
Once Eddie joined the silver and black, his play would flourish under Austin Spurs Head Coach Ken McDonald. He averaged 12.9 points and 3.4 rebounds for the Spurs, while shooting 44 percent from the field and 45 percent on 3-pointers. Eddie would put his shooting prowess on display during All-Star Weekend, winning the 3-point Shooting Contest and eventually getting called up by the Atlanta Hawks on a 10-day contract.
Though Eddie never appeared in a single game for the Hawks, he would get another shot at the NBA the following season. He played for the Indiana Pacers and the San Antonio Spurs during the 2015 NBA Summer League season, before starting the season with the Austin Spurs. He appeared in 11 games for Austin, averaging 14.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists while shooting a blistering 53 percent on field goals and three pointers.
His 11 games in the D-League would be enough to earn another call up, this time joining the Washington Wizards. Eddie appeared on a limited basis for the Wizards, playing in 26 games while averaging 2.4 points. His best performance would come against the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 26 as he finished with 12 points, four rebounds and one assist in 12 minutes.
Though the excitement of Eddie joining a loaded Austin Spurs roster is warranted, there’s a solid chance that if he gets off to the same hot start as last season, his next stint in the NBA could be more permanent. He doesn’t create his own shot well and lacks the ability as a playmaker with his passing, but Eddie is your prototypical “3-and-D” player that could positively impact an NBA roster off the bench.
You can catch Jarell Eddie and the rest of the Austin Spurs kickoff their season this Sunday, November 13th. Tipoff is at 3 p.m. CST against the Oklahoma City Blue from the Cedar Park Center.