Tip: 6:00 p.m. CST, Bob Carpenter Sports Convocation Center
Record: 6-21, last in East Division
Off. efficiency: 96.9 points per 100 possessions, 17th*
Def. efficiency: 108.6, 15th
Net rating: -11.7, 17th
Pace: 104.7 possessions per game, 4th
Effective FG pct: 49.6, 12th
Turnover pct: 20.6, 16th
Off. rebound pct: 26.4, 13th
FTA rate: .335, 8th
Opp. effective FG pct: 52.8, 15th
Opp. turnover pct: 16.8, 11th
Def. rebound rate 71.6, 8th
Opp. FTA rate: .339, 13th
Points: Kendall Marshall, 19.4**
Rebounds: Tiny Gallon, 9.5
Assists: Marshall, 9.6
Blocks: Kyrylo Fesenko, 1.6
Steals: Marshall, 1.9
The Delaware 87ers opened the season with a 3-14 record. Digging deeper, they were just as bad as advertized, if not worse — their point differential was last in the D-League and they struggled to do simple basketball tasks, like putting the ball in the basket and staying in front of the other team on defense. They are 3-7 in their last 10 games — improvement! — and their defense has quietly crept up into the top half of the league in this span. Their offense still lags behind, and this will continue to be a problem, considering Kendall Marshall was called up to the Los Angeles Lakers.
But, on that note, they did defeat these Austin Toros yesterday. Delaware raced out to a 87-62 lead after the third quarter, before completely falling off a cliff. They scored just 11 points in the final frame, but the Toros already had dug themselves an insurmountable hole.
Where they excel
Delaware struggled to protect the rim and, for the most part, they still do. But they’ve made noticeable gains in the past 10 games. They aren’t an elite defensive unit yet, quite far from it, but they’ve allowed the second fewest points in the paint (per 100 possessions) in this span. This is a good start for a defense habitually beaten from the perimeter and everywhere in between.
Where they struggle
Delaware averages 104.7 possessions per game, the fourth-most possessions in the D-League, which would be fine if it worked for them. The 87ers’ pace jumps to 105.4 in losses and drops to 101.6 in wins — an alarming trend suggesting the 87ers optimal pace isn’t anywhere near their current pace. Less possessions gives them a better opportunity to win, because it eliminates the opposition’s opportunities to leverage their (undeniable) talent advantage. Less means more. Because, otherwise, everything Delaware struggles at — just about everything — is exacerbated on a larger scale.
Player to watch
Tiny Gallon. Mostly for the irony — he’s a 6-foot-9 forward — but he’s also a good basketball player. He leads the team in rebounds, and he’s a strong finisher at the rim (76.8 percent). His mid-range game is limited, though.
Delaware 87ers forward Tiny Gallon continues to impress as he has 28 points and 6 boards on 11-13 shooting.
— Ridiculous Upside (@RidicUpside) January 26, 2014
For more on Gallon and D-League game odds, including the Toros and 87ers game, visit William Hill Line Betting.
Stats: NBA D-League/Stats
*There are only 17 teams in the D-League.
** Marshall is currently with the Los Angeles Lakers.