With exactly one-third of the 2014-15 NBA D-League season in the books, the Delaware 87ers are 6-10 and feverishly trying to separate themselves from the pack in a bottom-heavy Atlantic Division. This year's version of the Sevens is more talented than last year's edition, but rookie head coach Kevin Young is still trying to sort through his squad to find a consistent set of lineups and rotations that work best.
It doesn't help matters that no one on the roster is taller than 6'9", causing issues on both ends of the floor when it comes to working the glass (42.3 RPG, 14th in the league). Furthermore, the Sevens shoot free throws about as well as their parent club (66.7 percent, last in the D-League), and Delaware simply isn't talented enough offensively to leave points on the table.
The 87ers don't have anyone who presently projects to developing into a rotation player on the next level, but with 10-day season upon us, now is as good a time as any to review the progress of a few standouts:
Ronald Roberts: It should be no surprise that the former St. Joe's forward is the most NBA-ready prospect on the 87ers' roster. Roberts was caught up in a Furkan numbers game with the Sixers earlier in the season, but I'd be shocked if he doesn't get "called up" to the big time at some point over the next couple of months (be it in Philadelphia or elsewhere).
Roberts ranks among the top 10 in the D-League in both rebounding percentage (22.2 percent) and eFG (68.8 percent), and has racked up seven double-doubles in 12 games (11 starts). He still has work to do when it comes to creating opportunities for himself around the basket, but his strength and energy level alone merits a spot on an NBA bench.
D.J. Seeley: The 6'4", 195-pound Seeley is a bit undersized for a shooting guard, but he's shown an impressive ability to fill it up for the Sevens this season. Seeley is fourth in the D-League in three-point percentage (48.5 percent) while averaging 16.8 points, 3.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.
Seeley has been on fire recently, averaging 23.8 PPG over his last six contests. And his high-level marksmanship this season doesn't appear to be an aberration: He shot 41.7 percent from beyond the arc during his senior year at Cal-State Fullerton in 2012-13.
For what it's worth, Seeley is pretty skilled at attacking the basket and drawing contact (3.8 free throw attempts per game), but it's doubtful that the Sixers would consider bringing him in on a 10-day deal. That said, if injuries led to them being extremely shorthanded in the backcourt, it's not entirely out of the question.
Drew Gordon: With Tiny Gallon still recovering from an offseason injury, Gordon is currently serving as the de facto center for the 87ers. Gordon (11.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG) is a solid big, but doesn't really do anything to jump off of the page. His plus-athleticism and willingness to bang has cemented his role as the Sevens' best shot-blocker, but his offense outside of the restricted area is rather limited.
Malcolm Lee: With all due respect to #PointJaKarr and Ryan Arcidiacono, Malcolm Lee is probably the third-best point guard in the greater Philadelphia area.
Ever since our own Jake Pavorsky called him "The Worst Point Guard of All Time", Lee has actually been pretty decent, averaging 15.6 points and 6.4 assists over his past seven outings. Even so, there have been several stretches during games where he's been more concerned about getting his own shot than he should be (especially considering the fact that he shoots 41.1 percent from the field).
Just curious: If Lee is the worst point guard of all time, then what does that make Nolan Smith (Lee's backup)?
(Editor's note: Smith, who has essentially split the point guard duties with Lee this season, has been out of action since December 18 due to injury.)