The best player on the Delaware 87ers doesn't figure to spend much more time in Newark.
With the NBA's annual 10-day contract window opening next week, Sevens' shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick will soon be one of the hottest commodities on the free agent market. Not a bad accomplishment for someone who wasn't even on the 87ers' roster when the team kicked off the 2015-16 season.
After re-joining the Sevens in mid-November, Kilpatrick has quickly staked his claim as one of the most prolific scorers in the D-League. Yesterday, the former Cincinnati star dropped 37 points (thanks to a 12-for-19 shooting performance that saw Kilpatrick knock down 6-for-8 from long range) in a 113-110 overtime victory against the Erie Bayhawks.
In 17 games, Kilpatrick - who is third in the D-League in scoring with 26.3 PPG - has scored 19 points or more 14 times. His most impressive effort this season was a 45-point outburst in a triple-overtime win against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on December 7.
Kilpatrick is far from a one-man band down in Delaware: Fellow shooting guard Jordan McRae has been filling up the stat sheet as well for the 87ers (22.0 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.8 RPG). Defensive lapses and turnovers (4.1 TOs/game) are still an issue for McRae, but the 6-4 guard is a far more well-rounded player than he was during his first stint with the Sevens last season.
Both Kilpatrick (third) and McRae (fifth) rank in the top 5 in the D-League in scoring, and both players have carved out a spot in the most recent edition of the NBA D-League Prospect Watch rankings (third and 15th, respectively).
Thanks to their star guards, the Delaware 87ers as a whole are playing solid basketball this season (10-8, 3rd in the Atlantic Division). The Sevens are fourth in the D-League in scoring with 107.2 PPG and are knocking down 3s at a 36.1 percent clip (fifth in the league).
The 87ers typically roll with three guards on the floor at one time, and the undersized lineups frequently lead to issues on the defensive end. Delaware's Defensive Rating is a gaudy 106.1, and they're allowing opponents to shoot a league-worst 49.1 percent from the floor.