The NBA Development League likes to tout that it’s the fastest way to get to the NBA and, on Thursday night, that motto proved true. The Detroit Pistons decided to make their first first foray into the D-League, according to a source close to the situation, when they decided to call-up Walker Russell from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants …
It’s unknown exactly why the Pistons decided to call up Russell at this juncture since it sounds like Will Bynum will be able to return from his three game absence due to injury this weekend, but he should have a few weeks to prove himself. Russell will be signed to a non-guaranteed deal, meaning he’ll likely have until at least Feb. 10 — the league’s cutoff date to guarantee contracts — to show he belongs in the big show.
Schroeder is the man on all things D-League, so I trust his sources,
but I haven’t seen this reported elsewhere yet (see update below). Russell was with the Pistons in the preseason, but barely played. Schroeder points out that he did, however, show out at the recent D-League Showcase in front of NBA scouts, including a 19-point/19-assist performance in one game.
Russell is very well thought of in the D-League and seems to be deserving of this opportunity, but unless the team is unsure of Will Bynum‘s status or unless they want to get some rest for Rodney Stuckey either re-aggravated his groin injury or needs to rest it, I’m not sure how they’re going to find minutes for another point guard. Another possibility could be a trade (commence getting crazy with ideas in the comments), although that seems unlikely since Stuckey can’t be traded until March 1 and it would be odd for a team to trade for Bynum considering he’s missed games with an injury and hasn’t returned yet. We’ll update if either a confirmation or denial of the report comes out.
UPDATE (that was quick): Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:
#Pistons source confirm they’re calling up Walker D. Russell Jr from Ft Wayne…probably a sign Will Bynum isn’t very healthy