The Springfield Armor of the NBA Development League (D-League), the minor league to the NBA, is entering its third year of existence.
The first two years have not been great for the Springfield Armor. The Armor have finished 20-80 over its two-year existence, a D-League worst.
However, on May 1, the New Jersey Nets and the Armor began a hybrid affiliation, which gives the Nets control over the Armor’s basketball operations.
Milton Lee was hired as the General Manager of Minor League Operations, and he hired Bob MacKinnon Jr. as the new head coach.
Lee and MacKinnon were both at Springfield College this weekend for the Armor’s annual open tryouts, which were held in the Field House located inside the Wellness Center.
It is ironic that the rebirth of the Armor begins where basketball all started: at Springfield College.
“It’s pretty cool,” said MacKinnon. “Springfield College is a great facility. It has great academics, the whole bit.”
“Springfield, the Hall of Fame, birthplace of basketball, James Naismith; I mean, come on, [Springfield] should have a good basketball team here,” the first-year head coach said.
MacKinnon, a proven success in the D-League, led the Colorado 14ers (now the Texas Legends) to a D-League title in 2009.
Almost a dozen former Division I players attended the weekend tryout. Out of 45 players in attendance, only a maximum of five can get an invitation to training camp, which begins in the middle of November.
“I thought [the tryouts] went well. I thought it was competitive,” said Lee. “There are a couple of intriguing players.”
MacKinnon was very intense and enthusiastic during the duration of the weekend, pushing players through a series of drills and scrimmages.
“I think there are a lot of pretty exhausted players today,” said Lee.
The players invited to camp will join the returning Armor players and the Armor draftees – the D-League Draft is Nov. 3 – during training camp.
MacKinnon and Lee hope this year, with the resources of the Nets, will see improvement in the team’s success.
“From a basketball standpoint, we’re going to run what [Nets head coach Avery] Johnson wants me to run. He’s proven to be successful,” said MacKinnon. “We’re going to be copycats of the Nets.”
Despite the current NBA lockout, the D-League will continue play, regardless of how long the lockout goes.
Springfield plays all of its home games at the MassMutual Center in downtown.
The Armor season begins Nov. 25 at home against the Maine Red Claws.
Terrence Payne may be reached at email@example.com