From the D-League to dependable

It’s never easy for a player to join a team on a 10-day contract.  There are new plays to learn, teammates to adapt to and a coach you may have never played for before.  Oh, and there’s the pressure of trying to do enough to stick around and earn a second one or, if things go really well, a spot on a team for the rest of the season.  It’s a challenge.

But Garrett Temple has been through this before.  Judging from his play, that was obvious.

Temple was cool and calm as he played all but a few seconds of the fourth quarter for Milwaukee against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night.  It all looked so very simple for him too.  He competed on defense.  When he was open, he shot.  He made two corner threes in the quarter.  When he was covered, he passed it.  He once skipped the ball across the court for a nice assist to a wide open Carlos Delfino. Not exactly rocket science, even if it was a pressure packed situation.

“I don’t wanna not take those shots, I think that hurts the team more,” Temple said after the game.  “I feel comfortable shooting that corner three and I was able to knock a couple down.”

If the pressure of a 10-day contract gets to most players, Temple has certainly gotten past that.

“This is like my fourth or fifth one, the first ones were a little tougher.  You just gotta play your game, don’t worry about 10 days, just worry about being in a basketball game.”

As far as cliches go, “you gotta play your game” is a pretty run of the mill response in the locker rooms of the NBA.  But it does have its applications.  Temple was a very good three-point shooter in the D-League.  Fortunately, he stepped into a Milwaukee situation Wednesday night, where he was able to play a very similar role.  That played no small part in his success.  Were he playing point guard, something he wasn’t doing so much before, perhaps he wouldn’t have been as successful.  Because it’s not like he had practiced that at all.  Right?

“I practiced at the point,” Temple said with a smile of his one practice in Milwaukee.  “So I didn’t have a lot of knowledge at the two spot.  They walked me through it.  Earl (Boykins) and Keyon (Dooling) and the coaching staff put me through it and they put me in simple situations.  So that was easy.”

Coach Scott Skiles was impressed with Temple’s ability to pick things up quickly, but was even more impressed with his confidence.

“He’s one of those kind of, picking up things instantly guys,” Skiles said after the game.  “He’s a confident kid.  When those guys get called up, one of the things they can’t do is be passive.  If somehow you’re going to go down, you gotta go down swinging. Obviously he earned a little more of a look and we’ll see what happens going forward.”

Naturally, Temple is thrilled to be back in the NBA.  But he’s thankful that the D-League is around to have given him this opportunity.

“It’s a grind in the D-League, everybody tries to get to the NBA.  It humbles you and I’m glad I went through it.”

“When you’re a fringe guy, right there.  Eventually, if you know in  your heart that you want to play in the NBA and you keep trying eventually it’s going to work out for you.  Overseas, it’s overseas.  It’s not America.  (In the D-League) The scouts are there looking at you, and, good coaching.  They know what they’re talking about.  You get to practice and play on an NBA court, NBA level, that type of stuff.  It’s good for you.”

After one game, we can say Temple has been good for the Bucks too.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com.  Follow him on Twitter.  Then become a fan on Facebook (in the sidebar).

I watch the Milwaukee Bucks often and write about what I see…

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