"The Hitman" is lightin' it up.
D.J. Kennedy has asserted himself as one of the top-tier players in the NBA's Development League with the New York Knicks affiliated team, the Erie Bayhawks.
In 21 games, all starts, Kennedy is averaging 18.3 points (ranking 5th in the D-League) along with 8.4 rebounds (11th) and 5.2 assists (9th) per game.
Kennedy currently ranks as the third-best player in the D-League and he is first in combined points/rebounds/assists average at 31.9.
He has a +21.6 efficiency rating which ranks him first for players who have played 20 or more games. The "do-it-all" D.J. has continued to play the style of basketball that St. John's fans came to know well during his four years with the Red Storm.
From asserting himself on the offensive end, to crashing the boards for rebounds and finding his teammates with accurate passes, Kennedy has shown promise in two years in the D-League.
His numbers are up from his first season where he averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
In the last month of the 2011-12 NBA season, Kennedy signed a 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He made two appearances before the season ended, including a 12-point, 6-rebound, and 3-assist performance in his first career NBA game.
Kennedy headed back to Erie, where he played before joining the Cavaliers. He has helped them to a 12-9 record, good for third place in the East Division, just 2.5 games back of the Maine Red Claws.
When he tore his ACL in the Big East Tournament two years ago, his basketball future was left uncertain. There were many mock drafts that had Kennedy being an early to mid-second round pick, but the injury left him undrafted teams and Kennedy was left with only one way back to the show - the D-League.
Kennedy has had some standout games this season worth noting:
- December 7, 2012 - 28 points, 8 rebounds
- December 21, 2012 - 29 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds
- January 12, 2013 - 17 points, 14 rebounds
- January 20, 2013 - 15 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists
Kennedy's continued excellence in the D-League could earn him another chance for a spot on another NBA roster as the season progresses.
Last year, the then-New Jersey Nets brought up Gerald Green from the D-League in the latter part of the season. His solid play with the Nets earned him a 3 year contract with the Indiana Pacers.
Kennedy was always a hard-worker at St. John's, and his diligence could ultimately get him back to the NBA. The Rumble will keep tabs on D.J.'s performance and whereabouts throughout the season and beyond.