Luke Babbitt scores team-high in D-League debut

Blazers rookie Luke Babbitt was sent to the Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League this morning and scored a team-high 18 points on 6 of 14 shooting in an 83-80 win over Dakota that tonight. Babbitt has played just 30 minutes this season, is averaging 0.8 points and 0.5 rebounds per game, and was placed on the inactive list at the end of November to a clear roster spot for rehabilitated center Joel Przybilla.

Blazers coach Nate McMillan said the issue was brought to his attention a few days ago, and agrees that the court time will benefit the University of Nevada product.

“Once rookies go through the month of November, and are not playing and they’re on the inactive list, you know Luke is working hard every day but a lot of it is individual work, one-on-one work and shooting. But he’s not getting time on the floor,” McMillan said. “And now being on the inactive list, we just felt like he could get some games, and get some time on the floor, which now he needs. ”

Babbitt attended Nevada with fellow Blazers rookie Armon Johnson, and the already close friends have strengthened their bond while grinding in the NBA. So while Johnson is optimistic about Babbitt’s future development, he’s still a little sad about parting with his pal.

“I’m already missing him, man. I missed him when we came in this morning,” Johnson said. “I’m excited for him, and he’s excited for himself and that’s the biggest thing. I think he’ll make a lot of improvement. It’ll be great for him.”

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