Erie BayHawks forward Tasmin Mitchell buys it, but his teammate, Blake Ahearn, doesn’t know what to make of how the Reno Bighorns chose them as their first-round opponent in the D-League playoffs.
The D-League has the top three seeds pick their playoff opponnent. After top-seeded Iowa chose seventh-seeded Utah, Reno had the second pick.
The Bighorns chose Erie, a fifth-seed, but head coach Eric Musselman said the team had their player personnel assistant, Sammy Gelfand, pick a team out of a hat. He picked between Erie, Bakersfield and Texas.
“He’s our money-ball guy,” said Musselman, whose Bighorns are 1-0 against Erie this season, winning 100-89 in Reno on March 16.
Musselman said the team struggled to pick a team because Reno respects all the teams, but to go with drawing a name out of hat seems odd.
Mitchell buys it.
“You have no choice but to give us respect,” he said. “Our record shows for itself. Our record and how many games we put together. Yeah. I buy it. I buy it all the way.”
Ahearn isn’t so sure.
“I guess we got to take his word for it,” he said. “I can’t imagine if a head coach doesn’t feel comfortable with a team, he’s not going to chose us. I don’t think you can leave it up to picking out of a hat or a coin flip. I just find that very hard to believe, but do we take it personally and this and that? It’s gonna happen. Three teams have to pick somebody and the other two get paired up. It is what it is, but all that stuff goes out the window. It comes down to players making plays in the game. That’s what it will be.”