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Really, How Good is the Level of Play in the D-League?

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Really, How Good is the Level of Play in the D-League?

10 - Best league outside of the NBA
3
8%
9
0
No votes
8
6
15%
7
6
15%
6
5
13%
5 - Average
8
20%
4
5
13%
3
4
10%
2
0
No votes
1 - Terrible
3
8%
 
Total votes : 40

Post#1 Really, How Good is the Level of Play in the
Wed Dec 5, 2012 8:26 am by Damon_3388

"Really, How Good is the Level of Play in the D-League?"

The D-League touts itself on its website as "The Home of NBA Prospects", and indeed it has produced a number of serviceable NBA players, as well as currently housing a number of current and former NBA prospects.

However, there's has been and continues to be plenty of players who dominate at D-League level, who simply can't cut it once they reach the NBA. Some guys coming straight out of college put up numbers in the D-League that they never went close to at NCAA level, yet still struggle once they get called up from the developmental system. This prompts a number of questions:

- Is the gulf between the NBA and the D-League larger than we think?
- Is college basketball actually a higher level of competition than the D-League?
- Is it simply a style of play/opportunity thing, in terms of guys putting up ridiculous numbers in the D-League?
- Where would you rank the D-League in comparison to other leagues outside of the NBA?
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Post#2 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:16 am by UtahJazzFan88

A 6 or a 7, the D-League has been getting a lot more NBA names this season. A lot more rookies and young guys are getting called down to play.
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Post#3 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:57 pm by jman3134

I've heard many sources say that this is the best that the D League has ever been. While I am not sure about that, I do think that the D League has a lot of untapped talent.

It's very difficult to compare the D League to a team overseas because of the level of coaching, continuity of offense, and age differences for the most part. Generally, the D League tends to attract top talent, which either makes the NBA or migrates to Europe after they improve their games. As a result, the European players already have top non-NBA talent from the US as a part of their rosters. So, I would not say that it is a comparable situation to compare to Euroleague or something like that. I think that they would defeat most teams in the CBA (Chinese Basketball League) if that is any indicator of their ranking.

A lot of times players make significant improvements after college, where they are not confined to a particular offensive system. A lot of players have had the talent to play in the league, but did not fare very well in college- see someone like DeAndre Jordan etc. It's all about your use in college- whether or not you are playing in the right offensive system and playing your natural position. And, a lot of times, players improve significantly like Donald Sloan, Will Bynum, etc.

The gulf between the NBA and D League teams is large. This is because there is generally limited continuity, and players often move overseas or in and out of the NBA during the season. Plus, it is a showcase league, so there can be selfish play at times by players who are looking to impress scouts. This has been limited in recent years, but it still exists in some form. A lot of players in the D League could play on an NBA roster though. But, the level of play from a league standpoint is not comparable to the NBA.
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Post#4 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:29 am by UtahJazzFan88

jman3134 wrote:I've heard many sources say that this is the best that the D League has ever been. While I am not sure about that, I do think that the D League has a lot of untapped talent.

It's very difficult to compare the D League to a team overseas because of the level of coaching, continuity of offense, and age differences for the most part. Generally, the D League tends to attract top talent, which either makes the NBA or migrates to Europe after they improve their games. As a result, the European players already have top non-NBA talent from the US as a part of their rosters. So, I would not say that it is a comparable situation to compare to Euroleague or something like that. I think that they would defeat most teams in the CBA (Chinese Basketball League) if that is any indicator of their ranking.

A lot of times players make significant improvements after college, where they are not confined to a particular offensive system. A lot of players have had the talent to play in the league, but did not fare very well in college- see someone like DeAndre Jordan etc. It's all about your use in college- whether or not you are playing in the right offensive system and playing your natural position. And, a lot of times, players improve significantly like Donald Sloan, Will Bynum, etc.

The gulf between the NBA and D League teams is large. This is because there is generally limited continuity, and players often move overseas or in and out of the NBA during the season. Plus, it is a showcase league, so there can be selfish play at times by players who are looking to impress scouts. This has been limited in recent years, but it still exists in some form. A lot of players in the D League could play on an NBA roster though. But, the level of play from a league standpoint is not comparable to the NBA.


Having watched a few games, I think the D-League has been the most loaded in talent as it's even been, and I think the new CBA has to do with that. Now teams can send down players up to 3 years of experience as many times as they want (it used to be 2 years experience and NBA teams could only send them up/down 3 times). Now a guy like Perry Jones can play a couple D-League games in Tulsa on Friday & be called up on Saturday to play with the Thunder if needed.

I just think my gripe about the D-League is that arenas are still way too empty & a couple teams play at practice facilities with no fans in attendance. I think they need to work on getting more fans interested. It's not like you need huge brand names because minor league hockey teams & minor league baseball are able to attract a decent amount of people usually.
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Post#5 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:38 pm by atb1983

now we can watch all the matches on youtube , i think it could be a boot up for the D-League
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Post#6 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:19 pm by jman3134

^ Where did you see that? Link? I know that you can watch live from the D League website.
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Post#7 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Thu Jan 3, 2013 4:52 pm by Devin 1L

jman3134 wrote:^ Where did you see that? Link? I know that you can watch live from the D League website.


The ones on the D-League website are hosted via YouTube, rather than the old Futurecast model.

http://www.youtube.com/user/nbadleague
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Post#8 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Thu Jan 3, 2013 9:37 pm by jman3134

That's awesome news. Now, I can catch games I missed.

Any early thoughts on the D League so far this year? Who has stood out to you Devin?
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Post#9 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Thu Jan 3, 2013 11:02 pm by Devin 1L

jman3134 wrote:That's awesome news. Now, I can catch games I missed.

Any early thoughts on the D League so far this year? Who has stood out to you Devin?


Yeah, it's pretty sweet. I'm glad to see the D-League partnering with such a big media outlet. Some games are about to start popping up on CBS Sports Network, so that's pretty sweet, too.

Aside from those already called up and those on assignment, a couple guys that I like are DJ Kennedy and Micah Downs.

I think Kennedy has a role as a play making two guard. He's a bit of a do-it-all, which I don't think is necessarily what NBA teams look for when looking at D-League players, but I think he could do well in the NBA. I think he could be plugged into lineups that lack a true point guard, and sort of have him running the offense, but probably guarding a two guard on defense. As I noted, I think he has a good all around game. The last bit that sticks out is that I think he has a bit of a big league swagger to him. He seems confident and poised -- doesn't really seem to get rattled.

As for Downs, I think he has a role on the other end of the spectrum from DJ, in that I think he has a very narrowly defined role in the NBA. He might be able to do more at the D-League level, but I think he could play at the NBA level in the "lanky high-energy defensive stopper who only scores on corner threes and strong cuts to the hoop," where I might add that he's an awesome finisher. Dude is really athletic. You only have so many opportunities in a game for players to flash their athleticism, but watching this guy in warmups -- he can get up.
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Post#10 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Sun Jan 6, 2013 11:53 am by pickIBL

The D-League is nothing like some of the top leagues overseas because the investment by the NBA and others is not there yet. You have to pick the right communities which is being done to a certain degree. After that you have to stop being so friendly to college basketball. That means opening the draft to 3 or 4 rounds and giving out smaller guaranteed deals to 2nd round picks. It also means expanding the current NBA roster to the following

12 NBA Active
4 Inactive (D-League, Injured Reserve, etc)
2 23 & Under (D-League or can be moved to inactive)
For Teams Under .500 after the all star break you can expand the active roster to 13 to allow for a younger prospect to get on the roster.

Also change the rules to allow HSers back in the draft.
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Post#11 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Sun Jan 6, 2013 10:14 pm by jman3134

My biggest issue is how do you compete with European squads where players sign long term contracts and are constantly playing together? In the D League, players are called up and back down on a whim. You can't develop that much team chemistry in such a setting comparatively. So even if you do have very talented players (which the D League does), I see this as a major issue. And I don't anticipate that it will change in this respect anytime soon.
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Post#12 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Sun Jan 6, 2013 11:59 pm by Devin 1L

pickIBL wrote:The D-League is nothing like some of the top leagues overseas because the investment by the NBA and others is not there yet. You have to pick the right communities which is being done to a certain degree. After that you have to stop being so friendly to college basketball. That means opening the draft to 3 or 4 rounds and giving out smaller guaranteed deals to 2nd round picks. It also means expanding the current NBA roster to the following

12 NBA Active
4 Inactive (D-League, Injured Reserve, etc)
2 23 & Under (D-League or can be moved to inactive)
For Teams Under .500 after the all star break you can expand the active roster to 13 to allow for a younger prospect to get on the roster.

Also change the rules to allow HSers back in the draft.


You actually can go straight from HS to the D-League, but most would rather be a college star for a year than to bus around in the D-League.

I think the biggest issue, and one that would directly affect the above, is the pay. I bet if you polled RealGM to guess D-League pay, 95% of people would guess higher than they actually get. It's surprisingly low.

If the D-League pay scale was higher, I think you'd have more of those guys who go to Europe/Asia to make 3x as much. Further, I think that you'd be more apt to woo one of these star HS guys to bypass a one-and-done college career for a decent living playing one year of D-League ball. Once the salaries come up, I think you'll see somewhat of a domino effect.

By the way, there are a few inevitable big leaps that will eventually happen for the D-League which I cannot wait to see happen. First, a big name pro coming down for a rehab (may even happen this year.) Secondly, a big name HS guy going straight to the D-League as a very hyped #1 overall pick.
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Post#13 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Tue Jan 8, 2013 12:34 am by vege

Devin 1L wrote:I think Kennedy has a role as a play making two guard. He's a bit of a do-it-all, which I don't think is necessarily what NBA teams look for when looking at D-League players, but I think he could do well in the NBA. I think he could be plugged into lineups that lack a true point guard, and sort of have him running the offense, but probably guarding a two guard on defense. As I noted, I think he has a good all around game. The last bit that sticks out is that I think he has a bit of a big league swagger to him. He seems confident and poised -- doesn't really seem to get rattled.


How would you compare him to Kyle Singler and Kim English Devin 1L. Detroit has absolutely no SG in their roster and Knight is a tragedy running the team, for your description, Kennedy could fit like a glove in that team, Is Singler much better/more talented than him?
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Post#14 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Tue Jan 8, 2013 1:41 am by Devin 1L

vege wrote:
Devin 1L wrote:I think Kennedy has a role as a play making two guard. He's a bit of a do-it-all, which I don't think is necessarily what NBA teams look for when looking at D-League players, but I think he could do well in the NBA. I think he could be plugged into lineups that lack a true point guard, and sort of have him running the offense, but probably guarding a two guard on defense. As I noted, I think he has a good all around game. The last bit that sticks out is that I think he has a bit of a big league swagger to him. He seems confident and poised -- doesn't really seem to get rattled.


How would you compare him to Kyle Singler and Kim English Devin 1L. Detroit has absolutely no SG in their roster and Knight is a tragedy running the team, for your description, Kennedy could fit like a glove in that team, Is Singler much better/more talented than him?


Unfortunately, I haven't watched enough of them this year to have an informed opinion to your question.
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Post#15 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Tue Jan 8, 2013 4:06 am by UtahJazzFan88

Devin 1L wrote:
pickIBL wrote:The D-League is nothing like some of the top leagues overseas because the investment by the NBA and others is not there yet. You have to pick the right communities which is being done to a certain degree. After that you have to stop being so friendly to college basketball. That means opening the draft to 3 or 4 rounds and giving out smaller guaranteed deals to 2nd round picks. It also means expanding the current NBA roster to the following

12 NBA Active
4 Inactive (D-League, Injured Reserve, etc)
2 23 & Under (D-League or can be moved to inactive)
For Teams Under .500 after the all star break you can expand the active roster to 13 to allow for a younger prospect to get on the roster.

Also change the rules to allow HSers back in the draft.


You actually can go straight from HS to the D-League, but most would rather be a college star for a year than to bus around in the D-League.

I think the biggest issue, and one that would directly affect the above, is the pay. I bet if you polled RealGM to guess D-League pay, 95% of people would guess higher than they actually get. It's surprisingly low.

If the D-League pay scale was higher, I think you'd have more of those guys who go to Europe/Asia to make 3x as much. Further, I think that you'd be more apt to woo one of these star HS guys to bypass a one-and-done college career for a decent living playing one year of D-League ball. Once the salaries come up, I think you'll see somewhat of a domino effect.

By the way, there are a few inevitable big leaps that will eventually happen for the D-League which I cannot wait to see happen. First, a big name pro coming down for a rehab (may even happen this year.) Secondly, a big name HS guy going straight to the D-League as a very hyped #1 overall pick.


Yup, the pay scale for the D-League is absolutely terrible. I think that's the one thing that needs to be fixed in the league. Right now the pay is $12,000 to $24,000 a year with a $30 per diem a day + free housing, etc. Which is a fine average life, but if they want more talent & guys to go to the D-League instead of Europe, they need to triple the contracts to a reasonable range to $35,000 up to $100,000. Really, the only reason a lot of these guys are in the D-League instead of Europe is the chance to play in the NBA.

It's great to see live D-League action on CBS Sports Network though. League is improving a lot in the past few years.
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Post#16 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Tue Jan 8, 2013 7:40 pm by SantaMenon

The D-League is just a baby in the context of the leagues around the world. The improvements this year compared to past years are clear to see. Youtube games are helping the coverage and exposure of the D-League vastly and teams utilizing the D-League more, like Warriors, OKC, Boston, Spurs, Houston are helping this out more.

I think we will see more nba teams seek their own D League affiliate and a few expansion teams soon. The reason there is such a drop off to the D League when compared to the NBA is because the NBA weren't using it properly. Once more teams follow suit and utilise the D-League in the same way as the aforementioned teams, we will see the level of play blossom and the D-League become much more pivotal in overall NBA franchise futures.
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Post#17 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Tue Jan 8, 2013 11:01 pm by Devin 1L

SantaMenon wrote:The D-League is just a baby in the context of the leagues around the world.


Agreed.

And one thing that I love that I keep hearing from Dan Reed over and over and over is "sustainable growth." They're doing it right. As cool as it would be to have a 1-to-1 relationship with every team this time next year, it won't like that. I hope they keep adding here and there -- doing their research on the markets, improving the D-League making it more attractive to big league clubs -- slowly and sustainably.

The improvements this year compared to past years are clear to see. Youtube games are helping the coverage and exposure of the D-League vastly and teams utilizing the D-League more, like Warriors, OKC, Boston, Spurs, Houston are helping this out more.

I think we will see more nba teams seek their own D League affiliate and a few expansion teams soon. The reason there is such a drop off to the D League when compared to the NBA is because the NBA weren't using it properly. Once more teams follow suit and utilise the D-League in the same way as the aforementioned teams, we will see the level of play blossom and the D-League become much more pivotal in overall NBA franchise futures.


Agreed again. If I'm an NBA team who is truly interested in winning (not just interested in saying that I own a team or being as cheap as I can to make money,) but truly interested in winning, then I would be ashamed if I didn't have at least a hybrid affiliation with a D-League team.

One of the most shocking to me -- the Heat. You've got a superstar core and a contender for years to come just on them alone, but all you really need to do is consistently put system/role players around those big names who fit. What better way than to either outright own a D-League team nearby or have a hybrid affiliation. Pick up players you like, and have them run exactly what you want them to run so that if/when needed, they're there and they're ready. Relative to the massive amounts you're paying out at the NBA level, the costs at the development level are miniscule, and regardless of how good you are, there are still needs (hence the Heat and recent D-Leaguer Varnado.)
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Post#18 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:23 pm by chrbal

as more and more franchises get their own affiliate, the level of play will continue to grow. Obviously it will never be perfect.
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Post#19 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:08 am by RollingWave

it's probably better than most people realize in terms of play quality.

most of the average / filler type guys were really really good players in division 1 NCAA, the type who's not athletic / dominant enough to warrant a draft but could certainly stand toe to toe with many of those that were drafted while they were in college.

The difference between marginal NBA player and above average D-league player can be extremely limited at times really. watching those games, most of the better starters on a D-League team could easily be the 10-12 man on a bench on most teams. the reason that they're not is that NBA teams will either go with proven players or guys with (theoretically) higher upsides. while the D-league vets are neither.

One could simply use this example , Danny Green and Jeremy Lin, the two players who's probably the most recent major success story of guys floating on the fringes of the NBA, played a lot in the D-League, then people realize that they completely missed the boat with them and they're actually good players. If you look at what they did in the D-league versus what they did in the NBA, the difference is not entirely clear, Green especially was basically a mirror image. while Lin's play in the NBA so far has seen some pretty dramatic ups and downs that it's hard to get a very clear view , but if you look at his D-league number, they were good, but not really dominant, which seem to be a reasonable estimation of the better end of what Jeremy Lin is probably in the NBA assuming he stabilize a bit going forward.

Another interesting litmus test going forward in the next couple year is Glen Rice Jr. the 2nd rounder spend what was suppose to be his senior year in the D-league due to some ugly off court issues that got him kicked off the team, and he looked like a MUCH better prospect on the Vipers than at Georgia Tech, and he was pretty close to being dominant in the D-League, will this translate? if he translate on the similar level of Lin / Green it means he should be a pretty clear starter provided that he can defend a little and maybe a borderline star, will he be that? we'll se
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Post#20 Re: Really, How Good is the Level of Play in
Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:57 pm by Damon_3388

Just thought I'd bump this thread after the dominance of Pierre Jackson. He was a good college player, but nothing like what he's shown in the D-League. He scored 58 in a game a couple of weeks ago (D-League record), and has had six other 40 point games this season. Had an 18 assist game just prior to the 58 point outburst, so he's showing all sides of being a point guard. Averaging 29.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 6.2 apg and 1.9 spg. Stands just 5'9" 1/2 without shoes, has a 5'10" wingspan, weighs 176lbs, but has a massive 42" 1/2 inch vertical leap. He's already feeling like he's gone as far as he can go in that setting, and is looking for opportunities overseas now, mainly due to money rather than playing time.
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