And does anyone care about the NBA D-League? I for one do, fella. Without it, there is no hope for any NBA affiliated professional basketball this season, the way the contentious NBA labor negotiations are going. So what is the average fan supposed to do? How are we supposed to satisfy our NBA basketball cravings in the coming months? Get to know the NBA D-League; it’s all we’ve got.
While the D-League funnels players to the NBA at certain points, they are not intrinsically affiliated. Meaning, that the NBA strike has no effect on the D-League’s operations- the league will go on as normal. The talent level may be down compared to last season with so much migration to overseas basketball leagues but it’s at least something. With the start of the season a little over a month away (11-25), what do you need to know if you choose to care, even slightly?
Getting To Know The D-League
The D-League has been around since 2001 and originally consisted of eight teams. Since then it’s expanded to a total of 16. In 2006 four teams from the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) merged into and joined the D-League.
Paul I’m An Old-Schooler- How Is It Different From The CBA?
It isn’t that different. The CBA was the “official minor league of the NBA” until 2001. The only reason it stopped being the NBA’s true minor league, is because of then-CBA owner Isaiah Thomas’ decision to not sell the league to the NBA (a story we will get into tomorrow). Because Thomas wouldn’t sell, the NBA ultimately decided to develop the D-League on its own, independent of the CBA, which ultimately killed it, though it took several years for it to die off.
The main similarity is specific D-League teams relationships with “Parent” NBA franchises and the “10 Day Contract”, which is a 10 day call up to the NBA.
Why Should I Even Care About The D-League?
Because friend, at the end of the 2010-11 season, 23% of NBA players had spent time in the D-League. It’s a legit league and over time, the league has contributed a lot of talent to the NBA. Interestingly, 12 former D-League players have won NBA titles.
Who Is The Best Team? Who Are The Studs?
The best team is the reigning champion Iowa Energy led by Curtis Stinson who is the reigning league MVP. Bakersfield’s Trey Johnson is the leading scorer over the last three years, including last season’s league leading 25.0 ppg. Jeff Adrien led the league in rebounds with 11.4 rpg. Curtis Stinson led the league in assists with 9.8 ppg.
In short, thankfully, the NBA lockout doesn’t really affect the NBA D-League season, other than D-League players will not be called up to the NBA if there is no season.
But, does it even matter, dear reader?? If there is no NBA season, which seems to be an increasing possibility with each day, will you watch the D-League in the absence of an NBA regular season??