Friday, June 13, 2008

Here's to the D-League!

I don't know about you, but I like the NBA Developmental League. I have long believed that the NBA needed a minor league system to develop talent. It gives the lower draft choices and free agents a place to stay active and get some seasoning and coaching while they wait for their chance to contribute to an NBA team. Aaron Brooks, Carl Landry and Steve Novak all spent time with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers last year before finishing the season as important contributors to the Rockets.

Right now, most of the sixteen D-League teams are affiliated with more than one NBA team. I would like to see the D-League expand so that every NBA team has their own farm system. I think it would be good for the league for several reasons.
1. In addition to the drafted players and free agents mentioned above, there are many young players that are just not college material, but have basketball talent. These players have virtually no chance to make the NBA since the new age limits preclude signing with an NBA team until they've been out of high school for a year. The D-League could not only pay these young players a modest salary, but offer them a venue to get noticed by an NBA team - without the risk of having to play with the bigger faster players of the NBA.
2. Assuming the farm team is located near the NBA affiliate city, it would help expand the fan base both for the home team and for the NBA in general.
3. It would serve as a proving ground not only for potentially good players, but also coaches, referees, administrators and any other positions associated with professional sports.
4. If the parent team could keep the young players under contract while assigning them to the minors, there would be a lot more player development going on. Minor league coaches would be true teachers and far less concerned with baby-sitting massive egos and salaries.

Once upon a time, there was the CBA (Continental Basketball Association). They had a long and storied history, having begun in 1946 as the Eastern Pennsylvania Basketball League. Two years later, they were renamed the Eastern Basketball Association and in 1978 became the CBA. For a couple of decades, the CBA was an unofficial version of what the D-League has become, a place to season young players and a source of replacements for when the first line players of an NBA team went down. In 1999, a grand scheme was concocted by Isaah Thomas and a group of investors to buy all of the CBA teams and run the league as a single corporation. Well, it seems as if the New York Knicks are not the only thing Isaah can screw up. The experiment was a dismal failure and the league declared bankruptcy and ceased operations just two years later. Some of the teams merged with the IBL and purchased the assets of the defunct CBA, including the name and logo. So the CBA again exists with eleven teams, some of them in cities I couldn't even find on a map - and I love geography!

So here's my plan. Let the D-League merge with the CBA to create twenty seven teams. Add three more teams and assign one D-League team to each NBA team. Voila! A true farm system.

I tried calling Commissioner Stern to explain my idea. Seems he wasn't taking calls.

1 comment:

gamer0n1 said...

I agree with you. We need our own minor league. Too bad they're not taking your calls.