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Is the D-League a Viable Way to Develop Young Players?

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  • Is the D-League a Viable Way to Develop Young Players?

    This has been brought up several times so I figured it could make for a good thread. It's being talked about a little bit in the Bucks/Raptors post game thread.

    I'll start with a question. I remember when we got the D-League team everyone was so excited about it, how we'd be able to use it to develop and coach up our young players, similar to how it's done in the other major sports leagues in North America and around the world (except the NFL). But now that we're actually utilizing the D-League to develop some of the guys that wouldn't have any sort of meaningful role (or use) on the first team, people are up in arms about guys not getting significant minutes with the main roster?

    What was the point of getting our own D-League team if not to use it as a youth squad of sorts? Powell is the one guy that was needed due to a lack of depth on the wings b/c of injuries. He was called up and has done ok, not outstanding, but ok. This is generally how it works in soccer, minor league hockey, minor league baseball, etc.

    Players can still develop and gain valuable experience playing in the D-League, and it can even allow them to work on things they may never get a chance to do in an actual game, especially not for a team that has deep playoff run aspirations. I just don't really get this idea of trying to force a bunch of young guys into the rotation that aren't needed at present or don't have world-beater talent.

    I watch a lot of soccer (probably more than basketball) and that basically never happens. The players still develop just fine... I know it's not the same sport but people need to at least be a bit more open-minded about it and consider that it does in fact WORK in other sports. In the NBA it hasn't really been fully tested yet, Masai is innovating here.

  • #2
    Hasnt houston been doing something similar where they send 2-3 players at a time and rotate them (pre-dwight era). Beverleys doing alright I believe. Theres a few guys out there that started in the nba and moved down to the dleague to become something else, like linsanity and danny green.

    Powells been pretty good in his limited minutes and seems to be able to shoot his 3s. Really it all depends on how hard the players willing to work and how fast that can translate into the nba. D-league cant hurt an nba players game, bar injury, but can definitely let them become comfortable with their playstyle, confident and builds chemistry with our future role players.

    The teams ive seen our rookies pulled from the 905 teams are teams were supposed to beat and possibly blow out. Unfortunately, that rarely ever happens and is a single digit game, so they never get to touch the hardwood.

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    • #3
      Biggest issue I have is that the players in question (Powell, Wright, Bebe) aren't actually playing in the D-League all that much.

      Bebe has played 10 games. Powell 8. Wright 15.

      So in total court time, Powell and Bebe are actually ranked 13th and 14th on the 905s at 317 and 250 minutes. Wright is 7th with 536 minutes.

      With the Raps, Wright has 18 games for 78 mins (bringing his combined season total to 714 mp). Bebe has 152 mins in 22 games (for a combined 402 mp). Powell has 269 in 33 NBA games (for a combined 586).

      That means there are 20 NBA rookies with more NBA minutes than Wright has combined minutes. 25 ahead of Powell and 29 ahead of Bebe (again, comparing to rookies just NBA minutes).

      The D League is great, but when these guys are called up and getting DNP-CDs, it doesn't help as much as it could.
      Heir, Prince of Cambridge

      If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.

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      • #4
        The most important part of a young player's development, after coaching and the will to put in the hard work during practice, is playing time. No player becomes a star by consciously thinking about what he/she is doing on the court. They need to be exposed to game situations enough that they can automatically recognize certain situations/patterns and then automatically respond to them with the correct play. You practice the plays/reactions in practice. You integrate them in game situations.

        D-League, or something similar, is critical for young players. Transcendent talents with tons of physical ability get tons of hours while very young through being selected to rep teams, by becoming starters for their respective age appropriate (or even higher) teams, and by logging heavy minutes for every team they play on. They get special coaching, are asked to participate in tournaments etc. The higher the level of play, the better. Stashing a player on a Euroleague team used to be one way to do it...but sticking them on a D-League team where they learn under your coaches and use your system is bound to let them play on their NBA team more than virtually anything else.

        Seriously, if they are great when they are drafted, they are playing with the big boys right from the start. But if they can't crack the rotation, give them 25-30 minutes a night in the 50 game D-League season. Best Thing Ever.

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        • #5
          JWash wrote: View Post
          Payers can still develop and gain valuable experience playing in the D-League
          Holistically, absolutely 100% agree

          Yet, for the Raptors, I 100% disagree at the moment

          What I have seen of our DL team is players put into positions different to what they would play in the NBA. So for developing NBA talent, it isn't going to work so much.

          This is most likely due to it being the first year of operation, and will take time to develop a better system, but I don't like what I have seen this year

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          • #6
            OldSkoolCool wrote: View Post
            Holistically, absolutely 100% agree

            Yet, for the Raptors, I 100% disagree at the moment

            What I have seen of our DL team is players put into positions different to what they would play in the NBA. So for developing NBA talent, it isn't going to work so much.

            This is most likely due to it being the first year of operation, and will take time to develop a better system, but I don't like what I have seen this year
            I agree to the extent that if they are playing in the D-League out of their natural position, it will be a detriment to them when they come up to the big team, but I think the greater issue is playing time. Learning what to do when you are a weak side defender, or how to deal with a double team etc. are pretty much transferable to any position.

            I agree that if what you are describing is what happens (I haven't seen enough 905 ball to know) then it definitely isn't optimum.

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            • #7
              The value of the D-League depends on what an individual player needs. If the player needs to develop physical skills, the D-League is great for that. On court time, shooting at game pace, etc.

              If you need to develop time in the systems and chemistry with NBA teammates, the D-League isn't sufficient. Ideally, you want a mix. D-League for physical skills, and time with the NBA club for chemistry and systems.
              twitter.com/anthonysmdoyle

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              • #8
                Can't just develop someone exclusively through the D-League. NBA minutes are absolutely necessary.

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                • #9
                  Axel wrote: View Post
                  Biggest issue I have is that the players in question (Powell, Wright, Bebe) aren't actually playing in the D-League all that much.

                  Bebe has played 10 games. Powell 8. Wright 15.

                  So in total court time, Powell and Bebe are actually ranked 13th and 14th on the 905s at 317 and 250 minutes. Wright is 7th with 536 minutes.

                  With the Raps, Wright has 18 games for 78 mins (bringing his combined season total to 714 mp). Bebe has 152 mins in 22 games (for a combined 402 mp). Powell has 269 in 33 NBA games (for a combined 586).

                  That means there are 20 NBA rookies with more NBA minutes than Wright has combined minutes. 25 ahead of Powell and 29 ahead of Bebe (again, comparing to rookies just NBA minutes).

                  The D League is great, but when these guys are called up and getting DNP-CDs, it doesn't help as much as it could.
                  For comparison's sake

                  last year, Kyle Anderson played 1042 DL and 358 NBA minutes. Literally doubling any of our guys in on court time.

                  Now I know that people hate Spurs comps, so how about a random one. Bryce Dejean-Jones of the Pelicans has logged 561 minutes between DL and NBA this year as an undrafted free agent who has missed the last 3 weeks with a broken wrist.

                  D-League can be a great tool but every DNP-CD means that we aren't using it properly.
                  Heir, Prince of Cambridge

                  If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well, strictly from a raptors perspective, it's going to take at least a year or 2 until we see if management and coaching are using the right approach for the youngsters with d league minutes. But for a VERY early report card:
                    -Powell looks to be developing well. VERY nice draft pick, and has played great in the d league which I would venture is helping his newfound nba confidence.
                    -wright sits on the bench a lot but he's learning from 2 great point guards. He's played good in the league but not dominant enough to go omg get this man minutes. Time will tell if 20th overall becomes a solid rotation player, what can ya do
                    -bebe has played d league this year and last and when he's gotten spot duty in the nba, usually looks ready. Decent chance he gets a look as raptors backup center next year so we'll see if it helped
                    -bruno is getting better with each passing month, I fully expect him to be I the d league for a lot of next year too, by then the goal should be dominating a lot of games down there and standing out
                    It's Klaw Season. Time to hunt.

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                    • #11
                      Axel wrote: View Post
                      For comparison's sake

                      last year, Kyle Anderson played 1042 DL and 358 NBA minutes. Literally doubling any of our guys in on court time.

                      Now I know that people hate Spurs comps, so how about a random one. Bryce Dejean-Jones of the Pelicans has logged 561 minutes between DL and NBA this year as an undrafted free agent who has missed the last 3 weeks with a broken wrist.

                      D-League can be a great tool but every DNP-CD means that we aren't using it properly.
                      Especially since our teams are so close.

                      Heard plenty of stories of guys playing DL and NBA in the same day, something I find impossible to see happening with our group

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                      • #12
                        If the question is does the D-league help, then absolutely. Consider that Wright, Powell, Bruno and Bebe would be getting no more minutes than what they get already for the raps without the 905s. I would agree that we could use the 905s better, but it is playing a positive role I would say. As much as anything, it is there so that over the course of the season, Wright and Powell can go and build confidence, so that if they actually play for the Raps, they are ready.

                        Not really related, but if we do end up keeping DD and landing another "star" free agent, like most people hope, these guys could be playing many more minutes next year.

                        I feel like Wright could start for the Knicks, its a shame that he just cant get minutes behind Cojo and Lowry.
                        Last edited by DogeLover1234; Wed Mar 16th, 2016, 08:59 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Yes. To a point. Ultimately, they will reach a plateau where their skills won't be honed much until they go against better competition. But at first? Absolutely. You can even see it with Powell - even with his D-League experience, that first stretch of games as a starter were kind of rough for him. Has grown by leaps and bounds since.
                          twitter.com/dhackett1565

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                          • #14
                            DanH wrote: View Post
                            Yes. To a point. Ultimately, they will reach a plateau where their skills won't be honed much until they go against better competition. But at first? Absolutely. You can even see it with Powell - even with his D-League experience, that first stretch of games as a starter were kind of rough for him. Has grown by leaps and bounds since.
                            I agree. I think a guy like bruno can develop for another year after this. Powell and Wright need end of rotation minutes next year or else dealt somewhwere else, as with most American ncaa draftees, one year tops
                            It's Klaw Season. Time to hunt.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              OldSkoolCool wrote: View Post
                              Holistically, absolutely 100% agree

                              Yet, for the Raptors, I 100% disagree at the moment

                              What I have seen of our DL team is players put into positions different to what they would play in the NBA. So for developing NBA talent, it isn't going to work so much.

                              This is most likely due to it being the first year of operation, and will take time to develop a better system, but I don't like what I have seen this year
                              I'm curious about this too. I haven't followed the Dleague team closely though. But I wonder sometimes if you want to put some of these guys, especially the ones you have under contract, in different situations, putting the ball in their hands more or whatever, just to see what you got and what they may be able to do in those situations.

                              But I like the idea of having a DLeague team. I wish it was more like the NHL though, but it is what it is, and that's a start like you said, even for the league itself as more NBA teams get on board. It really benefits a guy like Bruno, a total project, and who never got a sniff of the NCAA. Powell and Wright and Bebe are certainly more NBA ready right now. But it's hard to find these guys consistent minutes with the Raps, so playing them with the 905 as much as possible seems like a good idea. Unfortunate though, that they haven't played as much with either team, but I can understand them not getting much time with the Raps.

                              But I also really like the way our roster is constructed, having those 4 young guys at the back end of the roster. I figured at the beginning of the season they wouldn't see much of the floor, but it's a smart idea I think to structure that way. You always have assets on value contracts with "potential" to sweeten any deals, plus you got guys on value contracts to fill bench roles in the event you trade rotation players down the line to upgrade the roster. I think this is important for cap management, especially considering that good starting units cost so much. And I'd much rather have rookies and sophomores at the end of the bench then vets.

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