[I didn't write this, it was emailed to me. However, I don't disagree with it and thought it was worth publishing, so here you go. I did add my own thoughts when necessary. -- Scott]
There's a bad connotation to the D-League. Anybody that's heard of the D-League (and doesn't lie) is going to tell you this. Just mentioning D-League to people that haven't heard of it, it's going to come off as fourth rate. It's the official minor league of the NBA. The only one. Every in-season NBA signing has been from the D-League or a free agent the past fiveish seasons. But, it doesn't seem like people know this. It doesn't seem like anyone is trying to fix this, either.
That's where I come in (and you as well, fan's de basquetbol). The D-League can be fixed in one easy step!
How many dollars did the D-League make from incessantly promoting Sun Yue, the 49 players it had in this years playoffs, and anything else that had "NBA" attached to it? I don't suspect much, and if it did, Bakersfield apparently didn't see any of it.
Get this - The people going to the D-League website, they're familiar with basketball. They know about the NBA. The NBA will be alright without this hype. When I go to NBA.com, though, I don't see anything about the D-League. I see Chris Webber's 5 Fave Knicks, I can look at the Dallas Mavericks going fishing, I can even watch Charles Barkley lose a push-up challenge. I can't see anything about the D-League. NBA fans aren't nearly as familiar with the D-League as they should be, and this is why.
Go grassroots. Use Twitter, facebook, myspace (do people still do this?) and even your site to get people excited. Not about the NBA. Aaron Brooks and Jordan Farmar combined for five games in the D-League, while on assignment, yet they garner two of the five spots on your website and the majority of your Twitter and Facebook 'messages' (Brandon Bass is a third, who played one career D-League game). Is the D-League that terrible that the only players they can market are players that have played seven games combined? People don't go to D-League.com for NBA news.
Why not highlight the recent tryout that so many D-Leaguer's attended? The Pacers D-League tryouts? Bakersfield Coach Scott Roth training Hasheem Thabeet? The multiple coaching positions open right now? Talk about the hybrid affiliation. MARKET THE D-LEAGUE.
Why not have an editorial column about how Jeremy Tyler could join the D-League? Wouldn't that possibly gain some interest in the D-League? Isn't that more interesting than a photo gallery of former D-Leaguer's in the NBA? Nobody even knows that this is a possibility if they wouldn't read RidiculousUpside, among other places that covered it after Jon L.It's disappointing, as a fan of the league, to see Bakersfield fail, to know Colorado is on the verge of folding, to know Albuquerque laid their entire staff off for the summer (and beyond?)
If the league did a bit better in promoting that this could really take off. Have the NBA invest a bit more, as I'm sure not one of the 30 NBA teams is losing money. Unfortunately, I'm guessing at a minimum 10 of the 16 D-League teams are losing money and all 16 have.
If the goal is to make this an actual development league, why not have the NBA invest some money into, well, developing it? If you're serious about making the D-League a true development league, market it as such. Not as a place where Jordan Farmar played three games three years ago.