Yesterday, in my ongoing examination of what the D-League landscape might look like this season, I went through and found out where some of the top players from the D-League last season that played in the Summer Leagues will be this season.
Upon finding out that the majority of those players - many of whom were at the top of their position in the D-League last season - won't be playing in the D-League next season, I decided to look at last season's rosters to see just how many returning players actually made an impact with their team.
By my count, there were 63 players that were counted as "returning players" heading into training camp last season. Of those 63 players, I decided that 43 of them played a significant role on their team. However, only six of those players - Dwayne Jones, Oliver Lafayette, Chris Hunter, Anthony Tolliver, Earl Barron and Greg Stiemsma - were deemed good enough to be called up by an NBA team in a year where a record 27 players received a promotion to the NBA.
What does this all mean? I'm still working to find this out, I guess, but as of now it seems that maybe I shouldn't have been as worried about the talent in the D-League this season as I originally was. While returning players are important in playing their roles and keeping the D-League games as aesthetically pleasing as they can be, it doesn't seem that they represent the upper echelon.
I've listed all of last season's returning players after the jump, just in case anyone was interested.
Last season's returning players:
Austin - Carldell Johnson, Dwayne Jones (2/2)
Bakersfield - Terrance Gamble (0/1)
Idaho - Lanny Smith, Mildon Ambres, Jeff Graves, Roberto Bergersen (2/4)
Springfield - Kentrell Gransberry, Marcus Taylor (1/2)
Tulsa - Steven Hill, Moses Ehambe, Yemi Ogunoye, Keith Clark (2/4)