The NBA Development League's promotional packages typically center around players like Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar and others that already had the backing of an NBA contract when they made their brief stints in the D-League, but it should really focus on players like Chuck Hayes.
Hayes, who's first professional basketball team was the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, picked up the first triple-double of his NBA career Wednesday night for the Houston Rockets after originally going undrafted in the 2005 NBA Draft after four seasons at the University of Kentucky.
With the Thunderbirds, Hayes averaged 10.8 points and 11.4 rebounds in 15 games -- 13 starts -- before being called up to the Rockets where he's been ever since.
I'll be the first to tell you that 15 games in the D-League probably didn't help Hayes develop that many NBA skills, but it almost certainly helped to make the 6-foot-6 power forward want to fight harder for every rebound and loose ball while making sure every minute of NBA playing time counts so that he doesn't have to worry about trying to get called up ever again.
That tenacity hadn't really paid off for him however, at least in statistical terms, until last night when he scored 13 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, dished 11 assists and grabbed two steals for good measure.
Best of all, the crowd showed its appreciation:
Not bad for a former D-Leaguer, eh?