Tony Wroten was selected by the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday to spend time with their D-League affiliate the Reno Bighorns. Wroten, the 25th overall selection in the 2012 NBA draft, joins some impressive company who were once chosen by their NBA team to spend time in the D-League ranks as a member of their affiliate team.
Miles Plumlee has already been assigned and recalled this season and was chosen a pick later in last year's first round after Wroten. Plumlee enjoyed success during his brief stint with Fort Wayne and was ultimately recalled back to Indiana. Along with Wroten, Fab Melo and Kendall Marshall, all four could join a group of NBA players who have had, or are having success in the NBA after spending part of their rookie season in the D-League.
In 2005, the assignment system was created as a new aspect of the NBA D-League. It was determined that players with two or fewer seasons under their belt, could be assigned up to three times to an NBA team. That season, Martell Webster was assigned to the Fort Worth Flyers and played in eight games. Webster averaged 10.8 points per game, he was the 6th overall selection in the draft that year.
In 2007, Aaron Brooks was drafted 26th overall by the Houston Rockets, the franchise would begin a tradition of sending it's highly touted draft picks to spend time with their D-League affiliate when they assigned Brooks. Brooks a starter for Sacramento, and Webster a key asset for the Washington Wizards off the bench, are well known players who spent part of their rookie season in the NBADL. Other well known players that would follow are; Kosta Koufos, Hasheem Thabeet, Byron Mullens, Patrick Patterson, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Morris.
As the NBA D-League continues to service the NBA in ways such as the current assignment setup, more rookies will benefit from spending time in the D-League. Whether it is for pure development reasons, or just a need to add quality in-game minutes for a player, time spent in the D-League will likely continue to be beneficial for most first year players.
Below is a complete list of first round draftees (overall selection and drafted team) who spent part of their first year in the NBA Development League.
Martell Webster - 6th overall selection (Portland Trail Blazers)
Mouhamed Sene - 10th overall selectiion (Seattle Sonics)
Daequan Cook - 21st overall selectiion (Philadelphia traded to Miami)
Aaron Brooks - 26th overall selection (Houston Rockets)
Alex Ajinca - 20th overall selection (Charlotte Bobcats)
Kosta Koufos - 23rd overall selection (Utah Jazz)
Donte Greene - 28th overall selection (Memphis Grizzlies)
Hasheem Thabeet - 2nd overall selection (Memphis Grizzlies) *highest drafted player ever
Byron Mullens - 24th overall selection (Dallas Mavericks)
Patrick Patterson - 14th overall selection (Houston Rockets)
Avery Bradley - 19th overall selection (Boston Celtics)
Craig Brackens - 21st overall selection (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Marcus Morris - 14th overall selection (Houston Rockets)
Cory Joseph - 29th overall selection (San Antonio Spurs)
2012-2013 thus far...
Kendall Marshall - 13th overall selection (Phoenix Suns)
Fab Melo - 22nd overall selection (Boston Celtics)
Tony Wroten - 25th overall selection (Memphis Grizzlies)
Miles Plumlee - 26th overall selection (Indiana Pacers)