Last season, the D-League set an all-time record for call-ups, 60 to be exact, involving 43 of its players. The number of call-ups more than doubled from the previous season, and was a true indicator that the D-League has become the official minor league system for the NBA.
Teams are now utilizing their D-League affiliates more than ever to develop talent and find role players to fit on their rosters, and this year the D-League should surpass that lofty number they set only a year ago. Find out why after the jump.
To start the 2012-2013 D-League season, there will be an all-time high eleven NBA teams with single affiliates, two of which formed partnerships this off-season (Boston Celtics-Maine Red Claws and Portland Trail Blazers-Idaho Stampede).
This number is important in regard to the amount of call-ups that we will likely see next season. The more single affiliate relationships that are formed, the more call-ups that we will see. NBA teams have a serious amount of interest invested in their D-League affiliates as it is, and that only increases when they've established a 1-to-1 relationship with a team.
This allows more freedom and also more opportunity to let players learn and play within a system passed down from the NBA franchise to the D-League affiliate. The end result, in all likelihood, will be a call-up for players who will ideally mesh with their respective NBA team because of the familiarity that's been already established.
Not only will the actual number of call-ups increase, but the quality of those call-ups will undoubtedly improve. Let's take NBA Summer League standout Josh Selby as an example. Selby was assigned twice by the Memphis Grizzlies last season to the Reno Bighorns. Over the summer, Selby excelled in Las Vegas and now as a second year player, looks more poised and confident out on the court. His potential is within reach, and his upside is now attainable.
The post Jeremy Lin-era will also be a reason why we will see more call-ups next season. The highly publicized rags to riches story of Jeremy Lin last year was a public relations gold mine for the D-League. Now every team in the NBA and every franchise within the D-League will be looking for that next "big thing". Jeremy Lin confirmed the possibility that a player lurking around the D-League can land a shot with an NBA team and make it count. Obviously he has set the bar extremely high, but his accomplishments are surely respected and admired from the players who will be suiting up in the D-League this upcoming season.
Records are meant to be broken, and last year's call-up mark will surely be eclipsed this upcoming season.