Ultimately, the NBA D-League would like to have a 30-to-30 setup, a lofty goal which is becoming more of a reality as the league continues to grow. That said, there will be three NBADL teams with five or six NBA parent teams entering the 2013-2014 season.
The Bakersfield Jam, Fort Wayne Mad Ants, and Iowa Energy will be NBADL affiliates for 16 total NBA teams. Can these NBADL affiliates be effective with so many NBA teams assigned to them?
With the addition of the Delaware 87ers, and new one-to-one affiliations for both the Reno Bighorns and Sioux Falls Skyforce, there was yet another shift in affiliate relationships this offseason. It also left the Jam, Mad Ants, and Energy as the only remaining teams with multiple affiliations, but not necessarily at a disadvantage like some would think.
Recently, RidiculousUpside.com spoke with Bakersfield Jam Assistant General Manager Brian Levy, about the working relationship multi-affiliate NBADL teams have with their NBA parent clubs.
This offseason, the Jam picked up a new NBA affiliate, the Utah Jazz, and Levy explained the process of establishing new relationships in order to best serve their new NBA parent club. "We are fortunate that there were already some good relationships between our two teams. We knew back at Summer League that this would happen, and open dialogues began there. We'll continue to speak as the offseason moves along. In the meantime, we'll try and familiarize the Jazz with what travel, housing, etc. will be like during any assignments, so there are no surprises when the time comes." Levy said.
Along with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Bakersfield made the playoffs last season, but lost in the first round to the Austin Toros. The Jam entered the postseason as the top seed, and won the West Division. The team also fielded successful assignment players such as Kendall Marshall, Mike Scott, John Jenkins, Diante Garrett, and most notably Quincy Acy.
The Raptors will remain one of the Jam's NBA parent clubs, and despite the logistical struggles of assigning Acy last season, the process aided in Acy's overall development. Levy talked about the assignment process, and how both teams work hard to ensure the value in such a decision.
"Our affiliates have done a great job of keeping us in the loop with their upcoming plans for assignments. We know exactly why they're being sent down, and what the NBA team would like to see from them. Once a player is assigned, he's a member of our team, and we take his development very seriously. We follow the NBA team's requests for minutes, role, and conditioning the best we can." Levy added.
The last NBADL franchise with multiple affiliates to win the NBA D-League championship was the Iowa Energy (who were the affiliate of Chicago and Phoenix at the time), they knocked off Rio Grande Valley 2-1 in a best-of-three series. The Jam seem to be building upon their success over the last few seasons, and Levy hopes that Bakersfield can win a title, and join Iowa's company.
"Under Coach Voigt's leadership, we pride ourselves on being as prepared as possible. Be that for the draft, tryout camps, or for our upcoming opponent. The entire staff puts in a ton of hours and the work has shown in the results. Our goal this year, as it is every year, is to win a championship. We've gotten to the point where we are in the playoffs and competing for one each year. We'll just continue to work for it." Levy concluded.
Obviously, there are plenty of benefits for NBA teams to create a one-to-one setup with an NBADL affiliate, but Bakersfield, Fort Wayne and Iowa will continue providing their NBA parent clubs with the proper accommodations regarding player assignments, and potential Call-Ups. Despite the current landscape of the league, NBADL teams with multiple affiliates can find just as much success as those with a single affiliate setup.