The dead of the NBA offseason may be here, but fear not, SBNation.com and its team of creative, insightful, humorous, and knowledge bloggers are here to save the day.
Thus, the network's NBA staff is re-introducing "Theme Day," and rolling out various ones as the summer weeks continue into early fall. We open with "If I were commissioner for a day..."
If you sat in David Stern's seat and wore his shoes for a full day, what changes would you make to The Association?
For RidiculousUpside.com, the change we would like to suggest is a rather simple, obvious, but clearly beneficial one as well. With the NBA D-League now hosting fourteen teams with one-to-one single affiliations (but three independent teams with multiple NBA affiliates instead), it's clear that the NBA is closer to embracing the D-League as a more traditional minor league system more now than ever before.
Such an initiative is undoubtedly beneficial for NBA teams in many ways. The D-League continues to prove to be an excellent place to develop talent and provide the more raw young guns of the league an increased number of reps on a professional hardwood. On veteran teams, the minutes simply aren't all there to go around for the younger and less experienced players. What's good about letting them sit on the bench and not gain valuable experience?
In addition to having a more localized spot to send and develop their own players, NBA teams would also have more flexibility to work out and/or keep a closer eye on some otherwise free agent young guns that could potentially end up making contributions to the NBA team at a later date. Just this past season, big league teams like the Warriors and Rockets both plucked minor league athletes up to their NBA squads over the course of the year. Being able to witness their progress and/or work ethic on a nightly basis (in the D-League first) obviously helped them come to such determinations.
Not only are there an array of benefits to granting each and every NBA team its own minor league team, it simply seems to be the direction both the NBA and D-League would like to go in, together. There is a bevy of talented NBADL players who deserve closer looks one way or another.
Of course, though this may be the long-term plan, arenas need to be built and/or secured, locations need to be determined, etc. What's more, with D-League player salaries already relatively low, it's anyone's guess as to where the money would come from when having to fill out up to 30 minor league rosters.
There are plenty of other factors that are currently holding such a progression back.
That said, if all that were irrelevant and/or capable of being fixed and/or accommodated within one day, that's undeniably the change RidiculousUpside.com would implement. Serving as commissioner for a day, providing each NBA team with their own D-League affiliate would be high on our priority list.