Shoals points us to a pair of videos released by the D today, with Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett stating their support for the D-League.
Shoals points out that it's a bad move to have these two stars support the D, given their automatic arrival in the league as premier players. It certainly does seem like a condescending sentiment coming from two players who needed no development and immediately impacted the league. And while the league doubtless had no such considerations for the spot, they only thought "Hey, let's get two of the biggest stars in the league to support the league on video," there is a certain amount of greater sense to this selection, if you choose to think about it.
For starters, these two players illustrate the two sides of good and bad development through their careers. Not with them, but their teammates. Kobe for example, has benefited tremendously from the Lakers long-term development decisions. Drafting Bynum and slowly integrating him. Sending Farmer to the D-League and then calling him up, bringing him in slowly. The Lakers are in win-now mode. Believe me when I say, though, that when the lights go down on this particular Showtime team, this franchise will lean heavily on the D-Fenders who they own.
Garnett, on the other hand, is a perfect example of how the old way of thinking can ruin you. Instead of building a foundation and developing players, the Timberwolves instead tried to just fill in holes with veterans through free agency and drafts. They didn't go out and acquire good players to develop, though the D was in its infancy then, regardless. And while Garnett's championship has come on the backs of massive superstar trades, there's still a heavy emphasis on youth development with the Celtics, and you'll continue to see that with the Celtics when they work with the new Portland, ME franchise that should be announced within the next two months.
The other reason this makes sense is a little more ethereal. The fact is, not every player is going to be Kobe and Garnett. Most are going to be average to below average players. Otherwise Kobe wouldn't be Kobe and Garnett wouldn't be KG. They are who they are precisely because they're better than everyone else. But you need guys who can work around them, and sometimes you need young guys to incubate for call-up duty. Kobe has Farmar. And the Celtics have been developing Pruitt. They'll develop Giddens.
It would be better to have Azubuike and Sessions on these commercials, but if you're going to have them, might as well build a case by contrast with two players who needed no development. Because with a little development, some of the greatest busts of all time might not have turned out so bad, and their comparison to Kobe and KG wouldn't hurt so much.