In short, my answer to the above question is yes - the talent in the NBA Development League has increased significantly since the insurgence of the CBA teams prior to the 2006-2007 season and I have enough faith in the system to believe that there won't be a drop in talent for the foreseeable future as well.
I just don't think this season's crop will be as talented as it was over the past two seasons.
If you don't follow me on Twitter or read the blog of the best D-League Team President/Blogger this side of the Missouri, the above paragraph probably comes out of nowhere - especially since I haven't blogged since August - so let me catch you up.
Fort Wayne Mad Ants' Team President Jeff Potter - long loved around these parts - responded to one of my throw-away tweets about D-League shot-blocking champion Kurt Looby signing in Greece with an in-depth piece on why the D-League will "have a very good talent pool and will always have a good talent pool."
Potter's points revolved around three main player types:
- Bit players from last season stepping up to fill the holes their more talented teammates have left
- New players - a la last season's Reggie Williams - entering the D-League and taking over immediately
- Players cut from European teams and NBA training camps entering the D-League
The problem I see with Potter's suggestions, however, is that those same factors have always been a factor and none brings up the fact that a majority of last season's talent will be getting their money across the pond.
As Jon L noted in November of last season, there was quite a bit of turnover at the top of the D-League last season as well - but it feels as though the talent exodus this season seems to be more than just the top 15 players but the majority of players that have shown to have NBA hopes (believe me, there were definitely more than 15 players in the D-League last season that could have made an NBA roster in the right situation).
Unfortunately, I don't have all of the answers - yet.
For the rest of the week, I'll attempt to prove myself not wrong. Let's see how it goes.