Over the weekend, your's truly argued that the NBA Development League needs to change its name considering it seems the "Development" portion of the D-League's name is a bit out of date. A couple of newly-signed players show that isn't always the case, however.
Point guards Ish Smith and Devan Downey have signed D-League contracts as they look to further their basketball careers, according to a league source. Smith will find a team when he clears waivers on Tuesday while Downey, a former SEC scoring champion, cleared waivers on Friday along with NBA veteran Rafer Alston.
It's a surprising move for Smith to sign with the D-League considering just one month ago he was starting for the Golden State Warriors as an injury replacement for Stephen Curry, but it shows he wants to get back to the NBA as quick as possible -- and the D-League is likely going to be his quickest route.
Smith went undrafted last season after a solid four-year career with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, but was able to catch on with the Houston Rockets as a rookie free agent. He played 28 games with the Rockets, starting three, before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies midway through the season.
The speedy point guard would go on to play 15 games with the Grizzlies last season before being cut during this season's training camp, latching on with the Warriors and eventually being released again when Golden State decided they'd rather have big man Earl Barron on the roster.
Downey's also been involved in his fair share of transactions throughout the early portion of his career, though they haven't been on this continent. After failing to impress with the Sacramento Kings during the 2010 NBA Summer League, Downey bounced around last season while playing for teams based in Turkey, Croatia and France before signing with a Belgian team this season.
The 5-foot-9 point guard was unable to stick in Belgium after another horrid shooting performance through the team's first five games, leading him to the Development League. If nothing else, it should be really fun to see when his new D-League team matches up with fellow sub-six-foot point guard Jerome Randle and the Maine Red Claws as the two speedsters face off in a battle of really undersized scorers.
If more players like Smith and Downey continue to sign with the D-League -- instead of guys like Rafer Alston and Ricky Davis -- the name change might not be warranted after all.