Though he's a promising prospect who has already made it to the NBA, Tyler Honeycutt may indeed be with Reno Bighorns when the season starts anyway.
Forced to deal with various stress fractures through the summer and the beginning of training camp, the Kings' second-year forward's time on the court has been quite limited as of late.
After playing sparingly during his rookie campaign, Honeycutt's goal for the offseason would have been to develop his game and use NBA Summer League as a great tool to do that, had he not be sidelined.
But because he appeats behind the eight ball a bit after using the summer to rehabilitate, rather than train, Kings' coach Keith Smart and the organization appear ready to let Honeycutt instead begin strutting his stuff in the D-League come November 30th, according to reports.
The UCLA product appears open to the idea, granted he gets playing time. If the Kings aren't planning on using Honeycutt regularly once the season starts, why not use the opportunity to log some minutes in the NBADL? Experience hitting the hardwood could help more so than watching teammates play from the bench, especially if the minor league staff is on the same with the Kings as it relates to how Honeycutt can elevate his game.
As a rule, NBA teams are able to "protect" three players they cut during training camp for their own D-League affiliate. But this isn't such a case. Honeycutt is a player under contract, drafted by the team with the hope that he could make future contributions. Thus, such a "plan" to use a stint with the Bighorns to help Honeycutt improve really shows how much NBA squads are beginning to value the NBADL as a true minor league affiliation.
Whether it be because of Honeycutt's necessary rehab in order to find a rhythm again, or simply because he's a younger player in need of development, the Kings are choosing to utilize the D-League in the perfect fashion. Make no mistake, as players get injured or struggle against tougher competition, the NBADL should be considered a prime option for players to turn to in order to make strides in either department.
It'll be interesting to see if other NBA teams begin to embrace and utilize the D-League, just as the Kings have, so early on in the season.