This past offseason, it was announced that the Maine Red Claws and Idaho Stampede had agreed upon a hybrid single affiliation status with their respective NBA teams (Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers), moving the total of 'One-to-One' affiliations in the D-League to 11 teams. Looking back at last year's results, it is apparent that success will come in a number of ways for the Blazers-Stampede and Celtics-Red Claws relationships this upcoming season.
The Stampede and Red Claws both ended the year with the exact same win total last season (21), and missed out on the playoffs. Both teams were not involved in a single affiliation relationship with an NBA team, and perhaps did not benefit as much in terms of Call-Ups and assignments. Not only did the Stampede and Red Claws not benefit from more involvement with their NBA affiliate last season, but their newly established parent NBA franchises missed the boat as well. The Blazers had just two assignments and zero Call-Ups, while Boston recorded zero assignments and two Call-Ups.
Now that the two franchises have entered a single affiliation status with their respective D-League teams, look for things to change in the 2012-2013 season in terms of D-League activity. Also, if the current trend continues, look for both the Stampede and Red Claws to enjoy more success and perhaps even a spot in the D-League playoffs.
Looking back at last season's results, the two teams who made the D-League finals are not only single affiliates for NBA teams, but owned outright by the team as well. The top 4 teams in terms of total assignments last year all have some sort of a single affiliate relationship with their D-League affiliate (Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, and Dallas Mavericks). The Mavericks assigned players nine times while the Spurs and Rockets tied for the second most, with a total of six assignments each.
In terms of Call-Ups, the Spurs were right there near the top again with five Call-Ups, but fell behind both Cleveland and
New Jersey (Brooklyn), each of which recorded seven and six Call-Ups respectively. All three of these NBA teams once again have established some sort of single affiliation with their D-League affiliate. Note: New Orleans also had five Call-Ups, but does not have a single affiliation with their D-League affiliate.
More importantly the Canton Charge, Springfield Armor, Iowa Energy and Austin Toros all made the D-League playoffs last season, the Toros took home the D-League title.
So, what does this mean? Each of these teams utilized their D-League affiliate in some capacity to perhaps give a player more in-game floor minutes, or even by sending a player down to develop and work on a particular part of their game. Regardless of the reason, these teams were active in using their D-League affiliates and thus provided fans of these teams the opportunity to witness NBA players up close and personal. What was also provided for these teams was an alternative approach to developing a deeper bench. By utilizing their D-League team as a vehicle for player development, they enabled themselves to have players ready with the knowledge and abilities to perform on the NBA stage if needed to be called upon. The 'One-to-One' model truly benefits both the D-League affiliate as well as their NBA counterpart.
As the Maine Red Claws and Idaho Stampede begin the 2012-2013 season, look for both teams to achieve more success than what they have enjoyed in seasons past. By looking back at last season, the newly formed single affiliate status for both teams will pay dividends for their NBA affiliate as well as their own franchise.