The 2013-14 NBA D-League season doesn't start for another couple of weeks now, but that doesn't mean minor league assignments haven't begun.
Even in the early weeks of the NBA season, it's easy to quickly assess which of a team's players are cracking the rotation, and which can instead already be found riding the pine.
With that in mind, the D-League becomes an instant consideration for such players. Though the season hasn't started, training camp has. In addition to simply getting more reps than one would with an NBA team (be it during games or even during practice), perhaps different respective personnel (from a team's said front office or coaching staff) believe it's also beneficial for some of their younger players to build some early rapport with a squad's D-League affiliate, especially if that's where they'll spend much of their time during the season.
A handful of teams have already begun assigning their young guns to such NBADL affiliates. That said, the Knicks aren't one of them. Last season, New York believed it was better for their players to spend more time around the big league club, hoping they'd learn more from those around them, rather than more time on the court in the D-League.
With a fresh injection of youth into its core group, such a mentality may change sooner rather than later. Even so, Chris Smith (brother of J.R. Smith) has yet to receive a D-League assignment of his own, despite not having been recognized as active for a Knicks game this season.
There's no denying assigning the younger Smith to the D-League would benefit all parties in a number of different ways. Still,Yahoo! Sports is reporting that New York may not agree with an assertion. See below:
Within the Knicks coaching staff, they believe Chris Smith doesn't even have the talent to be an NBA Development League player - never mind worthy of a roster spot. One opposing GM called him "maybe the worst player in the history of the [NBA] summer league."
Perhaps that's harsh, but the Knicks need to sign a big man in the wake of Tyson Chandler's fractured leg, and Chris Smith's roster spot creates an obstacle.
If the Knicks truly think so low of Smith, perhaps they're of the right mind set not to send him to the D-League just yet. Sending him to Erie to play with the BayHawks may prove to instead stunt the growth of players like Terrence Jennings, Jeremy Tyler, Justin Brownlee, etc. Having to play Smith more (simply out of obligation) would also prevent the Knicks from getting a proper look at twelve-year NBA vet Ricky Davis, too.
Should the Knicks hold such aforementioned players in higher regard that Smith, perhaps not making him put on a BayHawk uniform is for the best. It will be interesting to see what happens as the (minor league) season grows closer.