The D-League is constantly filled with relatives of those who have previously graced the NBA hardwood, while hoping they too, can break into The Association and follow in similar footsteps.
Luckily for a player like Jesse Childs, son of former Knicks, Nets, and Raptors guard Chris, he understands the ups and downs very well; the grind, the grit, and determination necessary to find one's way through. After all, Chris Childs originally made his mark in the old CBA.
Because Jesse knows the good and the bad, and is familiar with when to be patient and when to have urgency, this could be an advantage for him on the minor league level. The son of the NBA veteran is eligible for selection in Saturday's coming D-League Draft.
"A lot of times when you have kids with parents that have played professional sports, it's even tougher because of what's expected," the senior Childs told RidiculousUpside.com. "He's been able to watch me and other CBA and NBA players. He knows both sides of what it takes; the struggle and the long way that I took."
Further discussing his own path, Childs lamented, "Initially, it was difficult because you're looked at as "the man" in college. You're expected to be a first or second rounder when you start going through workouts and pre-draft summer tournaments. When that doesn't happen, it's human nature to get down on yourself. But I had the support of my parents. I was fortunate to play in the CBA under good coaches who kept me ready for my moment."
It's clear he relates to what players go through as they transition to playing in the D-League. Childs made his mark by being a high-energy defensive floor general who was unselfish with the ball. The NBA was already full of scorers, so he looked to do all of the little things necessary, not only in the CBA, but also the NBA once he finally got there. Such a mentality is one he hopes his son will have as he looks to this next step in his professional career. The veteran knows that's what executives are looking for.
"I think that's what Jesse's mentality needs to be. [The executives] are there for a reason, to evaluate the best options. He needs to be a good fit. If he comes in with the mentality that he will do whatever it takes, do the little things, and just be a piece of the puzzle, then I think he'll done just fine. He can showcase his talents," Childs explained. "The name on the jersey doesn't matter."
The younger Childs' professional career most recently led him to playing for the Arizona Scorpions of the ABA in 2014-15. He averaged 18 points, 8 assists, and 6 assists. He shot 37% from downtown. The season before that, he played for the Germany Dusseldorf Giants. His stat-line that year (10 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists per contest) is certainly less imposing, but still consistent with a versatile effort.
Talking to those around Childs who have seen him play, it's clear he models his game after his father, with perhaps a bit more scoring prowess. He knows, however, that it'll be his other contributions on the floor that will help him stand out most.
As for Chris, he certainly sees the value in the D-League. Having grown up in Bakersfield, California and played college ball at Boise State, he's familiar with those types of minor league markets. The CBA and NBA veteran says if the incoming prospects are smart and catch on to what the D-League offers, they'll make it to the big time soon enough. He loves where the league is headed, too.
"All of the guys in the D-League have special gifts. Once they realize and find out what those gifts are, then they'll start making it to the next level. I think it's awesome. If you take it in stride and know that you're there to learn something about your game, it'll be a great opportunity," he concluded. "I think it's great that it's gotten to the point where there are NBA affiliates, because it gives everyone even more chances."