On Monday morning, the Philadelphia 76ers announced in a brief press release that veteran point guard Jerryd Bayless has been sent to the Delaware 87ers, their NBA D-League affiliate.
This assignment is due to Bayless’ ongoing rehabilitation process related to an injury suffered during training camp, where the veteran guard tore a ligament in his left wrist. That injury came at a time where Bayless was set to begin his first season with the Philadelphia 76ers, after signing a 3-year, $27 million contract during the offseason.
This actually isn’t the first time that the 76ers assigned a player to the D-League to help them recover an injury. Last November, the 76ers assigned both Kendall Marshall and Tony Wroten to the Sevens as part of their recovery from torn ACL’s. Both players spent three weeks practicing with the Sevens before returning to the 76ers in the following move.
A more prominent example of a player getting assigned to the D-League for rehab was seen last year with the Detroit Pistons and Brandon Jennings. To help Jennings in his recovery from rupturing his left achillies, the Pistons assigned Brandon Jennings to the Grand Rapids Drive. In his lone game with the Drive, Jennings impressed by putting up 11 points and 12 assists.
Although we currently don’t know the exact details of the 76ers have planned for Bayless’ time in the D-League, it would be pretty cool to see him play a game or two against NBADL competition. The biggest reason is the simple fact that Bayless is just an incredibly fun player to watch.
Whether he’s launching a perimeter jumper or driving to the paint, Bayless brings a certain energy to the game that’s very hard to replicate. In addition to that, Bayless is a strong perimeter marksman, as he shot 43% from 3 during the 2015-16 season. In the likely event that he can transfer the skills to the D-League, Bayless could definitely be a must-watch player during his short stint with the team.
While it’s become commonplace for young prospects to get their feet wet with some appearances in the NBADL, it’s very rare to see actual NBA veterans step foot in the league. It’s surprising how rare of an occurrence this is, as it would seem customary for rehabbing players to spend some time in the D-League before they’re ready to return to the NBA.
Hopefully the precedent set by the 76ers and Bayless could allow other NBA teams to utilize the D-League to help rehab their returning players. If more teams utilize the D-league for that purpose, we could be one step closer to the NBA D-League becoming that perfect minor league that we’ve all dreamed about.