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How Will NBA’s New Global Academy Initiative Impact The NBADL? Ridiculous Upside Q&A

In the third edition of the Q&A, Dakota Schmidt answers questions related to Kentucky’s prospects, past NBADL drafts and the new NBA Global Academy initiative.


Over the course of the summer, Ridiculous Upside has started to do occasional Q&As where we’d answer your questions form the @ridicupside account. During those two Q&A’s, we’ve taken questions related to the D-League, NBA Draft prospects and even high school hoops. So without further adu, let’s get to the 3rd edition of the Ridiculous Upside Q&A

Unfortunately, there haven’t been any recent updates on a potential location for a future Timberwolves D-League team. The last inkling of news was a Rochester Post-Bulletin piece from January which noted Rochester as the likely location for a D-League squad. Although it’s frustrating that we don’t have any recent news on the story, there’s a great chance that we’ll start getting more information once the season begins.

Despite this probably not being the best answer for this question, I’d have to give it a tie between the 2014 and 2015 Draft. That 2014 Draft offered potentially the most important NBADL Draft pick ever in Robert Covington. Although Covington didn’t play a minute in the D-League during the season, he’s still important due to being one of the best players that the league has churned out over the last few years. Looking away from that, that draft featured a solid amount of D-League call-ups which include: Elliot Williams, David Stockton, and Xavier Munford.

Transitioning over the 2015 NBADL Draft, which was headlined by cultural icon Jimmer Fredette. Although he was unable to stay on with an NBA squad, he stood as one of the best players in the D-League and was named MVP of the NBADL All-Star game. Outside of Fredette, NBA veteran Jeff Ayres was probably the most appealing player picked in that draft due to his NBA experience. Ayers immediately stood as one of the best forwards in the D-League before he was called up by the Clippers.

Alongside that duo, the 2015 NBADL draft featured a handful of solid D-League contributors that includes: Jabrill Trawick, Melvin Johnson, Askia Booker, Patrick Miller and Walter Lemon Jr.

Hey Keith, we’re going to be entering the upcoming NBADL season with twenty two teams. That’s headlined by three expansion squads that include the Greensboro Swarm, Long Island Nets and Windy City Bulls. There’s also two NBADL squads that have relocated over the summer. The Bakersfield Jam have moved to Arizona to become the Northern Arizona Suns. Alongside that, you had the Idaho Stampede move to Utah to become the Salt Lake City Stars.

In regards to your second question, it’s still way too early to tell which team(s) are going to be good this year. It’ll probably be a month until we really find out how each NBADL team will look. Most NBADL teams are organized through two separate ways: affiliate players and D-League draft.

When it comes to affiliate players, we’ll find out after NBA training camp, where each NBADL squad will have a chance to grab up to four training camp invites that were cut from their NBA affiliate. In regards to the NBADL draft, that usually occurs in late October or early November.

Just basing things on Kentucky’s 2017 NBA Draft prospects, then I don’t think they’re being overrated. The main trio of De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo and Malik Monk stand as very intriguing prospects that I’m going to try to watch on a game-by-game basis. Fox is a very versatile point guard that shows great court instincts alongside an ability to both cut to the paint and shoot the perimeter jumper. In regards to both Adebayo and Monk, I’ve already discussed why I’m a huge fan of their games.

If Hamidou Diallo were to enter the 2017 NBA Draft, I could probably see him as a late lottery/mid 1st round pick. There’s a huge amount of promise in his game due to how incredibly athletic he is but Diallo still needs to develop as an outside threat and facilitator. If he can show improvements in those areas during his senior season, then it’s definitely plausible for him to be the mix with the likes of De’Aaron Fox, Jonathan Isaac and Marques Bolden as mid-lottery picks.

Late last week, DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony wrote a brilliant piece for the Vertical on the NBA’s huge plan to help build global basketball academies in countries like Africa, China, India and Australia. This global initiative would allow young men, between the ages of 14 through 18, an opportunity to work in elite facilities to develop both on the court and in the classroom.

Within that Vertical piece, Givony directly mentioned the NBA D-League as this final step for prospects to go to before they become draft-eligible. This would be a gigantic boon for the NBADL, as an influx of elite international talent would be placed throughout the league. That would allow the D-League to finally be looked at as a true minor league system as it would be filled with viable NBA prospects rather than players looking for a second shot at the Association.

That influx of international talent would also bring a ton of added attention to the NBADL. First off, NBA Draft nerds all over the world will be tuned into the D-League to scout these unique prospects. More importantly, this move would help create global interest in the NBADL, as fans around the world will be tuned to YouTube to keep track of their young prospects.

In conclusion, this global initiative has the potential to allow the D-League to grow to heights that even Adam Silver wouldn’t imagine.