During the Kings/Clippers game NBA Summer League matchup on Sunday, Doc Rivers sat down with NBATV and delivered huge praise to Los Angeles’ G League affiliate.
As the discussion make its way to the growth of the G League and how that helps build a culture for teams in the NBA, Rivers beamed with pride. “The G League saved our season last year”, he said.
“You know, it’s more than just that you’re just working with players but you’re allowing coaches to go down there and work on our system then they graduate up to your bench. The G League is more than just players but its the whole organization as it gives a lot of people the chance to have an NBA experience.”
It makes sense for Rivers to talk highly, as two-way prospects CJ Williams and Tyrone Wallace both played significant roles for the big league club last season, starting 18 and 19 games, respectively. Wallace had the biggest impact while putting up 9.7 points, 2.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds on 44% from the field in only 28 minutes per game. Williams averaged 18 minutes and had some pretty big moments during his time with the LA Clippers.
It was great for Rivers to touch on the coaches that work their way up through the minor league system. This summer alone, Jerry Stackhouse, Ronald Nored and Josh Longtaff have all received promotions to NBA assistant positions after working as G League head coaches last year. Although most of Rivers’ staff is filled with guys that have been on benches of various NBA teams, assistant players skills coach J.P. Clark did spend the 2012-13 season with the Maine Red Claws.
Rivers’ coaching staffs have more often been filled with established individuals. But as the G League becomes more prominent, he’s clearly seeing the value in the league as a development tool for young mentors.