FanPost

How can we improve the Raptors' use of the NBDL?

 


With the NBA, add another person to work with Colangelo sure. But it seems to me that the physical and athletic requirements to compete in the NBA ensure that there is a narrow pool of talent from which everyone is drawing from, onto rosters that don't have many non-active spots. Mix in the fact that there is no minor league for any player that has been under contract for more then two years. The trend is that potential additions to your team are usually on the roster of another team. The NBDL, which supposedly is the minor league of potential NBA talent, it just doesn't seem to see many undrafted players working their way up to NBA rosters. Would one not expect that the top players in the DLeague, who are usually older and thus free to sign with anyone, would get called up frequently and signed to year long contracts? I don't follow football, but it seems like the ultimate example of players that aren't even drafted that can rise up and contribute significantly to a team's fortunes.

The NBA seems like a league where if you wash out, you can either compete for a injury spot or make good money as a featured part of a European team. But the flaws that kept you from sticking in the League rarely get fixed after the fact, at least to the level that you can win a job outright at a future training camp. I would use the example of players that seem to have all the tools, but don't have a decent shot. Or a PG that is too shoot first. For players like these, I would expect that experience overseas or in the minors would help them address that issue that's holding them back. But that just doesn't seem to be the case.

It seems the best a NBDL player can hope for is a series of 10 day contracts. And the ones that are signed near the end of the year seem to be players that are raw, and are looked at more as projects for a team's coaching staff while being stashed on the inactive roster. What is so wrong with our developmental system that players that aren't able to improve their standing in the league after extended time in it. A player that leaves school after his freshman year should be able to spend a few years in the NBDL and pick up the kind of skills and experience that would have been honed in the college environment.   

While adding another experienced front office decision maker is great, I would be MUCH more excited about having us buy our own NBDL team. Staff it with our own people, and have one player development type (ie Alvin Williams) spend one week a month on site monitoring developments as a sort of minor league GM. I had mixed feelings before, thinking that the right franchise had to come on the market (ie proximity to Toronto) since you want to buy the right franchise and stick with it from here on out. But if the money's there, then they shouldn't hesitate. They could even strike a compromise with the Bakersfield owners. ie They retain control of concessions, parking, most of the business side. Raptors foot the bill for the coaching staff. In exchange, we have full control over coaching decisions and roster decisions for both Raptor and NBDL contract players. Would also add some meaning to summer league, since players we like can stick with our minor league team and have the leg up on other competitors for an open roster spot. For a candidate for a ten day callup, I would rather it was a player from a team controlled D-League team that was running a similar system, who perhaps had gone through training camp with the parent team. More cohesiveness, and hopefully reduce the learning curve. Win - win all around.

If teams needed added incentive, perhaps give each team two NBDL designated player slots in the new CBA. These players rights belong to the NBA team, and thus these players can't be called up by anyone else. They are also free of any age restriction. In exchange for the lack of freedom,  the player's salary is exempt from the NBDL tier system, so they could earn a wage closer to what they would earn overseas.  These slots would not count against a teams fifteen man roster UNTIL the player is called up. An added benefit would be creating some internal competition among the farm team players, to be able to attain the designated player slot and higher paycheque. At the moment, it SEEMS as if players in the NBDL are spending most of their mental energy worrying about showing themselves for other teams, with no link to the NBA parent. This could lead to the kind of selfish behavior that makes teams reticent to send their young players down to develop ie its a "guard driven league".

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