Like anything, starting from the ground up isn’t easy, even if you have the backing of a multi-billion dollar company like the NBA.
So when the NBA’s Developmental League took a while to get off the ground, there was speculation that it simply wasn’t working. But now over a decade since its creation (and eight years since the expansion) the NBA’s D-League is proving to be a key piece to the development of the NBA itself.
Outgoing commissioner David Stern is quite happy with what type of product the D-League is producing and recently suggested that he feels it will educate players better than college programs:
“I’m very proud of the development league. It’s working. That march is continuing. The drumbeats I hear about colleges not liking what they refer to one-and-done . We now have a league in the NBA Development League that will accept players that are 18 and will do a better job of educating them than the college programs in which they are.
While the D-League has certainly kept players from going overseas to play and produced some noteworthy names in the NBA (Jeremy Lin, Marcin Gortat, Matt Barnes, Chris Andersen, etc) it’s yet to make a strong impact in regards to high school players opting for college.
Of course, all it takes is one high profile name to skip college and head to the D-League and likely others would follow.