By Henry Abbott
Look, it's not the NBDL anymore, OK?
It's the D-League. Get it straight. And while it may still be under the radar in most media, the NBA's Developmental League matters. For several reasons:
American basketball has a flawed developmental model, which results in ugly scenes like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony getting embarrassed trying to defend the pick and roll against Greece a few summers ago. The D-League is an earnest attempt by the NBA to put some money into fixing that.
In the long-term, it pays to keep an eye on what the smartest teams in the NBA are doing. To that end, the Rockets are now controlling their own D-League team. The Lakers and Thunder own their own teams, and the Spurs have been shipping players up and down to their own D-League team like crazy for years.
Players who matter come through that pipeline. For instance: Aaron Brooks, Chuck Hayes, Marcin Gortat, Chris "Birdman" Andersen, Jordan Farmar, Kelenna Azubuike, Ramon Sessions, Lou Williams, Lou Amundson, Jose Juan Barea, Jamario Moon, Matt Barnes, Shannon Brown and many others.
From Hardwood Paroxysm, 48 Minutes of Hell and a lot of other blogs in the TrueHoop Network do a great job covering the D-League, but we're now stepping up our game with the addition of Steve Weinman's D-League Digest, which will be on the beat day in and day out.
Steve's biography is on his site. Suffice it to say he is a great blogger -- you may recognize his contributions to the excellent CelticsBlog -- who has some D-League knowledge from his time as an NBA intern.
Welcome aboard, Steve.