It didn’t occur to me when I read Mark Cuban’s comments about how the D-League is a much more super awesome place than college for 18-year olds to hone their skills/cool their jets until they’re eligible for the draft, but here’s a reason kids might not fall all over themselves to chase Cuban’s dream:
“I think the thing with playing college basketball, especially the players that are good enough to play at high-level schools, they get so much exposure (in college),” Nored said. “Think about how much talk there has been of the freshman focus in college basketball this season. You’re probably not going to get that talk in the D-League because you’re just playing on YouTube every day.”
Now there’s no reason the NBA couldn’t choose to promote players in the D-League to a greater degree… except (1) that costs money (and why spend it when the colleges will do it gratis?) and (2) to the extent that promotion is successful, it’s going to pump up the market value of certain players.
Anyway, interesting point.
10 responses to “Nobody knows you in North Dakota.”
As smart as Cuban is, he completely glosses over the huge hole in his idea which you hit on here. A significant segment of fans don’t watch football or basketball because they love the players or even the game, but because they have a link to those teams based on where they graduated from or grew up. Remove that connection and you remove 99% of all fan support. And if you think about a place like Kentucky, those 1 and doners are able to build a fanbase larger than they could ever dream of in a year playing a D league in front of 2000 fans a night. You think Kentucky fans would care about John Wall or Anthony Davis if they hadn’t spent a few months in that blue jersey? More importantly would the endorsement contracts those guys sign be worth even half their current value without the thousands of UK fans who still follow them loyally? Nope. Which is why if you have a chance to play for UK or Duke or Kansas you’d be silly to pass it up, skill-honing in Mark Cuban’s D league be damned.
Plus Ashley Judd does not follow the D League
Given the time of year, this seems appropriate as well.
Blind Resume Test:
a) ? enters his first season as head coach of the (D-League Franchise!). He was introduced as the 16th head coach in franchise history on August 14 after spending the past 11 seasons in various roles within the HEAT organization.
?, who served as a full-time advance scout the past six seasons, was an assistant coach for the HEAT’s summer league entries in Orlando and Las Vegas in July. Delany also served as the HEAT’s video coordinator for four seasons (2003-07) following one season as a video intern.
b) ? enters his 11th season as the head coach of the (State U) and 26th as a college head coach. A member of the Naismith Basketball and College Basketball Halls of Fame, ? has led (State U) to national championships in 2005 and 2009, another Final Four in 2008, Elite Eights in 2007, 2011 and 2012, five NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds, seven Associated Press Top 10 final rankings, six ACC regular-season titles, two ACC Tournament crowns, five 30-win seasons and developed 14 first-round NBA Draft picks.
ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News and Fox Sports named him the Coach of the Decade for 2000-2009 as he led (State U 1) and (State U 2) to 33 NCAA Tournament wins in that span, eight more than any other coach.
You’re also cannibalizing your fan base when you build up the D-League. There’s only so much time and money people can spend on basketball (or any sport). Sure, you’ll steal some people’s time/money away from college basketball. But you won’t steal enough to make the D-League the somewhat equally attractive option for college age kids that you want it to be. So guess where the other fan time/money that you would need would come from? That’s right. Your marquee league.
The only reason the NBA started the D-League in the first place was so that they could get the players union to agree to changing the eligibility rule. The D-League was founded in 2001 and, low and behold, the next time the collective bargaining agreement expired (in 2005), the eligibility rule was changed to require a player to be a year removed from high school (it previously allowed them to enter the NBA straight out of high school).
The NBA doesn’t have any interest in doing anything more than the bare minimum with the D-League. That’s why it’s still the same, weak league that it was when it started 13 years ago.
Marginally related: North Dakota is awesome. You’d ultimately be better-off for having spent any extended amount of time there. (No, I’m not being sarcastic)
Lots of moose and fish in ND. You think we can’t see your agenda?
Ironically, my handle is based largely on a mixture of the Bahranian word for melon, a Hawaiian O-Club tradition, and German beer.
North Dakota was well after the fact.
I don’t watch the Detroit Lions because they are good … I watch ’em because Matt Stafford is their quarterback … I even watch ’em even though their outstanding receiver went to our number one rival.
Who gets more … uh, “dates” if you will? The starting point guard for the Kentucky Wildcats or the starting point guard for the Sioux Falls D-League team?