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Record number of D-League call-ups to NBA

Mar 31, 2010, 10:52 AM EDT

It’s a huge and difficult decision for a number of men each fall.

These men came up just short of making an NBA roster and now they are faced with a choice: Sharpen their skills in the D-League, where NBA scouts are watching, or go to Europe and play where the paychecks are bigger.

Score one for the D-League this year.

Cartier Martin was recently called up by the Washington Wizards (something they wouldn’t have had to do if they had been more on the ball with Alonzo Gee) became the 30th player called up to the NBA from the D-League this season. That’s a new record, according to our own Matt Moore writing at FanHouse.

There haven’t just been more call-ups this season than ever before, the quality of them has improved. You’re seeing more signings for the rest of the season beyond the 10-days, and many of them with partially guaranteed contracts for next season.

D-League proponents (like yours truly) have argued for years that the D-League represents an opportunity for teams to invest in younger, cheaper talent rather than simply filling out the end of their bench with a retread veteran. Teams are coming around to that way of thinking, and it shows. The league is accomplishing like never before one of the central goals it was constructed to do: provide quality talent for teams to invest in.

Golden State has had success with Reggie Williams and a number of call-ups. Gee played so well in Washington that San Antonio swooped in and snatched him up for this year and next. This has been happening a lot.

Gee’s agent Andre Buck told the Washington Post that he had to convince his client staying in the D-League would pay off as they kept turning down more lucrative offers from Europe. It’s hard to turn down money (not that I would know first hand). But it paid off.

And now, we may see a lot more Gees in the coming years. They players get it, and NBA teams get it. The D-League works.

  1. C - Mar 31, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    Short call-ups don’t really impress me much.
    It would help to know the average length of a call-up and the % who are with the club at the start of the following regular season.

  2. C - Mar 31, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    Or I should say on the club say by Dec. 1. The league says 20% of all players in the league now have played in the D-league at some point and about 15% of the opening day roster have. But by Dec. 1 it is surely lower.
    Of the 100 or so players “called-up” ever (some multiple times) I’d guess probably somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 play 50+ NBA games
    Maybe this season more than the typical half-dozen players called-up this season will achieve that. But that isn’t a lot. Teams called-up players from elsewhere before. The D-league probably isn’t producing significantly more than call-ups then before. But whatever, it is their business.

  3. C - Mar 31, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    Of those called-up to the NBA for their first ever NBA experience in 08-09, as best I can tell looking quickly at the call-ups
    and rosters, only a couple are still with the same club.

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