Draft Day

By Stefan Anderson

Draft night, the moment every aspiring basketball player dreams of. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announces “With the (insert number) pick, the (insert team) selects (insert name) from (insert university).” Hearing that statement validates all the years and hours put into the gym.

In the 2016 NBA Draft, 26 international players were selected. The wave of international players is great for the diversity of the league and the sport spreading worldwide. At the same time it has taken away roster spots from NCAA players.

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(stats courtesy of the NCAA)

This could be detrimental to the league. But it could help in other areas.

The D-League: The NBA’s developmental league, also known as the D-League, was created in 2001-02 to begin a farm system similar to Major League Baseball’s minors, where teams get the chance to bring in talent and groom them into the players they should be. Over the last two seasons there were nearly 90 call-ups from the D-League to NBA.

The incoming stock of un drafted could lead to a more competitive D-League. This could bring in an abundance of talent that comes into the NBA. Hassan Whiteside, of the Miami Heat, for example, had his big payday this summer after going from the D-League to leading the NBA in blocks per game.

One and Dones: After a rule change in 2005, high school players are not allowed to declare for the NBA draft. They needed a year of college. This led to an era of what is called one and done, where they play college ball for a year to prep themselves for the jump to the NBA.

The influx of international players taking their spots in the NBA has forced many to stay in college for an extra year or two to hone their skills. The first three selections in this year’s draft were all NCAA freshmen. But out of the 34 non-international player draftees, 20 were upperclassmen. Hopefully this epidemic of one and dones will come to a halt.

The rise of the talent from overseas has given us some of our favorite players. It has also made it harder for athletes to jump from college hoops to the NBA. But the international players may be forcing the homegrown talent to improve their native sport.

Westchester Knicks G Travis Trice talks with The Starting Point

By Stefan Anderson

Westchester Knicks guard Travis Trice spoke with The Starting Point following their final regular as the Knicks head to the NBA Development League playoffs. Trice, following a good career at Michigan State University playing with good talent like Draymond Green, Adrien Payne and Denzel Valentine gathered many deep postseason runs and is hopeful to use his experiences to propel Westchester.

Averaging 15.3 points and 5.7 assists per game, Trice has teamed up with highly touted prospect Jimmer Fredette to combine into one of the best back court tandems in the D-League. Trice and Fredette will showcase their skills as they face off against the record-setting Maine Red Claws in an opening round series.

One Then Some

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By Stefan Anderson

Dallas owner Mark Cuban is far from shy and a little past outspoken on most of his comments, but his comment on Sunday led me to an epiphany. Cuban had some statements on college freshman who were standouts in high school, suggesting that they should just play in the NBA’s development league instead taking their talents to the NCAA and big universities.

Cuban went on to stay “The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there’s absolutely no reason for a kid to go [to college], because he’s not going to class [and] he’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball. So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League.” The Mavericks owner ideas are great because with the idea of players required age going up to 21 instead of 19, makes the D-League a better opportunity for great talents to pursue their professional career earlier.

I personally enjoy the college game and love the opportunity watch NCAA Tournament each year, but I do believe some players are just in college playing a year of basketball where they do not learn and are not mature enough to play in the NBA. For the players that believe their talent is above average and want to get experience while earning the chance to play in the NBA, the development league is the right decision.

And if the idea comes into fruition, each team should have their own D-League team and create a farm system for the NBA similar to Major League Baseball.  The NBA has made its efforts the past years expanding the developmental league to now 17 teams, but if all 30 teams would become parent teams and have their own farm system, it would be hard to eliminate talent that the NCAA withholds currently with the one and done and system and gives the opportunity for the league to grow and players to become more mature.

The NBA’s expanded farm system of the D-League would not only benefit players in their maturity in basketball, it will also benefit the teams with revenue and globalization. With each team designating a place to make a D-League team, that would provide more entertainment for those local cities. For instance, if you live Elmira, NY and you are a passionate basketball fans and would like to give your family the opportunity see a live basketball, a D-League team in your area can save you the costs of going to a Knicks or Nets game, but gaining the same kind of opportunity. Not only will it the beneficial for the fans, teams can gain extra revenue and expand create NBA League’s internationally as basketball has become a worldwide sport.

The idea might sound far fetched to some and seem to be cheapening the brand of basketball, but so does talent that doesn’t equal in today’s one and dones. The NBA created the D-League for these purposes and the money should be put the right as the sport has become a billion dollar industry. Something to consider and I believe would be a great idea for strengthening the game of basketball for the player as well as the fans.