Matt Hubert of DLeagueDigest.com graded, with input from others, each NBA team based on how well it uses the D-League. The Pistons didn’t score very highly:
Detroit Pistons: 1.37 GPA
High Grade: B (MM)
Low Grade: D- (MH)
Players Assigned: 7 (2 in last two years)
Players Called Up: 0
THN’s Take (by Dan Feldman, Piston Powered): Their seasoned young players remain in Detroit, and the Pistons often only trust their own coaches to work with their raw players. Not many guys fit in between, justifying few D-League assignments. It seems more one- or two-week stints would be helpful for the raw players to test Detroit’s coaches’ lessons. Also, I rarely hear about the Pistons mining the D-League for end-of-bench players. But at one point, Amir Johnson may have been the D-League’s best player of all time, so that counts for something, right?
Matt Moore’s Explanation: They’ve used it to develop guys, but it hasn’t worked out. B for effort? Besides, Bynum is arguably their best point guard.
Final Assessment: D-troit basket-ball. D-League usage. D-minus grade. The Pistons have never called up a player from the D-League. They might be deserving of a pass for their success during the early 2000s, but there’s no excuse for not testing the D-League waters last season when the team struggled. There were a record 40 call-ups last year, yet the Pistons didn’t make a single move. They have used the assignment strategy in the past and employ former D-League Rookie of the Year Will Bynum, but there’s a lot of room for improvement in their D-League usage.
I don’t think the boost for having Will Bynum is quite justified. The Pistons signed him because of his play in Israel, not the D-League.
I recommend reading the entire series at DLeagueDigest.com to see how other teams incorporate the league into their planning. I know the Pistons could do more. I’m not quite sure they should. What do you think?
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