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Detroit Pistons receive D-plus for D-League usage

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?


  • Sep 6, 20108:04 pm
    by gmehl1977


    I can’t believe this is even worth talking about Dan. I know the team is a mess but i would say the reason we don’t use the D-league is the fact that we have 2 units (starters & bench) players that are ok. Neither group stands out amongst the pack and neither are that bad which leads me to believe that unless there is a game changing player that is to be had from the D-league then we would just be adding another average player to an average line up. I mean if you are a contender and you need a hustle type guy then yeah the D-league is great way to add a hungry guy with a lot to prove. I guess you have the other side of the equation where Golden State has done well and added a couple of guys from the D-league. They however lost so many players that they really had no choice.
    Finally on a funny note, i guess Joe would only add a SG or a SF just to annoy us sad and sorry piston fans.

  • Sep 6, 201011:06 pm
    by nuetes


    I wouldn’t say it’s not worth discussing. I can’t imagine Daye wouldn’t have benefited by seeing consistent minutes last season, regardless of the opposing competition. Some of these guys are pretty raw. White and Daye are still raw. Summers on the other hand seems to be what he is. Amir Johnson and Bynum are the two case studies. It does go to show how weak the d-league is when Amir Johnson can tear it up like he did, and that is maybe a deterrent. Thabeet also tore the d-league up a bit when he was sent down last year after stinking up the joint in the NBA. It’s hard to assess the talent when those kind of things happen. When a player is especially raw with many things to work on I think the d-league can be beneficial. Talent has come from the d-league so ignoring it as an avenue to improve a roster altogether isn’t the wisest decision.

  • Sep 6, 201011:15 pm
    by Stephen


    To really get any benefits from sending a player to the D-League,having your own coach teaching your system and making sure the player works on what you want him to work on seems essential.

  • Sep 7, 201012:56 am
    by Patrick Hayes



    It’s absolutely worth talking about. It’s not just a matter of looking for talent in the D-League, it’s a matter of using it to develop the young players who are already on your roster. As Nuetes says, players like White and Daye would both benefit from occasional D-League assignments to simply get some minutes every couple weeks, very similar to what OKC did with BJ Mullens last year. It gives the young guys a chance to be around, practice with, and learn from the veterans a majority of their time while also getting a chance to get extended minutes and test what they are learning every three weeks or so.

  • Sep 7, 201012:58 am
    by Patrick Hayes



    There are teams that do this. Not sure why the Pistons haven’t developed the reputation with their affiliate, but the Lakers D-League affiliate, for example, runs the triangle offense. I think the D-League teams are very willing to work with their NBA partners b/c getting NBA talent assigned there benefits that team by getting better attendance if the assignee is a notable young player, and it also helps them win more games since it is an influx of talent. I would assume the D-League teams would do just about anything the NBA club told them to.

  • Sep 8, 20102:15 am
    by gmehl1977


    Yeah i was only refering to D-League usage for acquiring players not developing players. Looking at it that way yeah guys like Daye, Summers & White would definately benefit from having stints there to get there confidence and fitness up. With the areas of need that we have (C, PF & PG) we are not really going to find a guy that is going to contribute that much. One thing i must admit though is that you would think that Joe would of used it more than he has. We all know that he is great at finding talent in guys that no body wants.

  • Sep 8, 201012:41 pm
    by Patrick Hayes


    I would actually prefer they start looking at Europe more. I think there are some really good players — American and European — who could help teams, understand how to be role players and be cost effective.

    Will Bynum is a great example of a guy who got significantly better playing overseas. Anthony Parker is another — that guy would be a good role player on any team.

  • Jan 10, 20125:46 pm
    by chester michalski


    all i have to say is what is why have a d-league team if you are not going to use the guys, why would you want to be on a team that will never call you up. thanks chet

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