Tag Archives: Indiana Pacers

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the NBA D-League

By: Zachary Bigger

NBA D-League

            Now entering its 13th season, the NBA Development League has gone through its growing pains, learned many lessons, and made great strides to become the best minor league basketball league in the world. What initially began as a vision of NBA Commissioner David Stern is becoming more and more of a reality as time progresses. However, many things have changed in the brief history of the league, some more surprising than others. Here are five things you may not know about the NBA Development League:

1.)    The League Hired the First Female Assistant and Head Coach in Men’s Professional Basketball

In the league’s first season in 2001, Stephanie Ready served as an assistant on the first ever NBA Development league championship team, the Greensville Groove. Originally an assistant for Division I men’s collegiate basketball at Coppin State, she also was the second female coach to achieve that distinction.  Bernadette Maddox broke the Division I men’s collegiate coaching barrier in 1990 under former University of Kentucky coach Rick Pitino. Ready is now a TV host and reporter for the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats.

The first female head coach of a men’s professional basketball team is Nancy Lieberman, who coached the Texas Legends to a 24-26 in their inaugural 2010 campaign and became just the third expansion team to make the playoffs in their first season. For the past two seasons, she has been the assistant general manager for the Legends.

2.)    The NBA Development League Originally Began in the Southeast

When the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) was formed in 2001, there were eight original franchises, all located in the southeastern region of the United States: the Asheville Attitude, Columbus Riverdragons, Fayetteville Patriots, Greensville Groove, Huntsville Flight, Mobile Revelers, and Roanoke Dazzle.

Today, there are no teams located in the southeastern area, all 17 teams are located throughout every major geographical region except the southwest and southeast. All of the original eight having either been moved or folded, with Asheville (Tulsa 66ers) and Columbus (Austin Toros) still operating in the league today.

NBA D-League 2013-2014 Map

3.) The 2012-2013 Season Marked the Last NBA Team to Send a Player Down on Assignment

Last year with the Indiana Pacers sending Miles Plumlee and Orlando Johnson to Fort Wayne for D-League assignment meant that all 30 NBA teams have sent a player on assignment since the league began instituting the assignment system prior to the 2005-2006 season. It was a major step towards seeing ever NBA team investing into the system, which will be essential to D-League President Dan Reed’s long term vision of a full 30 team minor league down the road.

4.)    Several NBA D-League Teams Have Built Their Own Arena

What originally was a rarity in minor league basketball is beginning to become a trend, especially in the D-League. Santa Cruz (Kaiser Permanente Arena), Sioux Falls (Sanford Sports Pentagon) and Bakersfield (Dignity Health Center) all constructing their own arenas in the past four years. This is important because it gives hope to mid-level markets who may not have a professional sports arena to obtain a D-League team already in place or may be chosen for expansion in the future.

5.) The NBA D-League Games Were Originally Broadcast on ESPN2 & Fox Sports Net South

When the league began play in 2001, it signed two different TV contracts: the first on January 3, 2001 with ESPN for a 24 game package beginning with opening night and continuing through the regular season. The second with Fox Sports Net South on July 25, 2001 was for a multi-year agreement that would broadcast 19 games in the inaugural season. Fast forwarding to today, the league games are now simulcast online on YouTube and NBA Center Court app and on TV with CBS Sports Network and NBA TV.

NBA Draft: Who each Mad Ant affiliate could pick

Which players are going to get a shot at fulfilling their dreams? Find out tonight by watching the NBA Draft, starting at 7 ET on ESPN.

Which players are going to get a shot at fulfilling their dreams? Find out tonight by watching the NBA Draft, starting at 7:30 PM ET on ESPN.

The NBA Draft is tonight, and that means that the Mad Ants’ four affiliates, the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Bobcats, and Detroit Pistons, have decisions to make on the futures of their franchises. Some of these guys they draft will most definitely get starting time in some capacity on those teams. Other guys that could get drafted may not see time with their respective NBA franchise. Instead, they may end up with the Mad Ants.

Here is a look at some players that each team could draft.

Indiana Pacers

For the Pacers’ first pick, Kelly Olynyk, who played power forward/center at Gonzaga, is high on their interest list, according to IndyCornrows.com, a Pacers blog on SBNation.com. He has a specialty as a big man who can shoot from the perimeter, is versatile, can score with his back to the basket, is an efficient scorer, and is a good hustle player, especially on offense. He could be that extra big man that can help Roy Hibbert by adding his three point expertise. However, he’ll have to work on improving his strength and toughness, rebounding ability, and cut down on turnovers, as he averaged 2.4 a game.

The Pacers are also considering four others for their first draft pick. They are Isaiah Canaan, Shane Larkin, Dennis Schroeder, and Giannis Adetokunbo, according to IndyCornrows.com. Canaan, Larkin, or Schroeder could help the Pacers solve their issues at point guard, as D.J. Augustin struggled during the season, forcing George Hill to play more minutes. Either of those three could be a solid backup and help take some of the offensive burden off Hill.

Tony Snell out of New Mexico could be a possible second round draft pick for the Pacers, as they need a shooting guard to help complement Lance Stephenson. He has that outside shooting stroke the Pacers could use in their offense. Snell will have to work on becoming more aggressive and take the ball to the hoop. According to DraftExpress, he tends to be more of a catch-and-shoot type of player, and by working on taking the ball to the rim and becoming more assertive, he will be able to take the next step and become a solid shooter in the NBA.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks were lucky that the Eastern Conference wasn’t that strong last season, as they got an eighth seed in the playoffs and a sweep by the champion Miami Heat. They’ll have much to do this off-season to improve their team. First, they’ll need to start at point guard since Brandon Jennings is a restricted free agent, and he may not be around next season, and is streaky at best. At the 15 seed, the Bucks have a number of options they could choose from. Shane Larkin is high on their list for a point guard. He could bring a sense of consistency to the role, as well as a high work rate and focus to the team, according to BrewHoop.com. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dennis Schroeder could also be in contention for the Bucks’ first pick.

As for the second pick, the Bucks could take someone like Allan Crabbe from Cal, who brings another shooting presence to help fill in for Monte Ellis leaving. He would help the Bucks address their backcourt issues. He brings a strong shot ability, as he can shoot over defenders and brings that unselfishness that could help the Bucks, and is 53.8% from the floor when he’s unguarded.

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons haven’t been the team they used to be in recent years, but they have some players to build around with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Their needs will likely center around finding more playmakers and outside shooters. Some possible candidates for Detroit include Victor Oladipo from Indiana, Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams, or C.J. McCollum from LeHigh, according to the Pistons’ NBA Draft page.

DeShaun Thomas from Ohio State could be seen as a second round draft pick, as rated by CBS Sports. He does bring a great shooting ability to the team, and can do it anywhere on the court. Rebounding is an issue there, and he will need to work on improving in that category.

Charlotte Bobcats

The Bobcats need a lot of help, and as one of the worst teams in the draft, they’ll get to be one of the first picks. Look for anyone like Ben Mclemore of Kansas or Nerlens Noel of Kentucky, or even Cody Zeller of Indiana to be on the Bobcats’ list. Once that first pick is taken care of, they’ll need to look for anything they can get.

This year’s draft should be a good one, with talent all across the board. Tune in at 7:30 PM ET on ESPN.

Feel free to comment with any of your draft predictions for these teams or the overall draft.