The NBA is looking to continue to build the D-Leauge, and they’re getting closer to that goal, as more teams are getting added, per the latest announcement. During the 2016-17 season, there will be 22 teams competing, per Jeff Zilgitt of USA Today Sports.
Starting with eight teams 15 years ago, there are now 19 teams and that number will increase to 22 for the 2016-17, adding new teams in Greensboro (Charlotte Hornets), Brooklyn (Nets) and Hoffman Estates, Ill. (Chicago Bulls).
“This first year has been validating the very unique growth opportunity I always thought existed with the D-League and really one of the drivers for why I was so excited to come on board,” D-League president Malcolm Turner said as he starts his second season in charge.
There are already teams lining up to add more, including the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets “in the next few years.”
And, it’s only a matter of time before every NBA franchise has an affiliate, according to Turner:
“All those NBA teams who currently don’t have a D-League team, we’re in active conversations with all of them,” Turner said. “Each team is at varying stages in terms of interest, and we’re trying to prioritize actionable interest and opportunities we can act on now. …
Players such as Clint Capela, Hassan Whiteside and Draymond Green spent time in the D-Leagues and their parent organizations prospered as a result. It gives players a chance to learn and grow on the court, getting opportunities for playing time they couldn’t get in the NBA.
Eventually, it should be the similar to baseball, where the D-League is used to develop players. Hey, maybe that’s why the “D” stands for “development.”