The NBA conducted its Development League (D-League) Draft on Friday, with ten rounds of both some veteran players like Smush Parker seeking a home on an NBA bench, and some fresh faces from the College ranks that just missed catching the brass ring in the main NBA Draft. About a third of the NBA's benches are occupied by players with D-League pedigrees.
You can see the full results, along with a great article by Sam Amico, at SZ.
The Draft was the eighth that the D-League has conducted, and its biggest, as the league expanded again this year, with more teams making one-on-one deals to develop players exclusively for their club, rather than share a bench between two or three clubs. It would seem that Commissioner Stern's vision for a more stable proving ground post-college that doesn't require players to travel to Turkey to get pro time in is slowly coming to fruition.
More could be done though. Combining the draft into one larger event, as MLB and the NHL do, then assigning certain players out of the major league camp to the minor league club, would help streamline the talent acquisition process, get more people talking about players going into development, and would further legitimize the minor league. For many years the NBA has not bucked the NCAA as the developmental grounds for hoops, but, as with most sports, there are both players who have no business being in college, and players whose maturity level through four years of development did not quite get them to the peak of performance, either due to injury or lack of opportunity in their program.
The D-League teams stretch from Anaheim to Erie, PA this year. The stadiums aren't packed like the big league, but the level of play is excellent. There is no tomorrow for players who have an NBA sanctioned pedigree, and often play in the same venues at earlier times, so they play at a level that is more intense than college, and often times has more hustle than a good chunk of the NBA regular season.