It’s been quite a season for the D-League, and amid a flurry of late-season call-ups, Washington will add one more to the list. According to Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside, the Wiz will sign Cedric Jackson of the Erie Bayhawks.
Now, Jackson is neither the most impressive D-League prospect called up this season nor the most influential, but he does represent the notion that the D-League has become a respectable outlet for rotation-caliber players, even if only as rentals. The Wizards are clearly looking to save on as much salary as possible, and the D-League offers a deep well of cheap, playable prospects that are in-rhythm and in-shape. That’s a commodity that shouldn’t be undervalued.
It won’t be, especially as teams are fretting over the possible lockout in 2011. If guys like Jackson (and Cartier Martin, who was signed by the Wiz on Tuesday) are the answer for cap-clearing teams now, think of how important they could be for teams at this time next season? Suitors wouldn’t be limited to franchises looking to keep talent in-house (San Antonio, Oklahoma City) and those on the mend (Washington), but any team looking to fill out a roster with decent talent and negligible long-term commitments.
In this way, the D-League is a valuable tool. It gives NBA teams an affordable avenue to fill rotation minutes in situations such as these, and gives good players NBA exposure. It’s been the plan all along, and the D-League’s success this year only hints at the further success to come.