People were mystified when the Bobcats canceled their summer league team last year. That team, with nothing but big, bad contracts for middle-age (NBA-wise) players needed to develop their young guys more than anyone. But owner Bob Johnson was feeling the hammer of the economy and the Cats just couldn’t justify the expense. There were some that even contended it was a logical move, given that Larry Brown isn’t exactly the most pro-rook guy out there.
Summer League is becoming more important every year, as the league becomes smarter about player development. Players are making teams off their summer-league performance more than ever, and often teams will ask players to join their D-League affiliates to keep them in their systems throughout the season. Curtis Jerrells was signed by D-League and assigned to the Toros after a considerable bonus for his Summer League work, then called-up last week, given a big league contract, and assigned back to Austin again, effectively rewarding him for his investment in the system.
The Bobcats’ core is built to win now, in order to establish something resembling a winning culture. Eventually, though, they’ll have to invest in the future. Starting work with their summer league team is a good place to start.