Changes in D-League allocation rules give affiliates impressive new utility

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Last season set an impressive standard for NBA-D-League relations, but a change in the D-League’s allocation rules has reinforced those bonds with steel…or at least some strengthening putty, or something.

According to Scott Schroeder of NBA FanHouse, the D-League’s new rules allow each NBA team to designate up to three of their final training camp cuts as candidates for their D-League affiliate team. As long as the selected players agree to sign the standard D-League contract (as opposed to going for a bigger payday overseas), this rule affords NBA teams added influence in the roster construction of their D-League counterparts. From Schroeder’s report:

“The new allocation process is a big change and it will alter our
league drastically,” said one D-League coach, speaking to FanHouse on
the condition of anonymity as the rule change has not yet been
officially announced by the league. “Very often, the best players in
the D-League attended training camp with an NBA team. It’s great from
an NBA team’s perspective since the players they like, and want a
longer look at, can stay with their affiliates.”

…”For the D-League, allocation now becomes as much or more important
than the draft,” the coach continued. “Teams that have a close NBA
affiliation will have an advantage year in and year out, but if your
affiliate NBA teams have open roster spots in a given year, they will
attract some of the best available free agents so there can be a lot of
luck involved.”

The previous allocation rule, as Schroeder noted, was rooted in marketability rather than practicality. In an effort to increase interest in the D-League and bump ticket sales, players were allocated by “local significance.” It’s an understandable and straightforward way to bump the bottom line, but now NBA teams have more reason than ever to utilize the D-League and an extremely convenient way in which to do so.

Under the new framework, NBA teams can flag the fringe roster candidates they find the most intriguing, and keep a close eye on those prospects’ progress while instructing D-League coaches to focus on specific aspects of their development. That’s power.

Previously, some NBA teams may have been skeptical of the D-League’s benefit due to the lack of customization in their affiliate’s roster, but the evolution of the D-League’s rulebook has made the D an increasingly valuable part of savvy team-building strategy.

Watch Nowitzki pass Wilt Chamberlain for 6th on NBA scoring list

Associated Press
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DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks became the NBA’s sixth-leading scorer Monday night with another of his signature long-range jumpers.

Nowitzki took Luka Doncic‘s handoff and backed down New Orleans’ Kenrich Williams before hitting a turnaround from the top of the free-throw circle with 8:33 left in the first quarter.

The basket brought Nowitzki to 31,420 points in his career, one more than Wilt Chamberlain. The 40-year-old German trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan. James passed Jordan for fourth place on March 6.

Coming into the game, Nowitzki needed just four points to pass Chamberlain, and he started for just the ninth time this season. His first basket was a 20-footer off an assist from rookie Jalen Brunson.

While Nowitzki stands only an inch shorter than Chamberlain’s listed height of 7-foot-1, the two reached their point totals with contrasting styles of play.

Chamberlain once averaged more than 50 points in a season, dominating inside to such a degree that the NBA widened the paint in an effort to neutralize him.

Nowitzki, meanwhile, has made nearly 2,000 3-pointers in his career, establishing the trend of big men with long-range shooting capabilities. He’s an 88-percent free-throw shooter, 37 points higher than Chamberlain’s mark.

“One of his real legacies is gonna be how he helped this game evolve to what it is today,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “In the ’90s and early 2000s, there was a real crisis. Scoring was down. The way Dirk approached the game helped … nudge the game along and open up space. Eventually the value of the 3-point shot to open up space became a reality. And so today, you don’t hear anybody talking about how there’s not enough scoring or the game’s not exciting.”

Nowitzki is 872 points behind Jordan but may retire at the end of the season, though he has said he will decide on his future when the season is over. He is the only player in NBA history to play 21 seasons with one team.

Nowitzki missed the first 26 games of the season recovering from left ankle surgery and has been reduced to a role player for much of the year, but he has started the past four games and nine out of the last 12 for the Mavs. His season high entering Monday was 15 points.

 

Stephen Curry is hitting ridiculous shots. Again. Including 3/4 court shot to end quarter.

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Stephen Curry is a show unto himself.

Before the game, Curry was doing this during warmups.

Then at the end of the first quarter came this.

The man is worth the price of admission, even when the Warriors struggle (which they did in the second quarter of this game and the Spurs took a comfortable lead).

Isaiah Thomas gets choked up after tribute video, welcome back from Boston fans

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Isaiah Thomas is still loved in Boston.

He’s the undersized hero who played like an MVP, led the Celtics to the playoffs, all while playing through hip pain and the death of his sister. He embodied what Celtics fans want to see in their stars.

Monday night he returned — in a Denver Nuggets uniform — and IT became emotional during the tribute video and reception from the fans in Boston.

There was more love when Thomas checked into the game.

Next season hopefully Thomas is fully healthy for an entire season and lands in a place where he can truly showcase his talents.

Isaiah Thomas not happy to be benched in Denver, still working to find way back

Associated Press
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Isaiah Thomas is frustrated and nobody can blame him.

Just a couple of seasons back he was fifth in the MVP voting and was lined up for a “back up the Brink’s truck” payday, but he tried to play through a hip injury that eventually required surgery and nobody stepped up with a payday. This season in Denver, on a one-year minimum contract, he was given plenty of time to get his body right, but when he came back he wasn’t helping a team thinking deep playoff run. Thomas averaged 8.6 points a night but is shooting 27.3% from three (where he takes 44% of his shot attempts), and even when he gets to the rim he’s only finishing 50% of his attempts. Coach Mike Malone couldn’t keep Monte Morris — who is a Most Improved Player candidate with his play this year — on the bench while Thomas worked things out, and IT has been moved out of the rotation.

That doesn’t mean he took the news well. From Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

It’s very possible we’ve seen peak Thomas. That doesn’t mean most of the NBA is rooting to be proved wrong on that — I’m among many who want to see him succeed.

Hopefully next season he lands somewhere and really gets that chance. Denver became too good too fast to really be that place for him this season.