Solomon Alabi was among a notable class of second rounders in the 2010 draft, but his NBA career will be put on pause after just 18 seconds of action. The Toronto Raptors announced that they have assigned Alabi to their D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, and it’s a move that certainly makes sense for all parties.
While the Raps could theoretically use a player like Alabi at center, he’s far too unpolished and inexperienced to provide much help to the current core. Sadly, even Toronto’s current group of slow-rotating, weak-rebounding, outside-in big men are more effective than a rookie center project. I like Alabi’s chances of becoming a productive NBA player eventually, but he needs extended burn and specific instruction to improve his NBA effectiveness, and that’s just what he’ll receive in Erie. As icing on the cake, Alabi will now be the only player on the BayHawks’ roster designated as a center. Head coach Jay Larranaga will benefit from Alabi’s length just as much as Alabi benefits from seeing some actual playing time, though Toronto hopes to benefit most from all of this.
Also, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, Alabi may not be the only Raptor on the BayHawks’ roster. Smith reports that rookie first rounder Ed Davis will likely be sent to Erie while he works his way back from knee surgery, a strategy that more NBA teams would be wise to employ. The D-League isn’t only a great place to send fringe NBA talent or projects. It can also be an invaluable tool for rehabbing players, although currently it can only be used for those within their first thee years in the NBA. The D-League is a terrific option for younger players trying to improve their conditioning and timing after surgery or major injury, so kudos to the Raps for taking full advantage of the D’s offerings.