While many of the well-publicized changes to the new collective bargaining agreement relate to the salary cap and luxury tax, the post-lockout CBA also features a number of modifications to the relationship between the NBA and the D-League. With more flexible regulations for D-League assignments in effect this season, a record 52 players have been assigned to the D-League so far.
For veterans such as Amare Stoudemire or Kawhi Leonard, those assignments were simply for injury rehab purposes, and didn't last long. But for many young players, the D-League has provided an opportunity to earn the kind of minutes they wouldn't be seeing for their NBA teams.
One example of how that opportunity is paying off came earlier this week, when the D-League announced its All-Star rosters. Three of the players on the rosters (Jeremy Lamb, Cory Joseph, and Terrence Jones) were on assignments from their respective NBA teams, while another D-League All-Star, Shelvin Mack, is currently playing for the 76ers.
Here's a look at a few players on NBA rosters who have played at least 10 D-League games this year and are making an impact for their respective affiliates:
- Terrence Jones (Rio Grande Valley Vipers): While the Rockets are still waiting to see Royce White on the court, Jones, the player selected two spots after White in the 2012 draft, is averaging nearly 20 and 10 in the D-League. Jones' 19.7 PPG and 9.6 RPG (in 14 contests) both rank among the league leaders, and coming into today, the Vipers had won the last seven games in which Jones played.
- Cory Joseph (Austin Toros): A second-year guard, Joseph has played more minutes for the Toros this year than he has in total for the Spurs since being selected 29th overall in 2011. So far this season, he's been one of the D-League's most effective scorers, averaging 19.8 PPG in 19 contests, aided by a .458 3PT%.
- Jeremy Lamb (Tulsa 66ers): The 12th overall pick last June, Lamb may be viewed as a core asset for the Thunder down the road, but for now he's seeing the majority of his minutes in Tulsa, and making the most of them. In 14 D-League games, he has averaged 21.1 PPG on .462/.356/.915 shooting.
- Miles Plumlee (Fort Wayne Mad Ants): Plumlee has barely seen the floor this season in Indiana, appearing briefly in just three games since November 18th. But in the D-League, he's one of only a handful of players averaging a double-double, with 12.3 PPG and 11.1 RPG to go along with 1.9 BPG in 13 games. Of course, there's still plenty for Plumlee to work on while he's in Fort Wayne, such as his abysmal 43.8% mark from the free-throw line.
- Honorable mentions: Kevin Jones (23.0 PPG, 12.6 RPG in seven games), Perry Jones III (14.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG), Scott Machado (11.4 PPG, 6.6 APG), Quincy Miller (12.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG)