How Teams Without Own Affiliates Used D-League

The disappearance of shared D-League affiliates this season shouldn’t have much of an effect, since the 13 teams that shared the Fort Wayne Mad Ants last season rarely sent players on assignment, argues Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor. The Hawks, as Reichert notes, were the exception.

Atlanta made 11 assignments to the D-League in 2014/15, more than twice as many as any other NBA franchise without a one-to-one NBA affiliate. The Raptors were next in that category, with four, but they’ve started their own D-League team for this season. Still, the Hawks aren’t strangers to the system that will govern their D-League assignments in the months ahead.

The 11 remaining NBA teams without their own D-League affiliate may assign players to the affiliates of other NBA franchises, just as the Hawks did three times last season when the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the D-League squad Atlanta shared with a dozen other NBA teams, had a full roster. The Hawks used the arrangement to find a home particularly conducive to the development of their players, as Adam Johnson of D-League Digest observes, sending Adreian Payne on two occasions to the affiliate of the Spurs. Hawks coach/executive Mike Budenholzer was a longtime assistant in San Antonio before taking the job in Atlanta, and he’s brought a similar operation with him to his new job. The Hawks also sent John Jenkins to the affiliate of the Jazz, another organization with close ties to the Spurs.

Of course, it won’t always work out that way. Not every NBA team has close similarities with another, Johnson notes. The D-League will ask for volunteers among its ranks to take NBA players on assignments, but if the affiliate that the NBA team making the assignment doesn’t raise its hand, the NBA club has to choose another volunteer or have the destination for its assigned player determined at random if no volunteers emerge.

It’s an imperfect system, but it’s the price NBA teams that haven’t invested in their own D-League outfits must pay. Of course, many of those teams figure to simply decline to participate, given their lack of D-League assignments in the past.

With an assist from the D-League Usage Reports that Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors compiled, below is a list of every D-League assignment that the 13 teams without a one-to-one D-League affiliate made last season. Those teams collectively sent players to the one-to-one affiliates of other NBA franchises on six occasions, with the Spurs taking on six such players.

Atlanta Hawks

Brooklyn Nets

Charlotte Hornets

Chicago Bulls

  • None

Denver Nuggets

Indiana Pacers (this year, they’ll have their own affiliate)

Los Angeles Clippers

Milwaukee Bucks

  • None

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • None

New Orleans Pelicans

Portland Trail Blazers

  • None

Toronto Raptors (this year, they’ll have their own affiliate)


Washington Wizards

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