A New Era Begins for the NBDL

A New Era Begins for the NBDL
Nov 04, 2005, 07:33 pm
The National Basketball Association’s Developmental League held its draft on Thursday night, marking the beginning of a new dawn for the league. As part of an agreement made with the new collective bargaining agreement, eligible players from NBA teams can be allocated to the NBDL for development. The first draft under this new system was not only a bumpy start for the leagues, but also could be a sign of rough waters ahead.

Under the new partnership, each of the 8 NBDL teams have either three or four NBA teams that players can be assigned to. Assigned players must have less than two years of experience in the upper league, and NBA teams can only send two players down, for a maximum of three assignments each within a season. Independent players are drafted into the D-league, and must compete with the NBA players for playing time. To be eligible for NBDL draft, the players had to sign a general contract which enabled them to be part of the draft. Players with NBDL contracts must pay a buyout (rumored to be around $25,000 last year) if they were to leave midseason for an opportunity to play in Europe. From what we've been told by agents with clients in the NBDL, salaries in the D-League range from $12,000 to $27,000 per season. Of the 10 players on every NBDL roster, two will reportedly make $27,000, two will make $18,000, and the other six will make $12,000. NBA players that are assigned to the D-league will be paid by their NBA teams according to the contracts they signed with them, making their paydays at least 15 times as much as the highest paid non-NBA developmental league players.

Consisting of 10 rounds, the 8 teams selected players in the NBDL draft yesterday through a conference call. Only the teams had the lists of players available to be drafted, making each pick a mystery.

The NBDL draft kicked off with the selection of guard Andre Barrett. The Seton Hall product was selected by the Florida Flame, the affiliate of the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Orlando Magic. The draft became interesting as it progressed, not only because of the large number of mishaps, but also because the potential for failure of the system became apparent. The mistakes made during the draft were often comedic. The Tulsa 66ers selected George Otis in the 5th round, which created a moment of confusion until it was pointed out that his name is Otis George. Mustafa Al-Sayaad was a hot commodity, his name was not only called in the 2nd round, but another team decided to try and draft him again in the 4th round. The top comedy award for the night belonged to the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, who may have scribbled their draft list onto a napkin minutes before the draft. They attempted to draft Jared Mcneil and Matt Nielsen in the second round, but discovered that neither was eligible and had to settle for Marcus Taylor. Lasting around 2 and a half hours, the draft offered a nice combination of suspense and humor.

The potential problem with the NBDL serving as a minor league stems from the perceived lack of control over the minor league teams given to the affiliates. The personnel for NBA teams could have no control over their players' minutes or roles on the team, which may deter general managers from sending players down. Kevin McHale of the Timberwolves became the first executive to use the D-league, announcing that center Dwayne Jones and guard Bracey Wright would be sent to the Florida Flame. Despite going to an easier league, Jones and Wright will still battle for playing time. Wright, a combo guard, will fight for minutes with the 3 point guards (including the #1 overall pick Andre Barrett) and 2 shooting guards drafted by the Flame, and Jones will battle two other centers. In addition, the other affiliates of the Flame have yet to announce if any NBA players look to join Jones and Wright. Some GMs have already expressed refusal to send players to the NBDL due to the lack of control over development. It will be interesting to see how the Flame coaching staff handles distributing the minutes and roles between the NBA rookies and sophomores with NBA contracts and the true NBDL players who were drafted or allocated into the league. The new affiliation among the NBA teams and NBDL is a step in the right direction, but kinks must be worked out if the potential of this good idea is to be maximized.

The players will gather on Sunday, November 6th for training camp in their new NBDL cities that will last until the 17th. Approximately 16-17 players will participate in training camp--the team rosters will eventually be cut down to 10. The NBDL players drafted yesterday will be joined by additional players who have been allocated already to certain teams based off where they grew up or went to college. Keith Langford for example will be playing for the Fort Worth team, close to his hometown of Houston. Olu Famutimi will remain in Arkansas close to where he went to school, and John Lucas will do the same in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Open tryouts for interested players are also being conducted by teams to supplement the training camp rosters.

Results of 2005 NBDL Draft:

1. Florida Flame: Andre Barrett
2. Fayetteville Patriots: Nigel Dixon
3. Fort Worth Flyers: Ime Udoka
4. Arkansas Rimrockers: Harvey Thomas
5. Roanoke Dazzle: Will Bynum
6. Albuquerque Thunderbirds: Chuck Hayes
7. Tulsa 66ers: Bernard King
8. Austin Toros: Jamar Smith


1. Florida Flame: Ricky Shields
2. Fayetteville Patriots: Erik Daniels
3. Fort Worth Flyers: Luke Schenscher
4. Arkansas Rimrockers: James Lang
5. Roanoke Dazzle: Jeremy McNeil
6. Albuquerque Thunderbirds: Marcus Taylor
7. Tulsa 66ers: Mustafa Al-Sayaad
8. Austin Toros: Ezra Williams


1. Florida Flame: Kyle Bailey
2. Fayetteville Patriots: Norm Richardson
3. Fort Worth Flyers: Vonteego Cummings
4. Arkansas Rimrockers: Myron Allen
5. Roanoke Dazzle: Andreas Glyniadakis
6. Albuquerque Thunderbirds: Ken Johnson
7. Tulsa 66ers: Desmon Farmer
8. Austin Toros: Jeff Hagen


1. Florida Flame: Jonathan Moore
2. Fayetteville Patriots: Robb Dryden
3. Fort Worth Flyers: Ayudeji Akindele
4. Arkansas Rimrockers: Adam Sonn
5. Roanoke Dazzle: Anthony Grundy
6. Albuquerque Thunderbirds: T.J. Cummings
7. Tulsa 66ers: Otis George
8. Austin Toros: Ryan Forehan-Kelly


1. Florida Flame: George Leach
2. Fayetteville Patriots: Mark Karcher
3. Fort Worth Flyers: Brandon Robinson
4. Arkansas Rimrockers: Ed McCants
5. Roanoke Dazzle: Nick Billings
6. Albuquerque Thunderbirds: Cory Hightower
7. Tulsa 66ers: Seamus Boxley
8. Austin Toros: Neil Fingleton


1. Florida Flame: E.J. Rowland
2. Fayetteville Patriots: Darnell Miller
3. Fort Worth Flyers: Alejandro Carmona
4. Arkansas Rimrockers: Chris Shumate
5. Roanoke Dazzle: Nate Daniels
6. Albuquerque Thunderbirds: Chet Mason
7. Tulsa 66ers: Will Conroy
8. Austin Toros: Marcus Moore


1. Florida Flame: Romel Beck
2. Fayetteville Patriots: Roderick Riley
3. Fort Worth Flyers: Daryl Dorsey
4. Arkansas Rimrockers: Jamario Moon
5. Roanoke Dazzle: Dan Miller
6. Albuquerque Thunderbirds: Josh Moore
7. Tulsa 66ers: Jerry Dupree
8. Austin Toros: Ben Adams


1. Florida Flame: Anwar Ferguson
2. Fayetteville Patriots: Anthony Coleman
3. Fort Worth Flyers: Charles Hanks
4. Arkansas Rimrockers: Brandon Freeman
5. Roanoke Dazzle: Jermaine Bell
6. Albuquerque Thunderbirds: Kevin Frey
7. Tulsa 66ers: Cezary Trybanski
8. Austin Toros: Ray Young


1. Florida Flame: Josh Gross
2. Fayetteville Patriots: Steven Barber
3. Fort Worth Flyers: Paul Pardue
4. Arkansas Rimrockers: Jitim Young
5. Roanoke Dazzle: Drew Woods
6. Albuquerque Thunderbirds: Yuta Tabuse
7. Tulsa 66ers: Paul Marigney
8. Austin Toros: Corey Williams


1. Florida Flame: Torrian Jones
2. Fayetteville Patriots: Carlos Hurt
3. Fort Worth Flyers: Anthony Wilkins
4. Arkansas Rimrockers: Leonard Mosely
5. Roanoke Dazzle: Malik Moore
6. Albuquerque Thunderbirds: Greg Jefferson
7. Tulsa 66ers: Rasheim Wright
8. Austin Toros: Anthony Lever-Pedrosa

The official website of the NBDL can be found at

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