Milwaukee’s use of the D-League

Recently, the TrueHoop Network’s D-League blog D-League Digest polled the network to see what respective blogs thought about their team’s usage of the D-League as a development tool.

As far as the Bucks are concerned, I gave them a D.  Here’s a sample of my thoughts on the matter:

It’s tough to criticize the Bucks when talking about developing young players. Brandon Jennings and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute have been getting minutes from day one as draft picks of John Hammond. But why the Bucks didn’t use the D-League more with Joe Alexander or Meeks is a curiosity.

You can read more here, but I’m now wondering if I was too harsh.

Can I blame the Bucks for wanting to keep closer tabs on their young players instead of shipping them away and hoping for more development?  Milwaukee may feel that their coaches and system can offer better development than coaches who have little to no knowledge of the Bucks system and very little at stake with the players they are receiving.

Matt Moore made the point in the review that the Bucks use the D-League as a banishment system.  When they no longer have use for a player, they ship them to the D-League, never to hear from them again.  This is obviously a nod to the Joe Alexander experience.  After proving that he knew little about playing the game of basketball in his rookie season, Alexander mysteriously broke down with an injury at the start of camp last season and then played a few games in the D-League while still on the Bucks roster before his trade to Chicago.  Milwaukee wanted no part of him and sent him away not for development, but for the sake of separation.

But they’ve had success before, albeit with a different regime.  Ramon Sessions was a star in the D-League and Ersan Ilyasova was passable in his first go-round there.  I made the point on D-League Digest that Jodie Meeks could have used some regular shots that the D-League could have provided, but he did provide the Bucks with athleticism they did not have elsewhere in the early parts of last season.  Milwaukee often sees space and use on their roster for rookies.

This coming season should be the first when they have little space and use for their second-round-pick and will be an interesting test of their faith in the D-League system.  If Darington Hobson heads down and improves, this D could improve drastically and quickly.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog

Categories: The Off Season

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