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On the NBA Beat Ep. 2.12: Chris Reichert: NBA Teams “Looking for Rotational Role Players” in D-League

Chris Reichert of FanSided Network’s The Step Back visits to tell us everything we need to know about the D-League. The league expert explains the expected impact of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on the NBA’s official minor-league basketball organization, the league’s top prospects and how it has served as a laboratory for testing potential NBA rule changes. Also, what is an ambitious basketball coach’s best friend? Not a dog, bur rather a coaching stint in the D-League. Reichert is teeming with fascinating material, including how wing Jonathon Simmons went from paying $150 to try out for a D-League team to earning a key role playing for one of the greatest organizations in all of professional sports, the San Antonio Spurs. Check out some of Reichert’s rubies below:

1:34-3:28 Reichert on how the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will affect the D-League players: “They’re adding two roster spots to every NBA team and those are going to be two-way contracts, probably for fringe [NBA] players…they want to keep their rights but they really want to develop them in the D-League. Those players are going to be paid a little more. They’ll get 50,00 to 75,000. It opens up 60 additional roster spots for players, which is another great thing for D-League guys, fringe guys looking to make rosters and get an opportunity…The NBA minimums have come up 45 to 50 percent…which is going to help D-League players, because the 10-day contracts come January are based off the minimum salaries for however many years a player has in the NBA…They helped about a fifth of them, which I guess is a start, but hopefully, eventually we’ll get higher contracts across the board in the D-League.”

5:39-6:32 on the D-League as a test lab for the NBA: “I think it’s really smart. It’s a good way to gauge…what kind of effect these changes are going to have on overall gameplay and fan experience. They have a coach’s challenge in the D-League that can be used in the fourth quarter or overtime. That’s something the NBA does not have and they’ve been experimenting with it. This is the second season…They used to also use the FIBA goaltending rule, where you can hit the ball off the rim…Another thing that might actually get implemented in the NBA that they’re using this year is on offensive rebounds, the shot clock goes to 14…It keeps the game flow going, forces the offense to maybe make a faster decision on their second possession.”

7:32-7:43: ”We’re at 22 right now…In four seasons max, every team is going to have its own affiliate.”

12:14-13:59: “One guy that people haven’t heard of that is really good is Kevin Murphy. He went to Tennessee Tech so you wouldn’t have known him from college most likely. He’s 26, about 6-5 or 6-6, plays on the wing, and can really light it up…Chris Evans is another one. He went to Kent State. He’s a 6-8 forward, he’s 25, plays for Canton…Both of them spent a couple years overseas, and now they’re getting close to that basketball prime. They’re trying to make that push for a chance to make an NBA roster.”

14:09–14:21: “Scoring a ton is great, but his [Pierre Jackson’s] efficiency has been just ridiculous. He’s shooting over 50 percent from the floor, over 40 percent from 3, and like 85 percent from the free-throw line. He’s dangerous right now.”

16:41-16:52: “I’m really happy for Sean [Kilpatrick]. He’s a really good guy. I interviewed him a couple years ago when he was in the D-League, and you could just tell he didn’t want to be overseas playing. He wanted to be in the NBA, and he was gonna ride this thing out until he got a chance.”

20:08-20:34: “I really thought the Heat would keep Briante Weber over [Rodney] McGruder, and I was really pleased when they kept McGruder instead. I love Briante Weber, but McGruder’s really playing well, and I think he’s playing like 25, 26 minutes a night for them. His stats aren’t gaudy by any means, but he’s coming in to hit open shots and play defense. And that’s what I think NBA teams are looking for in the D-League. They’re looking for rotational role players. It’s very rare that you’re gonna find Hassan Whiteside in the D-League.”

22:28-22:47: “I think he’s [Gary Payton II’s] really athletic and he plays very, very good defense for a 6-3 guard. I think the issue with Payton is he doesn’t have a position, which isn’t too big of an issue in the position-less NBA that we’re going to. But he’s not a great shooter, and he’s not particularly fast with the ball in his hands either.”

29:23-29:45: “The coach aspect is big. It’s another one I think some fans overlook. Earl Watson, who’s the head coach of Phoenix, was an assistant coach for the Austin Spurs two years ago, and now he’s a head coach in the NBA. It’s happening for coaches too, so it’s a cool thing. I think 12 head coaches in the D-League got NBA jobs this past offseason. There were only 19 teams last year, so 12 of the 19 got promoted.”

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod