When the Nets announced the addition of their own, personal D-League affiliate earlier this season, that was a step in the right direction. A franchise that usually has things backwards was finally trending toward the same place the league was. It was smart, and the Nets seemed like they were becoming a little more innovative than we thought they could be.
That being said, with the existence of the Long Island Nets has to come a change in philosophy for a franchise that has rarely taken advantage of the D-League opportunities afforded to them in the past. NetsDaily argues that exact point:
The numbers tell the story: A NetsDaily survey found that no Nets player ever spent more than 10 continuous days on the Springfield roster, and that player was Jordan Williams in the first year of the hybrid deal. Only three roster players –Williams, Tyshawn Taylor and Toko Shengelia — spent any time down on the farm and the latter two were yo-yo'ed between the Nets and Armor. Ten times, Shengelia, the better NBA prospect, was sent down, but stayed in Springfield for less than three days six times. Only once did the two stay more than a week. Then they were traded. Marquis Teague, Taylor's replacement, was never sent down. Nor was Jorge Gutierrez.
Over three years, Nets roster players averaged only 23 player/days per year in Springfield. Of the D-League clubs with single affiliates, only the Erie Bayhawks, the Knicks affiliate, had fewer assignments with 22. Compare that 23-day number to those teams who've had the most success with the D-League. On average, the Spurs sent their players down to Austin for 66.7 days a year during that three year period; the Thunder 79.7 and the Rockets led the league with 142 days!
Only two Armor players eventually graduated to the big club, Dennis Horner and Jerry Smith and both of those were while the team was in New Jersey. The Nets traded Williams, Taylor and Shengelia and didn't resign Horner or Smith. Willie Reed did develop in Springfield but two other teams called him up before the Nets signed him. And he hasn't played for any of the three clubs yet.