G League benefits players, coaches and staff alike
At the start of the 2017-18 NBA season, a record 167 players in the NBA – 38% of the league – had NBA G League experience. The NBA G League became known for its player development and growth opportunities – and for good reason. In addition to the on-court advancements players make, the G League allows them a taste of the NBA lifestyle with practice, gameplay, travel and all other elements that make up the day-to-day life of an NBA player.
“Coming out of college, it gave me the opportunity to learn under NBA coaches at NBA arenas and learn from guys that are NBA players,” said Tim Frazier, former D League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year and current member of the Washington Wizards. “It gave me the opportunity to play and understand where I am and what I need to do to get better.”
As one of the most successful G League Call-Ups ever, Frazier understands the benefits of diverse experience before arriving in the NBA.
“You’re getting prepared for what an NBA lifestyle is,” Frazier said. “That’s what benefitted me the most.”
However, the developmental benefits of the G League are hardly limited to the players.
“It’s not only for the players, but the coaches also,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “It gives the coaches a great opportunity and a great platform to get better at what they do. It’s a big step moving over a seat or two. If you’re behind the bench in the NBA or you go to the G League and coach on the bench, it’s an adjustment. But it’s an important development for all coaches to go through.”
According to the G League official website, 29 former NBA G League coaches have been hired by NBA teams in the last three seasons alone. Three current NBA head coaches spent time on the G League sidelines: Dave Joerger (Sacramento Kings), Quin Snyder (Utah Jazz) and Luke Walton (Los Angeles Lakers). Joerger (Dakota Wizards, 2007) and Snyder (Austin Toros, 2008) both led teams to the NBA G League Finals, with Joerger winning a title.
Those who have spent time in the league, both as players or coaches, credit the G League with pushing them to their limits, testing their will and weeding out the prospects that truly want to realize their NBA dream more than anything else.
“It’s not an easy life,” Brooks said. “You have to be able to be dedicated to the game because you don’t make a lot of money. You don’t travel in luxury.”
The addition of a local G League affiliate presents the Wizards organization and the Washington, D.C. community as a whole all these same opportunities, providing a new outlet for player, coach and staff development, as well as a new entertainment experience for D.C.’s dedicated basketball fanbase.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for our organization and our fans to see the growth of our team through the G League,” Brooks said.