Golden State Warriors fans are probably more familiar with the value of the NBA's Development League than any other fanbase in the league.
With Reggie Williams being the latest of 10 players the Warriors have pulled from the D-League, they have proven that it can be a valuable resource to find players to fill in here and there when necessary.
So as a franchise that has consistently mined the D-League for talent, today's news that GSW, LLC has officially bought the D-League's Dakota Wizards is an encouraging sign of the franchise's commitment to developing young talent for the future. As Marcus Thompson II wrote about the news, the Warriors will be the fourth NBA franchise to own a D-League team with the other three being the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
That's not bad company to be in and when you look at the franchise's excitement about their current group of rookies, establishing a stronger connection to the league's formal developmental arm makes a lot of sense, as Scott Shroeder of SB Nation's Ridiculous Upside describes.
Golden State Warriors Buy Into Development League With Dakota Wizards - Ridiculous Upside
This season, however, there's a good chance the Warriors will instead use the D-League to develop the younger players on its roster. The Warriors picked up three new players in last week's NBA Draft -- Klay Thompson, Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler -- and last season's rookies Jeremy Lin, Ekpe Udoh and Jeff Adrien could also conceivably see a stint in the Development League.
Yes, new Warriors coach Mark Jackson has said that Tyler will have the opportunity to play right away. But until they actually get him into training camp to go up against NBA players, there's no reason to rule out the possibility of sending him - or Jenkins or Thompson - to the D-League.
Although you have to admire the team for being in "win now" mode, the fact is that it's hard to see who the Warriors will leapfrog to get into next year's playoffs at this time. There's certainly merit to the theory that players develop better by practicing against other NBA players and learning their team's system with their coaches. But if it's clear that a rookie is a long way from getting any minutes in a NBA regular season game, an opportunity to sharpen skills through game experience with the type of frequent communication that owning a D-League team brings would appear to have enormous potential.
The remaining question that Thompson posts, which figures to be answered during tomorrow's press conference, is whether the Warriors will maintain their affiliation with the Reno Bighorns. But Thompson also reports interest in moving the team to an even more convenient location for Warriors fans.
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Certainly would be better logistically for the the Warriors to send their youngsters to Reno instead of all the way to North Dakota. But, eventually, the hope is the Warriors’ D-League affiliate will be in the Bay Area, likely San Jose.