Lin, others earn respect for D-League
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
RENO — Taylor Griffin could have taken his talents to Europe, where there’s more money to be had and — especially for him — less scrutiny to endure.
Yet the older brother of Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin still is chasing his dream in the NBA Development League, playing for relative pennies on the Santa Cruz Warriors with the hopes that it will eventually pay off. Like so many players in this 12-year-old, 16-team league that is looking more and more like Major League Baseball’s farm system every year, he earns between $13,000 and $25,000 (plus benefits, free housing and a per diem) for an entire season.
“I’m trying to get back to the NBA,” said Griffin, a second-round draft pick by the Phoenix Suns in 2009 out of Oklahoma who played for a season in Belgium before returning stateside. “That’s the only reason I’m here. If it was coming down to money, I’d be overseas somewhere. I feel like I can develop better in the D-League. It’s the NBA game, NBA style of play. And then besides that, every NBA team is watching every game pretty much. It’s the best league in the world as far as NBA exposure.”
And it’s only getting better.
From Jeremy Lin (Houston Rockets) to Gerald Green (Indiana Pacers), Danny Green (San Antonio Spurs), Ramon Sessions (Charlotte Bobcats), Patrick Patterson (Houston Rockets) and many more, the D-League success stories are many.
This minor league, it seems clear, has evolved in a major way since its inception in 2001.
The Los Angeles Lakers became the first NBA team to buy their own D-League team (the Los Angeles D-Fenders) in 2006, but 11 of the 16 … [For more on Jeremy Lin, others earn respect for NBA Development League, click here.]