Over the past few weeks, Matt Hubert of DLeagueDigest.com assembled a panel of D-League experts to systematically grade how well each NBA team uses the D-League. They then standardized the rankings to a 4.00 GPA scale. It's believed that they did this to make the process even nerdier than it already was, if that was possible.
The results are pretty intriguing. The Blazers finish 24th out of 30 teams with a 0.89 GPA. Following the Blazers are a bunch of terrible teams (Clippers, Nets, 76ers, Pacers) plus the Hornets and the Magic (who might not know there is a D-League). Portland's failure is one of neglect: Patty Mills is the only Blazer to have been assigned to the Idaho Stampede, the affiliate franchise the Blazers share with the Nuggets, during the last two seasons.
What's more interesting, though, is that Rich Cho's former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, finish in third place with a 3.75 GPA, behind only the Rockets and Spurs. Remember, Cho oversaw operations for the Thunder's D-League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers. Other model franchises like the Jazz and Celtics also score very well.
You can read the site's assessments for both the Thunder and the Blazers here.
In the past, Portland's standard line has been that rookies learn more by staying with the big club and experiencing NBA life. Given a bulging roster situation and an expected depth chart that will find three rookies no higher than third string at their position, it's probably a good time to revisit that logic. Would one or all of Portland's rookies benefit from some minor league court time? And shouldn't the world be treated to some grainy Youtube footage of Elliot Williams 720 degree helicopter dunks in front of 750 South Dakota fans?
Another question that I think should be revisited: How is Paul Allen cool with sitting by and watching Clay Bennett own and operate this competitive advantage?
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter