The Bucks announced last week Tuesday that they would be adding a G-League (formerly known as D-League, thanks Gatorade). The value of the Bucks having a team in the developmental league cannot be understated. The advantages of having your own team and not having to send your guys to another affiliate could potentially have a lot of impact on player development. The changes in the CBA with the addition of two way contracts could also further facilitate player development.
Think of how many guys the Bucks have buried on their bench the last few years (JOB, Inglis, Vaughn and Thon). These are the type of guys the Bucks could send up to Oshkosh and have the coaches there get them some game time. With the proximity these players could reasonably practice with the Bucks when they are home and bus/fly up to Oshkosh for the G-league games there.
I know at this point many of you are thinking that proximity is the main benefit, but the main benefit is that the team will be run by Bucks coaches. Kidd can tell the coaches exactly what he wants Vaughn to work on and how many minutes he wants them to play. Coaches in the past have noted that they do not like the fact that when sending the players to an unaffiliated team means they lose control over them. As all NBA fans know first round picks are very coveted assets and teams are often not willing to let that guy leave their system. There are only 240 minutes available in every NBA game for a team to divide amongst their players, starters usually eat up about 150 of those. For young players who are clearly a year or two away from being NBA rotation guys, they only get rare minutes in blowouts. That is where the G-league comes in, it allows these guys to stay in NBA systems and still play minutes. The competition level is not the same, but it is organized basketball where all the guys are playing to make the NBA.
This also means a lot to the community of Oshkosh, this is a professional basketball team that will play 25 games a year in their community. Oshkosh was my preferred location because of its proximity to Appleton and Green Bay, I knew that a lot of the games would be sellouts if the Bucks can put semi-decent players on the team. I would actually expect that they sign guys with local ties (read as ex-Marquette and ex-Wisconsin players) to fill out the roster, because those guys will fill the bleachers. Do not misinterpret this expectation as anything but a ticket selling ploy though, the main goal of this team is to
sell gatorade develop talent. This will give guys like Thon a chance to play more games a year, and give second rounders a better chance to make an impression.
The only thing that disappoints me is that the arena will seat about 3,500 people. That is fairly run of the mill for a G-league arena, but I feel the Bucks could and perhaps should have shot a little higher. An arena that small basically makes it a one use facility (most high school gyms that host playoff games are larger). That leaves about 340 nights a year where in theory a bigger facility could have been used for something else, that will remain empty. Nonetheless this is a great day for Milwaukee Bucks basketball, our future stars (and role players) will play in the Fox Valley as they develop into the NBA’s best.