Warriors' NBA D-League Platoon Drops 76 on Hornets
They scout D-Leaguers insanely well.
Against the Hornets Wednesday night, the Warriors played four players whose careers started with the NBA Development League: C.J. Watson, Anthony Tolliver, Reggie Williams, and Chris Hunter. Those four players shot 60% from the field and scored 76 points out of the Warriors' 131 in a win over New Orleans. Anthony Tolliver, on call-up this season, had a career high 30 points.
Now, the Warriors' system is considered gimmicky and unsustainable in the NBA environment, but here's why their approach to the D-League should be the model for call-ups.
Instead of trying to find the best players available, like you would in the draft, or some strange variation of trying to find a need, the Warriors have obtained players which can fit into their system. Williams, Tolliver and Hunter are all athletic, all long and all capable of putting up some points. And their call-ups have at least put some oomph in an otherwise lost Warriors season. Their limitations are masked by the system, but that's true of any system. The fact that the Warriors have successfully transitioned so many players is a real positive mark for them in the player development area.
The question must be asked though, why do the Warriors not own their own affiliate? They've shown that they're willing to invest in D-League players, they have a nearby team (the Bakersfield Jam), and they need to plan for the future. Why not make the minimal investment to have a team running Nellie Ball all season? Maybe then they would be willing to send down their draft picks when head coach Don Nelson decides they're not fit to get playing time, and at least they'd have an opportunity to grow.
Whoever ends up with the Warriors should notice their success with the D-League, keep their scouting staff, and invest in the D-League. It's already paying dividends.