Getting sent down to the NBA Developmental League used to be seen as a condemnation of a players abilities. Just last year people were quick to judge when second overall pick Hasheem Thabeet was demoted from the Grizzlies to their D-League affiliate. This year, however, demotions seem to be the “in” thing for rookies buried on the bench. Some of these decisions are better than others, so here are our thoughts on the demotions thus far this season.
Do Not Understand – Cole Aldrich (11th Overall)
The Thunder liked Cole enough to trade two later first-round picks for him, but then didn’t use him at all. Aldrich was said to have the skills that translate to the NBA—rebounding and shot blocking—but apparently not quickly enough for the Thunder. Oklahoma City is contending in the West, and a rookie big probably isn’t the answer for them right now. Hopefully Cole can learn and develop in Tulsa and be ready to contribute down the stretch for the Thunder.
Do Understand – Ed Davis (13th Overall):
Coming back from injury is a perfectly good reason for a player to start off in the D-League, and that is why Davis will begin his professional career in Erie with the BayHawks. Davis shouldn’t be in Erie for long though because the Raptors are terrible, and no one should hold Davis back in Toronto once he’s healthy.
Do Not Understand – Patrick Patterson (14th Overall):
Patrick Patterson is ready to contribute in the NBA, but apparently not for the Houston Rockets. While the Rockets have great front court depth it truly surprises us they can’t find minutes for Patterson. Even more surprising is the Rockets selection of Patterson if they didn’t plan on having him on the active roster. Houston knew coming into the season they’re depth, which begs the question why they took Patterson over some of the wing prospects they were allegedly considering with the pick.
Do Understand – Dexter Pittman (32nd Overall), Hassan Whiteside (33rd Overall), Gani Lawal (46th Overall), Solomon Alabi (50th overall):
This group is basically a catch all for the bigs who just aren’t ready to contribute at the NBA level. While all these players have a future as role players in the league, letting them log playing time to work on their deficiencies makes all the sense in the world. We see Pittman as being the most surprising, but with the Heat adding Dampier, there simply wasn’t room for him in the Heat rotation. Hassan Whiteside will probably benefit the most, given that he’s not seeing any minutes in Sacramento, and can slowly adjust to the pace of play by logging minutes in the D-League.