March 26, 2008
The other day I was kickin' it at Ground Round (it's like a less fun version of Friday's) watching a bunch of NBA games on TV. I was there specifically to watch Blake Ahern and the Miami Heat take on the Milwaukee Bucks. It was a surprisingly exciting game despite the lack of so-called "stars" on the floor for the Heat.
Anyways, it is not so widely publicized, but the Miami Heat have something like seven or eight former D-League guys on their roster right now. The game I watched, they only had eight guys healthy enough to play, nearly all of them having some sort of D-League experience. This D-League All-Star team beat the Milwaukee Bucks that night. When you look at it as Heat vs. Bucks, you see a normal NBA game that really could go either way this season. When you look at it as D-League guys (a few of them rookies) vs. #6 pick Yi Jianlian, #1 pick Andrew Bogut, Charlie Villanueva, Mo Williams, and team USA standout Michael Redd, it becomes more clear that these guys can actually play a little bit. There is real basketball going on down here and guys are improving in NBA style systems.
While watching, I came to the conclusion that the D-League should be more like AAA baseball. The NBA should allow guys who are rehabbing to work themselves back in by playing D-League games. I've heard it said before, and I think it's a great idea. I've watched SportsCenter and seen Roger Clemens pitching for the AAA "Whozamawhatsits" many times while working back into shape. Why couldn't a big NBA star do the same?
That being said, I think it would be off the chain if Gilbert Arenas were to rehab with his team affiliate, which just so happens to be my current team, the Dakota Wizards. It is clearly illegal for this to happen right now, but let's pretend the year was 2012 and Gilbert and the real Wizards were facing the same predicament they are right now. Gil needs some game experience to get his wind back, while the team is jockeying for playoff position. Gilbert, not wanting to hurt the team during the transition back into game shape, comes out to Bismarck, ND and averages 40 points during his 20 minutes per game. Crazy, son.
The thing is, I could see him saying an emphatic 'No!' to such a suggestion. Many guys would. He wouldn't want to leave the bright lights of the big city to come out to the cold. I get it. Well, even though it's not a possibility, I decided I should give him a couple reasons to come to Bismarck to give a D-League inspired comeback a try:
• The number "0" is already highly respected out here (thank me later).
• You could join our fantasy baseball league and have the third pick in the draft.
• You can also join our Rock Band, the Too Much Crew.
• Cow tippin'. Enough said.
• The Hills comes on at 9 p.m. local time here, so you get to see it before everyone out West, and you feel like you're getting a jump on the East coast. I know you like Whitney, who doesn't?
• We could team up against Mo Almond, thus creating a blogging monopoly that violates anti-trust laws, but is real kick-ass.
• Have you ever driven a 12-passenger van before? Do you want to?
• You can learn new country songs such as "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk." There is a line where the guy says, "slap yo grandma!"
• What is the highest number of things you ever bought from Wal-Mart in one trip? If it's less than 9 then you're missing out.
• It's pheasant season in the fall.
• You could be a D-League All-Star while on assignment. Then you can get a bunch of sweet hook-ups.
• Speaking of sweet hook-ups, if you like Napoleon Dynamite, you'll love this place.
That about does it. See, now he's got plenty of reasons to start rehabbing in a stress free environment. David Stern, the ball is in your court. I know you're thinking about age restrictions for the league and whatnot, but take the time to consider what just happened here on your screen. It just got real. Too real? Maybe. But was it worth reading? Still, maybe.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who plays for the D-League's Dakota Wizards. He also blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Ball Don't Lie. Read his archive, pay a visit to TooMuchRodBenson.com and always support the Boom Tho movement.