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The G League season still looks to be an open question for the Pistons, other teams

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Platform for young and raw NBA prospects might work in very diminished capacity this season… if at all

NBA G League - Team Ignite Practice and Scrimmage Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Not so good news on G League front. Team after team is considering opting out of participating in the proposed G League bubble. While other franchises are opting instead to merge their prospects into combined teams. This would lead to less players getting a shot to participate.

According to some sources, our Detroit Pistons plans to not participate. The Detroit Pistons have not officially announced its intentions one way or the other, but as the days go on it is clear that the G League is an added layer of risk, and it’s a risk too far for many franchises.

The idea of G League bubble emerged as a way of carrying on with G League in conditions of pandemic. G League teams are operating with small budgets, so its teams use commercial flights to get to game’s destinations. As discussions of the conditions of the start of new NBA season gained traction, NBA execs promised to deal with new G League season soon. Finally the idea of doing it in bubble environment in Atlanta seemed to emerge as a workable approach. However, participation in Atlanta bubble comes at a cost of around half a million of dollars.

That cost, apparently, is too high for many teams in need to tighten their budgets.

This is unfortunate occurrence for G League as it’s becoming a great venue for young draft prospects to grow up to NBA game in NBA-like environment. This is, for instance, the story of our own Sekou Doumbouya and one of our newest acquisitions Džanan Musa. The developmental league allows to make strides in development for undrafted prospects as well. It helps cast offs from the one and done system to show that it’s not them who failed here. One of the Pistons former two-way players, Louis King, used it to show that he belongs to NBA-like game despite being left in no man’s land after his freshman season at Oregon. Finally, as is shown by examples of Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, who after a season in G League had sensational rookie campaigns in the NBA last year, it also helps undrafted upperclassmen to quickly develop and show NBA skills, even if their NCAA careers might suggested that at most they can look for playing time overseas. In the past it also helped upperclassmen without sensational rookie campaigns (Khris Middleton, Pascal Siakam) to develop into all stars.

This year, the developmental role of G League was supposed to hit another milestone. It was supposed to provide a possibility for top high school recruits to prepare for the NBA Draft. The idea that was considered by single prospects in the past (e.g. Darius Bazley), but never came to fruition, was supposed to be materialized this year with the G League Ignite team heralded by Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Daishen Nix and Isaiah Todd. The team already sign a deal to showcase its games. But you need someone to play those games with. So far it has only able to organize some scrimmages. Thus, even as we try to follow Troy’s advice that “good scouts do their work early”, we’re unable to analyze much their game within our scouting department on DBB led by Duke, Prava and Scott.

Of course we can always look on the bright side of things and say that with increased time that two-way players will be allowed to stay with NBA teams, at least some prospects will be able to get more burn of even more NBA-like game of the NBA itself. But I think that the mediating role of G League can’t be replaced in all aspects by garbage time in the NBA, and if there won’t be a G League season at all or for some teams, it will be a blow to those involved.

Nevertheless, there might be at least one really good thing in all this. Namely, it sheds new light on the departure of Donnie Tyndall from Grand Rapids Drive. Now you may wonder whether it’s not only for one year to wait until the situation in G League will normalize, and he’ll be back. That’d be great, because Donnie make wonders with our youngsters in his sole season with the Drive last year.

It’s also interesting what will happened with former Pistons Exhibit 10 guys, LiAngelo Ball and Anthony Lamb.

Whichever end all this questions will have, we’ll try to keep you informed. So stay tuned.