Marks Looks For Diamonds in D-League

(Nets General Manager Sean Marks – @BrooklynNets)

Nets General Manager Sean Marks will attempt to rebuild the Nets through their NBA Development League team, the Long Island Nets.

Marks has to do this because the team has no first round draft picks for the next few years.

There is hope through the D-League, as the emergence of Sean Kilpatrick has shown.

Kilpatrick starred at Cincinnati in college, and bounced around the NBA, playing in Denver this season before the Nets signed him in early March.

In 16 games with the Nets, Kilpatrick has scored in double digits 13 times. He averaged 13.3 points per game in March, and had 17 points against the Knicks on Friday and 15 on Sunday against New Orleans. For the season, including the time he spent with Denver, he has averaged of 9.8 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 0.7 assists this season.

Marks envisions the D-League being a minor league to the NBA the way the minor league system is to other sports like baseball and hockey.

image003“As many of you are probably aware, we’re short one or two draft picks, so this will be a way to develop some other players coming up through the D-League,” Marks said at a recent press conference showcasing the new Long Island Nets logo. “I was fortunate enough to be the General Manager of the  Austin Toros at the time, now the Austin Spurs, and got to see how the player development really carried through there from the D-League affiliate all the way up to the parent team, the Spurs, and we plan to do exactly the same here. I’m really excited about that, and this opportunity, again, is another way ownership is showing a commitment to winning and to putting a brand out there on the floor not only here, but in Long Island.”

Marks said of the impact the D-League team will have on player development, “Well, it’s really important, not only from basketball development, but for personal development too. These guys, when they’re playing in the D-League, they’re experiencing everything the Nets are getting too. so, whether it’s from performance team, whether it’s from players’ personal development and so forth, these guys are maturing and growing as people as well. I witnessed first-hand in Austin and I know that’s what we’ll be doing here. It’s going to be great. It’s hard to get guys minutes up here, so if guys are able to go to the D-League and play considerable minutes in the same system and the expectations are the same, it should be no different when they come back up to play here.”

On how promising it is for the future of the NBA to eventually have a one-to-one ratio with D-League teams, Marks said, “I think we’ve seen it, not only so far in the D-League, but in other sports – minor league baseball, how they’ve had these farm systems growing guys up. And Malcolm (Turner, NBA Development League President) is exactly right – it’s not just players, it’s staff, all the way through there, which is really important and is exactly the way we’ll use it. As a player, I was the journeyman running around and sometimes not getting minutes I thought I deserved or wanted to, but again, to have that avenue to go somewhere and get those minutes and prove your worth, the D-League is exactly that. I can think of several cases that we had in Austin where guys said to us, ‘I’d like to go and play in Austin because I want minutes. I want to play and stay ready for when my number gets called up here at the parent club.”

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