Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has talked previously about his desire to own an NBA D-League Franchise. The league changed its name to the G-League, but Ted’s goals didn’t change. According to reports, it looks like he finally has his wish, and the Wizards will have a minor league affiliate in the 2018-19 season.
It seems like the Washington Wizards, and fans have wanted a G-League team forever. While Washington failed to develop players, franchises like the San Antonio Spurs, and Golden State Warriors managed to develop young talent through its developmental team.
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Now, the G-League, formerly NBA Developmental League, will be coming to the DMV. The team is planned to play at the Wizards’ new practice facility, scheduled to open in 2018 on the campus of St. Elizabeth’s in DC, and also play host to Mystics home games.
The team isn’t yet named, but ownership obviously has time to figure out what creative name they can come up with.
President Ernie Grunfeld gave his thoughts on how a developmental team will help the Wizards in a statement.
“The NBA G League has been a great resource for us over the years, both for calling up talent and for allowing young players on our roster to gain more on-court experience,” Grunfeld said. “Having our own team, selecting the front office and coaching staff and being able to implement our system will allow us to further enhance our player and staff development program moving forward.”
Grunfeld is right. This will be a great resource for the team to send down young prospects, and have more control over how much development they get. Last season, the Wizards sent rookie guard Sheldon Mac to the D-League on occasions, but he had to play for the Philadelphia 76ers’ affiliate.
Meanwhile, newcomer Chris McCollough spent time with the Northern Arizona Suns in March.
NBA Commisioner Adam Silver has spoken on his desire for every team to have its own farm team, similar to baseball, and this news just goes on to show that the league is very much on its way towards that goal.
The Wizards became the 27th franchise to own a team, leaving the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, and Portland Trail Blazers as the only remaining organizations without one. The Pelicans have had discussions about buying a team to place in the Gulf Coast, so they may be the next team in line.
The list of NBA players who spent a portion of their career in the D-League is long, and Washington is hoping to join in on the process.