Raptors 905 were crowned the 2016-17 D-League champions in just their second year of existence after defeating the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The NBA recently announced they were changing the name of the D-League to the G League and many people still seem confused as to what to actually call the league. Here is the reason for the change from D-League to G League.
A few weeks back, the NBA announced they were officially changing the name of the D-League to the G League but many fans are still confused as to what name to actually call the league.
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For those unfamiliar, the G League is the NBA’s official minor league basketball organization.
It was known as the NBDL (National Basketball Development League) from 2001 to 2005 and was changed to the D-League in 2005 up until the end of the 2016-17 season.
The NHL uses the AHL and ECHL as its minor league system while MLB has several levels of minor league baseball to help develop their younger talent into better players at the highest level of the game.
The G League serves the same purpose for the NBA.
The league has officially rebranded to the G League based on a sponsorship deal with Gatorade.
As far back as 2014, NBA commissioner Adam Silver was looking for a title sponsor for the league based on the model used by NASCAR and their second-tier circuit called the Nationwide Series.
In an interview with USA Today Sports, Silver said:
"“For the D-League to go to the next level, one of the top items on our agenda is potentially selling a naming-rights deal for the league,”"
NBA Deputy commissioner Mark Tatum also spoke with USA Today and said:
"“This is a property that offers great promise and potential with what it is today but also what it can become. It really is great opportunity for the development of the game for a training ground for a host of constituents from players to coaches to front-office staff and officials.”"
The name switch to G League doesn’t really have much effect on how the league is being operated, it’s mainly just a branding opportunity for the NBA and Gatorade.
With so many players leaving college after just one or two years it was important for the NBA to have another outlet to develop their young players into stars aside from the NCAA.
The G League has been instrumental in allowing some of the Toronto Raptors talented youngsters to get much needed playing time. The likes of Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl have all benefitted from the opportunity of playing for the minor league club Raptors 905.
The G League has also proven to be an excellent grooming ground for coaches as well, which is evident in the success of Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse.
The G League schedule kicks off in mid-November where 26 teams will compete to knock off the defending champs Raptors 905.