Alumni in the NBA: 44% Of Players on NBA Playoff Rosters Have NBA D-League Experience

By Brian Kotloff | April 17, 2017

The NBA D-League’s imprint on the NBA grows each season, and the numbers at the conclusion of 2016-17 provided yet another example.

Here are six facts to know about NBA D-League alumni this season:

Almost half of NBA players have NBA D-League experience. An all-time high 44% of the 451 NBA players on end-of-season rosters honed their skills in the NBA D-League. In total, 199 players finished the NBA season with NBA D-League experience, including 91 who played in the NBA D-League this season.

The same goes for playoff teams, as well. The NBA’s most successful teams boast players with NBA D-League experience, too. 105 of the 240 players (44%) on 2017 NBA Playoff rosters have NBA D-League experience and of those 105, 45 played in the NBA D-League this season. (See below for a full list of NBA D-League alums on NBA Playoff rosters.)

Spreading the Wealth: Every NBA team features at least three NBA D-League alums. With 22 NBA teams owning or operating their NBA D-League squads during the 2016-17 season, it’s no surprise that teams are more connected to their minor league affiliates than ever.

Every NBA team had at least three players with NBA D-League experience on its end-of-season roster, with the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors led the league with 11 players with NBA D-League experience on their rosters. Boston, Dallas, Houston, Miami and San Antonio each had nine such players. In total, 17 of the 30 NBA teams feature more than seven NBA D-League alums on their end-of-season rosters — a number that’s up from 10 teams with seven-or-more players with NBA D-League experience a year ago.

Nearly 100 NBA players were assigned to the NBA D-League this season. 92 (to be exact) NBA players spent time in the NBA D-League on assignment from their NBA parent club this season. And, those 92 guys went back and forth almost 500 times. With NBA teams having their NBA D-League affiliates closer to them than ever, and with teams understanding the value of extra practice time to work on a skill or rehabilitate an injury, the NBA D-League is the place for players to work their way into NBA rotations.

Rookie development in the minor league is at an all-time high. Increasingly, NBA teams have utilized the NBA D-League to get their young players ready to be NBA contributors. This season, 17 players drafted in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft presented by State Farm spent time in the NBA D-League. Twenty-two second-rounders from 2016 also played in the NBA D-League during the ’16-’17 campaign. In total, the 39 players drafted in 2016 who spent time in the minors honing their game make up 65% of all NBA draftees from 2016.

Getting the Call: Almost 40 NBA D-League players made the jump to the NBA this season. For the sixth straight season, more than 30 NBA D-League prospects were called up to the NBA. In total, 38 prospects received GATORADE Call-Ups during the 2016-17 season, the third-most all-time.

NBA D-League Alumni on NBA Playoff Rosters

Atlanta: Kent Bazemore, DeAndre Bembry, Tim Hardaway Jr., Ersan Ilyasova, Ryan Kelly, Mike Muscala, Taurean Prince, Dennis Schroder

Boston: Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Gerald Green, Demetrius Jackson, Amir Johnson, Jordan Mickey, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, James Young

Chicago: Isaiah Canaan, Cristiano Felicio, Jerian Grant, Cameron Payne, Bobby Portis, Denzel Valentine, Paul Zipser

Cleveland: Kay Felder, Dahntay Jones, Edy Tavares

Golden State: Matt Barnes, Ian Clark, Damian Jones, Shaun Livingston, Kevon Looney, James Michael McAdoo, Patrick McCaw

Houston: Patrick Beverley, Clint Capela, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Chinanu Onuaku, Isaiah Taylor, Lou Williams, Troy Williams, Kyle Wiltjer

Indiana: Aaron Brooks, Rakeem Christmas, CJ Miles, Georges Niang, Glenn Robinson III, Joe Young

LA Clippers: Alan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Brice Johnson, Diamond Stone

Memphis: Wade Baldwin IV, Troy Daniels, Deyonta Davis, James Ennis III, JaMychal Green, Andrew Harrison, Jarell Martin, Wayne Selden

Milwaukee: Khris Middleton, Gary Payton II, Rashad Vaughn

Oklahoma City: Semaj Christon, Josh Huestis, Andre Roberson

Portland: Allen Crabbe, Ed Davis, Festus Ezeli, Jake Layman, CJ McCollum, Shabazz Napier, Tim Quarterman, Noah Vonleh

San Antonio: Kyle Anderson, Joel Anthony, Davis Bertans, Dewayne Dedmon, Bryn Forbes, Danny Green, Patty Mills, Dejounte Murray, Jonathon Simmons

Toronto: Bruno Caboclo, DeMarre Carroll, Cory Joseph, Lucas Nogueira, Patrick Patterson, Jakob Poeltl, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, PJ Tucker, Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright

Utah: Joel Bolomboy, Alec Burks, Rudy Gobert, Shelvin Mack, Raul Neto

Washington: Marcin Gortat, Brandon Jennings, Ian Mahinmi, Sheldon McClellan, Chris McCullough

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