Wednesday, May 15, 2013

D-League Decoded: Philadelphia 76ers and the D-League

Philadelphia has a new D-League affiliate in the Delaware 87ers. (

Late last month, it was announced that the Philadelphia 76ers acquired the defunct Utah Flash D-League team and moved them to Delaware to become the 87ers (or Sevens per the team's Twitter account).

Previous to this acquisition, the team's affiliate was the Sioux Falls Skyforce, who were co-owned by three other NBA teams, the Timberwolves, Heat and Magic. Of course, if you know anything about geography you would know that Sioux Falls, South Dakota is a long ways away from Philadelphia, which made it hard for the 76ers to use the D-League until now.

Avoiding the team's weird name that's based on the Constitution, the 76ers are now able to use the D-League to their overall advantage to help develop some of their young players. Now, the team is probably going to be facing a huge overhaul after the Andrew Bynum disaster from this past season. With a team that's rebuilding, you're going to have a lot of porspects that will be in need of developing. Sure, the team can immediately put those players on an NBA court but may be at the risk of putting them out there too early.

At this moment, the 76ers have seven players who are 24 years old or younger, which should increase during the upcoming NBA Draft because of their three picks (No. 11, No. 35 and No. 42). Using Delaware as a means of development for those rookies will be crucial for the simple fact that they'll be able to transfer them in between each location. That alone will allow Philiadelphia's front office to use the same approach that teams like Oklahoma City and Golden State used this past season who both had their own D-League team.

Despite being a solid developmental move,  they only assigned one player (Arnett Moultree) during the 2012-13 season, which does make sense of the strange situation the team was going through. With that said, Philadelphia did use the other teams involved in the D-League to call up two players (Shelvin Mack and Justin Holiday) who turned out to be below average pickups but still meant that there was that connection.

Speaking of connection, the 76ers front office hired and assigned Aaron Moszer to be their first team president. This was possibly the best overall hiring for this new ball club because of Moszer's 15-year experience working in the world of minor league sports. Before signing on to Delaware, Moszer worked as the VP of Sales/Marketing for Ripken Baseball, which is one of the top developmental leagues for youth baseball in the US. While helping out the future of the game of baseball, Moszer was also an instrumental part in the inagural season of the Aberdeen Ironbirds who are the Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Of course, Moszer won't be in charge of the on-court aspect of the team but will be the key man in charge of making sure things go right in the first season of this team.

Again, we're about six months until the team will open up shop to start its first season so a lot can happen in that time frame, but this is still a great move for the future of a rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers franchise.

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