Home Sport Adam Silver erkannte, dass G League Ignite zum Scheitern verurteilt war

Adam Silver erkannte, dass G League Ignite zum Scheitern verurteilt war

von NFI Redaktion

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. But the only way to improve your jump shot is through shot correction. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recognizes that a shot his league made a few years ago, which many thought looked good coming out of their hands, would always be an airball.

In 2020, just a year and some changes before the NIL took effect, many in the basketball world drank the Kool-Aid and believed that a change in the sport was looming due to the decisions of two teenagers—Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd. Fast forward to this past weekend, and Silver seems to now understand why that was never the case.

„Given that this has happened, I think we’re in the process of reevaluating Team Ignite,“ said Silver during his annual press conference for All-Star Weekend. „Because now, some of those same players wanted not to be single players, because they thought that was unfair and because they not only wanted the opportunity to earn a living playing basketball but also to engage in commercial deals that were not available to them in college. It wasn’t the opportunity to engage professional agents, a possibility that wasn’t available to them in college, and now all those possibilities are available to them.“

„I’m not sure what the future of Team Ignite will look like because previously, there was a market inefficiency that we thought we were going to address before we did, and now I’m turning back to the earlier development of these players.“

When the G League Ignite Team was launched in 2018, it was supposed to be an attractive option that top prospects could choose if they weren’t so keen on being unpaid college students. High salaries for three to four players on a team full of veterans who played and trained against adult men in the G League for a season before being top picks in the NBA Draft. Theoretically, it should work. But in reality, you would be a well-paid teenager living alone in an apartment, far from your friends and peers enjoying college life, while playing against adult men who would regularly attack you on the court, in gyms many of which you had never heard of, given that only a handful of G League games are broadcast on television each year.

You made an early leap in training and development, but you were also out of sight and out of mind as you watched all your friends at Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina play on TV every night while preparing for March Madness.

The big caveat was that no one owned your „rights“ if you got injured or weren’t picked, and there was no guaranteed further contract with the Ignite team. If something like that happened in college, you could just go back to school for a second or extra year, but with the G League option, there was no legitimate fallback plan.

„I wanted to become overall better and prepare for the NBA because that’s my ultimate goal,“ Green told Yahoo Sport back in 2020 as he embarked on the professional path that came with a salary of over $500,000, instead of choosing between Memphis and Auburn. „Everything was planned and prepared so I could be successful. I think in the end, it was a good decision. I’ll still be able to go back to college and finish school. So it’s not really like I’m missing out on college because I can go back and finish whenever I need to. Education is very important in my family.“

On the same day, it was reported that Todd, a five-star recruit and former Michigan commit, was going to join G League Ignite alongside Green. Fans and media lost it. They only knew this was the death of college basketball as it was the result of an FBI investigation.

Four years later, they have egg on their face.

Over the years, the team has produced top draft picks like Scoot Henderson (No. 3 in 2023), Dyson Daniels (No. 8 in 2022), and Green (No. 3 in 2021). Green is the most productive player the team has ever produced as he is the second option for the Houston Rockets, who are 24-30 and third in their division. Todd was a second-round pick in the 2021 draft and has played a handful of games in the league. He also spent time with the Capital City Go-Go, bringing him back to where he started: the G League. This season, the G League Ignite team stands at 6-31.

A year after Green and Todd said no to college basketball, the college landscape changed forever when NIL came into play, allowing athletes to stay a little longer as those who had a chance to go pro now had money in their pockets. With the influx of overseas players flocking to the league and the NCAA tournament still serving as a springboard to stardom, the sexiness of G League Ignite quickly faded. It was never an additional option, as many thought, as it was always a way to game the process. It was quick money, and you know what they say about quick money.

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