Happy days are here again
The 'D' is for development. Not demotion.
"It's right there in the name," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said of the NBA Development League. "I don't know why more teams don't use it to help players develop."
That's what the Grizzlies did when they shipped 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet out to the Dakota Wizards of the D-League for a brief stint. What they got back to their lineup was a rookie who played with more power, more energy and perhaps a better understanding of what it's going to take to one day succeed in the NBA.
The experience helped a lot," Thabeet said. "Just to be able to go out onto the court and run with the guys and get into the rhythm of a game situation. When they sent me to the D-League, I was on a mission."
The Grizzlies' mission was to finally jumpstart Thabeet's game and get more out of the player they had selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 Draft.
Through the first 49 games that he played this season, Thabeet had been underwhelming and sank to third on the Memphis depth chart at center. He was not aggressive enough around the basket and, of greater concern, had demonstrated a work ethic that was often lacking.
We worked with Thabeet all summer, all fall, then we go to training camp and we're forming our team and trying to win and rookies don't normally play well," Hollins said. "So on nights that he plays well, he gets more minutes and on nights that he doesn't, he doesn't. It comes to a point where they go into a shell and they don't do anything right and you need to sit them.