Earlier today, Gary Washburn over at The Boston Globe had this to share on Twitter:
#celtics coach Brad Stevens said Rajon Rondo heading to NBADL Maine for game action “is a possibility for sure,” and has “been discussed.”
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) December 30, 2013
Interesting, the idea of Rondo playing for the Maine Red Claws is.
Rehabbing in the minor leagues is status quo for Major League Baseball, but really doesn’t take place in the other professional sports. The NFL doesn’t have a minor league system, and the NHL teams can only send players down to their minor league affiliates if the players have two-way contracts; otherwise, the teams have to put the players on waivers, in which case they can be claimed by another NHL team.
The NBA D-League is a great resource for developing players (hence, the D in its title), and as the official website of the league points out, there are currently 123 players in the NBA with D-League experience. However, there are very few – hell, are there ANY?* – instances of the league being used to rehab players. I bet the fact that its the Development League turns pros off to the idea of spending time down there, and the fact that NBA teams can only send players down for a rehab assignment as long as the player gives his consent adds up to very few instances of professional ballers spending time in the D-League.
*Yes, I know: Amare Stoudemire did a brief stint in the D-League, although it was only for extra practice – he never even played in a single game.
Even so: while the D-League might not be a glamorous gig, could it be the best thing for a player such as Rajon Rondo? There is only so much Rondo can do in practice, and the leap from practice to the speed and physicality of the NBA game is huge. Getting some games under his belt in the D-League might be exactly what Rondo needs in order to regain his conditioning, and it’s not like this needs to be a humbling experience: Rondo is being demoted. He’s being rehabbed, in a way that will hopefully reduce the odds that he suffers a fate similar to that of Chicago’s Derrick Rose.
So, what say you? Should Rondo consider the D-League, or will his pride and the culture of the NBA keep him from considering this to be an acceptable course of action?