Tipping Off: D-LeagueDigest
On the day the ninth season of hoops in the NBA D-League begins, the time seems right to inaugurate the first season of the newest D-League blog on the Web. Welcome to D-LeagueDigest!
We will be coming at you all season long with info, insight and interviews on the ever-expanding D-League. Player and team analyses, chats with team personnel and fellow writers as well as explorations into the experiences and objectives unique to playing, coaching, managing, watching and covering a minor league all make up the docket for the coming campaign. Feel free to shout out anything else that catches your interest, and we’ll try to accommodate those requests as we go.
By “we,” of course…well, that’s the catch: You are stuck with me, Steve Weinman, the pontificating alter ego of Oscar the Grouch. Let’s take a stab at an introduction.
Growing up in the Weinman household on Long Island, I learned quickly that surviving to double-digit age required abhorrence of the Yankees and Knicks. I followed my Brooklyn-born father (known hereafter in this corner of the Interwebs as The Guru) to die-hard faith in the Dodgers, which made sense, and the Celtics, which didn’t, but I chose self-preservation over probing interrogatives.
The existence I protected allowed me the joy of witnessing the worst two-decade stretch in Celtics history. Grand. When I started covering the NBA in early 2007, writing offered me a chance to keep my mind on the 29 teams not involved in franchise-record losing streaks. When I moved from my small page to serve as general NBA columnist at CelticsBlog in December of that year, I found not only a fantastic community to write for but also a cross-section of green faithful with whom I shared the Celtics’ first championship season in 22 years. I can’t thank Jeff Clark and the gang at CelticsBlog enough for the opportunities they have given me and the support they continue to provide.
After two years of daily rambling, I took a leave this past May to intern with the NBA. Over the course of the quickest 10 weeks of my life, I had the chance to work on the league’s social media initiatives, cover the draft for Facebook and the rookie photo shoot for NBA.com, engage in a variety of other projects and serve as a co-worker to a collection of incredible people. Two of them, JP Lespinasse and Joanna Shapiro, merit special recognition in this space for their assistance in my efforts to get this blog off the ground.
When I’m not watching or writing about hoops, you can find me in a gym playing pick-up (and making many of the mistakes for which I harangue the subjects of my writing) or at a buffet on Long Island or in the Midwest stuffing my face and undoing any gains from said physical activity. It’s a simple life.
I’m excited about the opportunity to delve into a new field of basketball writing this season, getting a chance to cover the D-League as its links to the NBA grow stronger with each team now affiliated to at least one and in many cases multiple NBA franchises. I’m curious about how team management functions vary from those at the NBA level given that long-term player development is as significant a goal (and possibly more so) as team success. I’m interested in how fans connect to teams at the minor league level. Of course, I’m trying to figure out which of these players will make it at the next level. Exploring all of that will keep us plenty busy around here this season.
Thanks to Kevin Arnovitz and Henry Abbott at the TrueHoop Network for welcoming me with open arms to their family of blogs and of course to the folks at SBNation’s Ridiculous Upside for setting a terrific standard and offering a guiding light in D-League coverage. Credit all illustrations here to resident graphics maven Sam Powell of Realeyez Independent Cinema. The man knows his visuals.
That seems like more than enough babbling to start your Black Friday morning. We’ll see you on the flip side of the weekend with full thoughts on the season’s first 72 hours, but we’ll be checking in throughout the weekend on Twitter via @DLeagueDigest. Your thoughts are always welcome in the comments section, on Twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for coming along for the ride, and here’s to a great season.