Milwaukee Bucks: Damien Inglis’ D-League Mission


The Milwaukee Bucks sent Damien Inglis to the D-League to play with the Canton Charge, but what will that achieve for all parties involved?

We’ve spent a lot of time between podcasts and articles talking about how the Milwaukee Bucks could benefit from a D-League team, and one of the main reasons why has been the need for some of the teams younger players to get greater opportunities. Damien Inglis was probably the first name to spring to mind.

On Sunday afternoon, Milwaukee found a temporary home for their young wing from French Guinea, utilizing the NBA Development League’s flexible assignment rule to send Inglis to play with Cleveland Cavaliers affiliate, the Canton Charge.

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Although the Bucks don’t have a team of their own, the D-League has a system in place to make sure teams like Milwaukee can have their young players accommodated. The system works as follows:

"The NBA D-League’s flexible assignment system – which was instituted prior to the 2014-15 season – will continue to enable the 11 independent NBA teams to assign players to the NBA D-League for development or rehabilitation from injury. Upon receipt of an assignment from an independent NBA team, the NBA D-League will identify any NBA D-League team willing to accept the assigned player.  The assigning independent NBA team will then choose the destination for assignment between those teams.  If no NBA D-League team is willing to accept the assigned player, he will be assigned to one of the hybrid affiliate teams pursuant to a lottery."

I took part in a roundtable of bloggers from teams without D-League affiliates over at Hardwood Paroxysm’s Upside and Motor early on Sunday morning, and flagged up Inglis as the Bucks player best suited to a spell in the D-League for the following reasons.

"Damien Inglis is the Buck who I’d love to see get the chance to play some meaningful minutes in the D-League. Inglis has all the physical attributes needed to thrive in the NBA, but he’s just a bit too green right now. Inglis is one of many players around the league who could really kick on and make an impact if he’s given the platform to learn, improve and pick up experience. That’s exactly what the D-League is there for."

They were sentiments echoed by head coach Jason Kidd when he was questioned about the move prior to Monday’s game with Detroit too.

"I think we need to get him some playing time, I mean right now, everybody being healthy, there wasn’t going to be enough playing time for him up here.He’s 20 years old and was out the whole season, and we’re full of 20 something year old guys who need to play. For Damien, the D-League is probably the best thing for him right now."

Oct 10, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Damien Inglis (17) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Detroit won 117-88. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With many teams very strategic in regards to the team that they end up assigning their player to, it was an interesting chance to get a read on how the Bucks treated the process, but judging by Kidd’s word there wasn’t too much overthinking on Milwaukee’s part, it was simply about getting him on the court.

"Unfortunately we don’t have a D-League team, so for us to have Cleveland take him is that something that we needed so that he can play.I mean, he needs practice, he needs games, he needs to get some minutes under his belt and this is the best thing for him."

When he was pressed further on it being Cleveland’s team, the coach had little to add though.

"Yeah, whoever took him. We just needed him to get on a team to play."

That team is the Canton Charge, who have started the season 0-3. The Charge aren’t exactly stacked with household names, even by D-League standards. Their most notable occasional player would have to be Cleveland’s Joe Harris who has already played two games on assignment this year.

The next most notable member of the Charge is the brilliantly named Sir’Dominic Pointer, the guard selected with the 53rd pick of last summer’s draft by the Cavaliers.

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All of this should just mean greater minutes and opportunities for Inglis to shine though. Inglis will play under the guidance of promising young Spanish coach Jordi Fernandez, who has done exceptional work not only with player development for the Cavaliers, but also for the Spanish national team at underage level.

For Inglis, this opportunity is all about him asserting himself. The Bucks will want him to go, build up minutes and continue to get his feet under him during his time with Canton, but they would also like for him to show that he’s a cut above the rest of the talent in the minor league.

In his tiny sample size with Milwaukee, Inglis has struggled with defensive rotations, but it’s the offense that has come to a complete halt when he’s been on the floor.

Canton should give Inglis the opportunity to learn and grow in confidence, hopefully making him more ready to contribute by the time he eventually returns to the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA.