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NBA D-League 101: Path to the NBA Draft

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A player who has not yet entered the NBA Draft can instead enter the NBA Development League — either through the NBA D-League Draft or through the league’s waiver system — and maintain his NBA Draft eligibility. However, these players are not eligible to be called up to the NBA.

Six players have taken this route and later been drafted by an NBA team.

NBA Draft Picks from the NBA D-League
Player Year Pick D-League Team NBA Team
P.J. Hairston 2014 No. 26 Texas Legends Miami Heat
Thanasis Antetokounmpo 2014 No. 51 Delaware 87ers New York Knicks
Glen Rice Jr. 2013 No. 35 Rio Grande Valley Vipers Philadelphia 76ers
Chu Chu Maduabum 2011 No. 54 Bakersfield Jam Los Angeles Lakers
Latavious Williams 2009 No. 48 Tulsa 66ers Miami Heat
Mike Taylor 2008 No. 55 Idaho Stampede Portland Trail Blazers

The six came from three different avenues: P.J. Hairston, Glen Rice Jr. and Mike Taylor were college prospects who had been dismissed from their schools; Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Chu Chu Maduabum were international prospects who gained their first pro experience in the U.S. in the NBA D-League; and Latavious Williams was a high school prospect who opted to turn pro rather than attend college.

(Note: The NBA D-League’s age minimum is 18 years old, not 19 as in the NBA.)

The 2014 NBA Draft marked the first time multiple prospects from the NBA D-League were selected. Hairston became the first NBA D-League prospect ever selected in the first round when the Miami Heat chose him with the No. 26 pick; they traded him to the Charlotte Hornets on draft night.