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Top 10 Best NBA Players Who Came From The D-League

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Originally starting with 8 teams, The Development league was founded in 2001 and is the NBA's official minor league organization and via the new multi-year partnership with Gatorade The D-League will be rebranded into the NBA Gatorade League or "G-League" by the 2017-18 season and will have 25 total teams.

C.J. Watson

Jan 25, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers guard C.J. Watson (32) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Indiana Pacers defeated the Orlando Magic 106-99. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Out of Tennessee, C.J. was undrafted and played briefly with the Spurs D-League affiliate before heading over to play in Italy. Came back the following year to play with then Bobcats organization, but did not make the roster, so he went back to the D-League where he was drafted by the Vipers and averaged 26.4 PPG / 5.3 REB / 5.3 AST / 1.38 STL. Later picked up by the Warriors where he earned his first 10-day contract.

After a 2 year stint with GS, he was acquired by Chicago to replace Derrick Rose. Later signed with the Nets to back up Deron Williams and averaged 8.6 PPG in their playoff run. He then signed with the Pacers and is currently with Orlando.

Rafer Alston


AKA "Skip 2 My Lou" was one of the best street ballers before turning pro. Drafted 39th in the 2nd round by Milwaukee in 1998 he struggled off the bench and was traded to Toronto, then was picked up by Miami where he excelled, averaging 12 PPG and 4 AST with a rookie Dwyane Wade.

Although he spent 14 years playing for 5 NBA teams, he did have a solid career highlighted by his performance in 2009 with the Magic where he averaged 10.6 PPG 3 AST and 2.2 REB in the finals vs the Lakers.

Chris Andersen

Mar 13, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen (11) during their game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Heat 102-92. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Before he was the cocky defender "Birdman" with the crazy hairstyle and tattoos, he was undrafted out of Blinn in 1999. According to reports, Andersen dropped out of College without knowing he needed to apply for the draft, lucky for him he was picked up by the Chinese Basketball Association. He came back to the U.S. where he struggled with the New Mexico Slam. Birdman was the first player to be called up by an NBA team from the D-League (Denver Nuggets 11/21/2001). His second Nuggets stint went better and he later on went on to win a championship with the Miami Heat and then Big 3 of James, Wade and Bosh. Current status: Your guess is as good as mine.

Jeremy Lin

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Y'all remember "Linsanity"? He earned honors for All-Conference player in the Ivy league 3 times in a row, probably the smartest Basketball player and I'm only saying that because he is a graduate from Harvard and not because he is of Asian decent. Originally undrafted, he was picked up by the Warriors and spent time switching between the Big Horns and Warriors with a 2 year partially guaranteed contract. Was later waived and picked up by the Rockets, then waived again before landing with the Knicks.

He received a 3-year contract after his success in New York by Houston, then traded to the Lakers where his success dropped and is now a key player with the Nets.

Marcin Gortat


Before playing basketball he was a soccer player, a track and field star in the high jump and not to mention his swimming skills were excellent. He's not from any college, straight out of Poland and played 3 years in Germany before being drafted 57th overall in 2005 by the Suns. Quickly elected to play in Cologne Germany instead, and in 2007 came back and signed with the Magic. Sent to the D-League team Anaheim Arsenal, only played for 13 days there before being called up and played backup to Dwight Howard.

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After and the uncomfortable stint in Orlando he was traded back to the Suns and received more playing time. Currently playing with the Wizards as a pivotal part of the playoff run.

J.J. Barea


Undrafted in 2006 out Northeastern he joined the Warriors for the Las Vegas Summer League, then went on to play with the Dallas Mavericks affiliate - Rocky Mountain Revue. Signed a multi-year deal and went between the Mavs and Fort Worth Flyers, but finally got his permanent call-up after he was the player of the week by scoring 40 points on 2 occasions. A pesky little guy was a key player in the Mavs title run with huge contributions in eliminating the favored Lakers and Heat.

Hassan Whiteside


Overlooked by almost every team in the NBA, he's now become one of the most versatile Centers in the League. Drafted by the Kings in 2010, Whiteside spent 2 years with the Reno, Bighorns instead of the NBA. He became a journeyman with 7 total teams before landing a spot in Miami, receiving a big paycheck and becoming the dominant center we all know.

Gerald Green


Selected 18th by the Celtics in 2005 out of high school and after 2 years in Boston, he was traded to the Timberwolves. Less than a year in he was traded before the deadline of 2008 to Houston but was immediately released. Took his talents to Russia from 2009-11 before coming back to the U.S. and signing with the Lakers who cut him a few days before the season started. Signed on with the L.A. D-Fenders and only needed 1 year in the D-League to never have to worry about having a job in the NBA. Played with the Nets, Pacers, Suns and Heat before returning to his drafting team the Celtics.

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Shaun Livingston


Elected to skip out on Duke and college to go straight to the NBA draft in 2004 where he was selected 4th overall by the Clippers. After a gruesome knee injury, he became a journeyman in the NBA and the D-League. Landed a contract with Miami in 2009, but was promptly traded to Memphis then signed with the Tulsa 66ers affiliated with the Thunder. They took notice of his skill and signed him, but was waived. Picked up 2-10 day contracts with the Wizards, finished a season and then signed with the Bobcats, traded to Bucks, traded to Rockets waived yet again and finally getting claimed off waivers by the Cavs. Signed 1 year with Nets showing signs of health and consistency where the Warriors took a gamble on him and you know how that turned out.

Danny Green

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 11:  Danny Green #4 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts after making a three-pointer in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat during Game Three of the 2013 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 11, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

46th Pick overall by the Cavs in 2009 out UNC, played 20 games his rookie year before being waived. He was picked up by the Spurs then subsequently waived after 2 games and picked up by the Reno Bighorns. Spurs took noticed of his success, signed him again, and assigned him to the Austin Toros before recalling him to the NBA. He remains with the Spurs as a consistent contributor and has come back from a strained left quadriceps.