NBA Announces G League Ignite To Shut Down After Season

Well, the G League Ignite sounded like a good idea. But in practice, perhaps not so much.Ron Holland, G League Ignite, NBA

On Thursday, the NBA announced that the Ignite will be no more after four seasons.

“Four years ago, we started Ignite to fill a void in the basketball landscape, and I’m proud of the contributions we were able to make to that ecosystem,” G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a statement.  “With the changing environment across youth and collegiate basketball, now is the right time to take this step.  I want to extend my sincere gratitude to general manager Anthony McClish, head coach Jason Hart and their staff and to each player who wore an Ignite jersey.  

“As ever, the G League’s commitment to developing top NBA talent and helping players achieve their NBA dreams is unwavering.”

The Ignite’s purpose was to give players who didn’t want to attend college a place to play while they awaited the NBA Draft. For some, it really worked out well. Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green and Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga are among those who came to the league via the Ignite. Ron Holland, a member of this year’s team, is expected to be selected in the lottery, just as Portland Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson was last season.

But the money and interest have been severely lacking. This year’s Ignite team sports a miserable record of 2-28. They will finish the season, and then that’s it.

The idea that the Ignite concept has been a bust was recently broached by Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports.

“Why has the Ignite’s developmental track record been so poor? Some factors are beyond their control,” Eisenberg wrote. “These are teenagers playing in the cutthroat G League against grown men fighting for NBA contracts. Sloppy box-outs or sluggish transition defense inevitably gets punished. Even the most talented 18- and 19-year-olds will look overmatched at times in that environment.

“The G League also doesn’t teach young players to compete for a common goal the way that college basketball does. For all its faults, winning matters in the college game. The Ignite is more about skills development and showcasing that to NBA scouts.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently admitted that he was unsure about the Ignite’s future. That was likely the beginning of the end.

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