Has G League Ignite Concept Been A Bust?

The G League Ignite was invented to help young stars develop while getting paid. Well, guess what? You can now do that in college basketball.Ron Holland, G League Ignite, NBA

All of this was covered in an excellent piece by Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports, who wrote that the Ignite have been mostly a flop since their inception in 2020.

“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.”

Granted, some alums have gone on to a fair amount of success in the NBA. Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green and Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga are two examples. Rookie guard Scoot Henderson eventually may be another. But overall, the Ignite have been a pathway to little more than becoming a late second-round pick.

As it stands, the Ignite are 2-19 and getting hammered on a nightly basis, with NBA commissioner Adam Silver saying he’s uncertain about their future.

“Between the struggles of the Ignite and the dawning of college basketball’s NIL era, it’s easy to wonder if the NBA has the appetite anymore to pay top prospects to develop in the G League,” Eisenberg wrote. 

You can check out his full column here.

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