I think that is a fair concern, and it is at least worth a couple of paragraphs. First, there has been quite an exodus overseas for some of top D-League talent from the previous season. Guys like Looby, Malik Hairston, Desmon Farmer, Antoine Aguido, and Mo Almond have left (or taken their talents to -- I'm sure that joke never gets old!) overseas for greener (yes, I mean cash) pastures. Just look at the hit our team has taken -- Rob Kurz, Sean Sonderleiter, Ron Howard, Jared Reiner, Ryan Ayers, Skip Mills, and Jamelle Cornley have all gone overseas. That is obviously a big hit for us, as they could all have really helped us this year. Moreover, I have had conversations with players like Coleman Collins and Earl Calloway who considered coming back, but instead took the money overseas.
With that in mind, you can understand Scott's concern of what we will have left in the D-League. Yet, I think the league will have a very good talent pool and will always have a good talent pool for the following reasons. First, while the names will change, I think we will see a case of the next man up. In other words, while we may lose a great scorer like Farmer to Europe, maybe we will see another player who had decent year last year step up to the next level this year. On our team a good example of that could be Rod Wilmont. We have depended on Ron Howard the past couple of years to be a top notch scorer and defender for us. At the end of last year, Rod looked like he was capable of taking that duty upon himself, and nothing I have seen this summer has disabused me of that notion. Carlos English has gone from a defender who got spot minutes with Dakota, to a bench spark plug for us last season who showed that he could also run a team and contribute on offense (reflected by our 8-1 record with him in the lineup), and I am hoping he is working on his game so he can continue his upward trend on the basketball court. So, while we lose one guy overseas, I think we will always see other players in the league fill that vacuum and thrive once the opportunity is provided that may not have otherwise been there if the Desmon Farmers of the world had returned.
Second, I think you will see new players come in and shoot right to the top of the ladder and become great players in our league. Two examples come to mind -- Othyus Jeffers and Reggie Williams. Othyus came from a small school in Chicago and became one of the best (and toughest) players in our league. Reggie Williams had a great career at a smaller school, but I think few knew he would become a superstar in our league and develop into a legit rotation player/spot starter on a NBA club in such a short time. It will be fun to watch who steps up this year and fills that role in the league.
Third, I think that our signing period coincides well with when the Euro teams are making their first round of cuts of players. Once the season starts overseas, some teams do poorly, and they react quickly in making changes to players. The D-League is always a good option for someone once they get cut overseas because, while there is less money, there is better stability and better exposure for the player. Curtis Stinson is a great example. Last year, he was an early cut in Greece, and he comes back and is the best point guard in our league. Moreover, if they can have a good year here, it will go a long way to rehabbing their resume, because a cut overseas can be tough on a player and their future ability to get other jobs overseas.
Finally, don't forget all the guys who are going to be cut this year from NBA camps. Guys like Cartier Martin, Othyus Jeffers, Oliver Lafayette, Chris Hunter, and a host of other talented players from the D-League are headed to NBA camps and they won't all make it. Rather than run overseas, I suspect (and hope!) that some of them realize that they are NBA players and, even if it means coming back to the D-League, they stay in the States and wait for the team that will be the right fit (a la Anthony Tolliver). Once players like those find the right spot, they will be in the league for the better part of their careers.
In the end, I suppose the message intended in this rambling jumble of words is don't despair about the talent in the league. It will always at a high level, and it will be fun to watch who steps out of the shadows to become the next D-League darling.