Brian Howell
Brian Howell
Andre Roberson's father, John, told me on Tuesday that a big reason Andre decided to leave Colorado and enter the NBA Draft is to get a better opportunity to develop his game.

Some basketball fans might laugh a bit at that reasoning. After all, with millions of dollars spent on players, a limited number of roster spots and 82 games a year, the NBA doesn't seem to be in the business of teaching players. Most NBA teams want guys who can contribute right away.

Yet, that is exactly why the league has the NBA Development League. With 16 teams in the D-League, dozens of players who aren't ready for the NBA get an opportunity every year to do exactly what Roberson is hoping to do, by working on improving their game.

The reality of Roberson's situation is that he likely will have a tough time making an NBA roster for the 2013-14 season. He is projected to be taken among the last 10-15 picks in the June draft. Many players taken that late don't ever make it to the NBA, and a lot of the ones that do wind up going through the D-League first.

The NBA is the dream, but the D-League is not a bad option for a player like Roberson.

Should he spend next season in the D-League, Roberson would certainly have a better opportunity to improve his game than he would have as a member of the Colorado Buffaloes. The D-League has a 50-game schedule and, without having to worry about attending classes in Boulder, Roberson will have unlimited time to work on his game.


And and he can do it in an environment that doesn't bring nearly the pressure that the NBA brings.

Nearly 130 current NBA players have D-League experience, including Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin, Charlotte Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions and San Antonio Spurs swingman Danny Green. Denver Nuggets center Kosta Koufos and former CU Buff Chris Copeland, now with the New York Knicks, have also been through the D-League.

Another former Buff, Cory Higgins, averaged 18.5 points per game for the D-League's Erie Bayhawks this season. Higgins got a chance to play in six games with the Bobcats this past season.

Only time will tell if Roberson winds up having a long NBA career, or if his career takes a long path through the D-League and/or overseas leagues. Regardless, Roberson feels ready to move on, and it's worth a shot. He's got a lot of skills that can help a team, whether it's in the NBA or elsewhere. It should be fun to see what Roberson does in the future.