(Photo via NBA.COM)
Earlier this past NBA season, the Grizzlies announced that they would be moving their D-League (now G-League) affiliate team from Iowa to the Landers Center in Mississippi. With change of location came change of name and the newly transitioned team was dubbed the Memphis Hustle and given a classic style with the same red that stole fans hearts with the Sounds jerseys. But this move is much more beneficial than giving local fans another basketball option.
The location change alone cut the distance from a 618 mile ride from Memphis to Wells Fargo Arena in Iowa, to 17 miles when going to the Landers Center. This gives younger players the ability to have a more permanent residence locally, have coaching staff keep a closer eye on growing talent, and lets the ability for minor league call ups to happen more often. Besides players, the coaching staff and upper management will have increased communications with the Grizzlies, furthering overall organizational development from both ends.
For a team like the Grizzlies who have had difficulty developing youth in the past, this is a huge step forward in the right direction. While the Iowa Energy were one of the worst teams last year, other teams such as the Raptors, Lakers, and Thunder have some of the best teams in the G-League and all are located within driving distances between the minor and pro teams. The transition from Iowa to Mississippi is very important to Memphis and could hopefully be the next push they need when it comes to development.