Just like how baseball has the minors, the NBA has the D-League. This is an association where players too good for college, but not quite ready for the big leagues, go to develop their games to the point where they can make an impact for a professional team.
This season, the D-League has some players who are doing so well that it's a wonder teams at the next level have not taken notice.
Take JaJuan Johnson (pictured), for example. Here is a man who averaged 20.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game his senior year at Purdue, but whose lean 6'10", 221-pound frame rendered him ineffective in the NBA.
After being waived by the Houston Rockets before the start of the regular season, he was taken first overall in the 2012 D-League draft and has done fine work there.
Johnson and other D-Leaguers have numbers that are head-turning. With certain teams needing to fill holes just one month into the season, GMs would be wise not to just scope the free-agent market, but to check the D-League for some NBA-ready talent that can help fire up the fans.