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The Minors, Basketball Style

The National Basketball Developmental League is expanding.

NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today that the National Basketball Development League has awarded teams to four Southwest U.S. cities for the 2005-06 season. The teams will be owned and operated by Southwest Basketball, LLC, led by former Indiana Pacers general manager David Kahn.

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The NBDL teams in Albuquerque, N.M., Austin and Fort Worth, Texas, and Tulsa, Okla. join the Florida Flame (Ft. Myers) as teams independently owned and operated in the league. The Asheville Altitude (N.C.), Columbus Riverdragons (Ga.), Fayetteville Patriots (N.C.), Huntsville Flight (Ala.) and Roanoke Dazzle (Va.) are owned and operated by the NBA.

Brian blogged here about the quality of relative competition in the NCAA's top division. He notes that the NBA picks the talent from the right tail of the talent distribution leaving the fat part of the distribution and the left tail for the teams in the NCAA. The NBDL expansion will likely cause a further erosion of the right part of the distribution, enhancing the quality of relative competition within NCAA's top division. But is this better for the NCAA? Will the enhancement of relative competition improve whatever it is that the NCAA tries to maximize?

From the NCAA's point of view, enhancing the quality of relative competition from lopping off the talent at the big-time programs surely must be different than enhancing the quality of relative competition from improving the talent at the Woffords and Davidsons of the world.