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Diamonds in the rough

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Editor's Note: This is the fourth installment of a five-part series this week examining the possibility and impact of a full NBA minor league system similar to the model used in Major League Baseball. Today we explore what impact such a system would have on the NBA draft.

It's December 2010.

Joe Lacob and Pete Gruber had just purchased the Warriors. The team had made the playoffs only once in the past 16 years and Lacob came in determined to change the entire culture of a franchise.

One of Lacob's first acts (before he even officially took over as owner) was to persuade the past ownership team to sign an undrafted free agent, local product Jeremy Lin, to a non-guaranteed contract shortly after the 2010 draft.

Lin, who played high school ball in Palo Alto before going to college at Harvard, was a favorite of Lacob. Warriors fans needed something to cheer for and signing Lin was, if nothing else, a tip of the hat to hardcore fans.