The NBA G League’s new “Select Team” appears likely to be introduced in 2020/21 by way of a single squad that features five-star recruits Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd, but the league has greater long-term aspirations for its new developmental program, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).
Sources tell Stein that the NBA would like to eventually grow the G League Select Team concept to turn it into a full G League division featuring multiple teams that play against one another. Based on what we’ve heard about the first Select Team, it sounds like those clubs wouldn’t be affiliate with a specific NBA franchise and wouldn’t take part in the normal NBAGL regular season schedule.
It’s not clear if and when that will happen – it will depend in part on how the first year plays out – but the NBAGL has talked about recruiting enough players to put together four or five teams down the road, per Stein (Twitter link). That lines up with an earlier report which suggested that the G League has already started reaching out to members of the 2021 recruiting class.
Besides featuring some top high school prospects who are forgoing the college route, the NBA G League Select Team will include several veteran players who will serve as mentors, many of whom will be trying to get to – or return to – the NBA themselves. According to Stein (via Twitter), those leadership roles for veteran players may also help them launch future coaching or front office careers.
Finding enough players interested in filling such a role will be one potential hurdle if the G League eventually aims to put together several squads, Stein notes. Navigating possible changes to the NBA’s one-and-done rule will be another — if the league eventually permits prospects to enter the draft directly out of high school, it would likely limit the appeal of the NBAGL’s program.
Reports this week indicated that former NBA Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell will assume the role of head coach for the new G League Select Team, having previously coached Green in AAU. However, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press cautions (via Twitter) that it’s not a done deal yet.
It also remains to be seen whether other top prep prospects will join Green and Todd in the NBAGL. Five-star recruit Greg Brown, who will be making his decision on Friday, has listed the G League as one of his six finalists (Instagram link).