Big men Amir Johnson and Jessie Govan are returning to the G League Ignite for a second season, and they’ll be joined by forward Malik Pope and guards Dakarai Allen, Amauri Hardy, and Pooh Jeter, our JD Shaw relays (via Twitter).
The Ignite is the G League’s developmental program for top prospects, but those young players are complemented by a handful of NBA and NBAGL vets who fill out the roster and serve as mentors.
Among this year’s group, Johnson is the only one with extensive NBA experience, having appeared in 870 total games for the Pistons, Raptors, Celtics, and Sixers from 2005-19. He averaged 8.5 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 15 games (13.3 MPG) for the Ignite last season.
Jeter, who will turn 38 in December, played in 62 games for Sacramento back in 2010/11, but has spent most of his professional career overseas.
Allen and Pope, who went undrafted out of San Diego State in 2017 and 2018, respectively, have multiple years of G League experience between them, and Pope has also played in Greece and Germany as well.
Hardy, meanwhile, went undrafted out of Oregon earlier this year and presumably earned a spot on the team in large part because his brother Jaden Hardy, a projected top-five pick in 2022, is the Ignite’s top recruit this year.
Besides Jaden Hardy, who is ESPN’s No. 3 ranked prospect for the 2022 draft, the Ignite roster features Dyson Daniels (No. 16), Michael Foster (No. 31), MarJon Beauchamp (No. 53), Chinese forward Fanbo Zeng (not in ESPN’s top 100), and 17-year-old Scoot Henderson (not draft-eligible until 2023). ESPN’s Mike Schmitz (Insider link) shared his thoughts on this year’s roster ahead of the Ignite’s preseason debut on Friday night vs. Iowa.
The Ignite won’t be part of the standard G League regular season that runs from December to April, but the club will compete in the NBAGL’s inaugural “Showcase Cup,” a tournament which tips off on November 5 and ends just before Christmas.