NBA G League

And-Ones: Henderson, Top Offseason Adds, 2022 Re-Draft

G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson, the consensus No. 2 prospect in the 2023 draft class, has been diagnosed with a nose fracture after entering the concussion protocols and missing the team’s last four games, writes Cody Taylor of Rookie Wire.

Although Henderson has already been sidelined since November 18, the injury isn’t considered a long-term one and he’s being listed as day-to-day for the time being. According to Taylor, there’s a chance Henderson will be cleared to return on Sunday when the Ignite host the South Bay Lakers.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Five G League Players Making Bids For NBA Call-Ups

The NBA G League’s regular season won’t begin for another month, but all 30 NBAGL teams are currently competing in the Showcase Cup, a round-robin event that culminates in a single-elimination tournament at the G League’s Winter Showcase from December 19-22.

We’re only midway through the 16-game Showcase Cup, with each NBAGL team having played between seven and 10 games so far, but a number of standout performers are making their mark.

Some of those top players, like Luka Garza of the Iowa Wolves or Jaden Hardy of the Texas Legends, are already under contract with NBA teams and aren’t free agents. But many of the G League players turning heads are free to sign with any NBA club at any time.

Listed below are five early G League standouts who are making strong cases to be considered for NBA call-ups at some point this season. This is hardly a comprehensive list of the NBAGL’s top performers — it’s a safe bet that many more will receive NBA consideration in the coming days, weeks, or months, especially when the 10-day signing period begins in January. But these five players are worth singling out for their early-season play.

Let’s dive in…

Sharife Cooper, G, Cleveland Charge

A two-way player with the Hawks last season, Cooper accepted a two-way qualifying offer from Atlanta in July, but was waived shortly thereafter and spent training camp with the Cavaliers, becoming an affiliate player for Cleveland.

In 10 games so far for the Charge, Cooper has been one of the G League’s most dynamic offensive players, pouring in 25.3 points per game on .489/.433/.811 shooting while also chipping in 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per night.

Cooper isn’t a consistent defender, but his offensive ability will intrigue NBA evaluators. He’s the G League’s reigning Performer of the Week after posting back-to-back 40-point games on November 15 and 17 and has helped lead the Charge to a 6-4 record.

Carlik Jones, G, Windy City Bulls

Jones, 25 next month, got a brief taste of NBA action last winter as a 10-day hardship signee for the Mavericks and the Nuggets, appearing in five total games for the two teams. After spending training camp with the Bulls, he’s back in the G League this season for the Windy City Bulls, whose 6-2 record places them atop the Central.

Jones has been a major reason for Windy City’s early success, leading the team with 17.5 PPG and 8.1 APG. After struggling to consistently make his three-pointers in his first pro season in 2021/22, the former Louisville standout is hitting 41.9% of his treys so far this season and making 1.6 per game.

Jay Huff, F/C, South Bay Lakers

Huff began the 2021/22 season on a two-way contract with the Lakers and made brief appearances in four NBA games before being waived in January. The 24-year-old is still in the organization at South Bay and has emerged as one of the G League’s most fearsome rim protectors — he has blocked 35 shots in his first eight games this season and comfortably leads the league with 4.4 BPG.

Huff’s impact has gone beyond his shot-blocking ability. He’s also one of South Bay’s go-to scorers, averaging 17.9 PPG on 68.1% shooting; he leads the club with 8.9 RPG; and he has even shown off some play-making ability, averaging 3.1 APG.

If Huff can boost his three-point rate a few points (currently 29.4%), he’ll become an even more appealing target for NBA teams looking to develop a frontcourt prospect.

James Akinjo, G, Westchester Knicks

Although Akinjo earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team during his final college season in 2021/22, the Baylor guard struggled mightily with his shot, making just 38.3% attempts from the field and 29.5% from beyond the arc. So it has been encouraging to see him boost those averages to 46.4% and 46.7% in his first seven G League games.

The Westchester Knicks are just 1-6 so far, but Akinjo has been a bright spot, pouring in 19.9 points per night and tying for the G League lead with an impressive 11.1 assists per game.

Jontay Porter, F/C, Wisconsin Herd

The younger brother of Michael Porter Jr., Jontay Porter is a former five-star recruit whose college career was derailed by a pair of ACL tears. He’s still just 23 years old though and has been healthy through the Herd’s first 10 games.

Despite playing just 26.2 minutes per game and primarily coming off the bench, Porter has filled up the box score in Wisconsin, averaging 16.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.8 BPG while making 3.1 three-pointers per game at a 46.3% rate.

The Grizzlies took a flier on Porter during the 2020/21 season and played him in 11 games — it may be just a matter of time before he earns another shot at the NBA level.

Western Notes: Jokic, Hyland, Porter Jr., Paul, Fox, Lakers

Reigning Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reports. The Nuggets center will miss at least Wednesday’s home tilt against the Knicks. Backup point guard Bones Hyland is also in the protocols.

The Nuggets a two-game set at Dallas after the Knicks game. Forward Aaron Gordon is listed as questionable to play on Wednesday due to a non-COVID illness.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone is pleased with the growth Michael Porter Jr. has displayed this season, Singer writes in a separate story. He has shown more discipline on the defensive end and his shot selection has improved offensively. “More important to me, deeper than the numbers, are the fact that offensively, like, I can count on one hand how many shots that he’s taken where you can say, ‘Probably not a great shot,’” Malone said.
  • Chris Paul hasn’t played since an abbreviated stint on Nov. 7 due to a sore right heel. The Suns point guard could be back in action on Wednesday. He’s listed as questionable to play against Golden State, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets.
  • Kings star guard De’Aaron Fox is switching agents and will be represented by Klutch Sports, Damien Barling and James Ham report (Twitter link). Fox was previously with Chris Gaston and Family First Sports Firm.
  • A trio of Lakers rehabbing from injuries — Thomas Bryant, Kendrick Nunn and Dennis Schröder — joined the G League’s South Bay Lakers for a practice and scrimmage Tuesday morning, Mark Medina of tweets. The Lakers recalled them after the practice.

Langston Galloway Signs With G League Team

Veteran guard Langston Galloway has joined the G League’s College Park Skyhawks, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Galloway, 30, was in training camp with the Pacers, but was waived before the start of the regular season. He has been playing for Team USA in World Cup qualifying games and scored 23 points Monday in a victory over Colombia.

Galloway has spent eight years in the NBA, including seven combined games last season with the Nets and Bucks after signing 10-day contracts with both teams. He has also played for the Knicks, Pelicans, Kings, Pistons and Suns and holds career averages of 8.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 452 career games.

College Park is the Hawks‘ G League affiliate.

Warriors To Send Wiseman To G League For Extended Stint

The Warriors will assign center James Wiseman to their G League affiliate in Santa Cruz for an “extended period,” head coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the team’s blowout win over San Antonio on Monday (Twitter video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

“It’s not going to be one game and bring him back,” Kerr said. “We want to give him maybe 10 straight days, something like that.”

Wiseman opened the season as a regular part of Golden State’s rotation off the bench, but struggled to produce consistently and was a DNP-CD for three straight games last week. He got back on the court on Monday vs. the Spurs, but only once the Warriors had already put the game out of reach. For the season, he has a -24.4 net rating in his 147 minutes.

While Kerr said he anticipates the former No. 2 overall pick regaining a rotation spot at some point, the Warriors want to make sure he’s getting regular playing time and game reps instead of sitting on the bench with the NBA club.

As Kendra Andrews of ESPN writes, Wiseman said on Monday that he isn’t viewing the move as a demotion. Jordan Poole spent time in the G League during the 2020/21 season before eventually breaking out for the Warriors, and he’s optimistic that – like it did for him – some time in Santa Cruz could serve his teammate well.

“I’m telling (Wiseman) this is not a demotion. This is not a punishment,” Poole said, according to Andrews. “… I’m telling him to go down there and take 50 shots, be aggressive, get techs, hang on the rim, do it all. Just so he can understand what he wants to be at the highest level. This is just a step in that direction.”

Santa Cruz is scheduled to play against the South Bay Lakers on Saturday, followed by a back-to-back set against the Salt Lake City Stars on Monday and Tuesday. If Wiseman stays with the team beyond that, he could square off against Scoot Henderson and the G League Ignite next Friday (November 25).

Kenneth Faried Joins Austin Spurs

Free agent power forward Kenneth Faried has signed a G League contract and joined the Austin Spurs, the team has announced today (Twitter link). Faried will be available to suit up for San Antonio’s G League affiliate tonight in its road game against the Lakeland Magic.

The eight-year NBA vet has been playing internationally since appearing in 37 games for Brooklyn and Houston during the 2018/19 season. A move to the Spurs‘ G League affiliate suggests the 6’8″ big man is holding out hope of making an NBA comeback.

This marks a bit of a pivot for Faried. Just two months ago, he had linked up with Mexican club Soles de Mexicali.

Faried was selected with the No. 22 pick out of Morehead State by the Nuggets in 2011. His motor and hustle endeared him to the Denver faithful almost immediately, and he was named to the 2012 All-Rookie First Team for his efforts. He would go on to spend the majority of his career in Denver before suiting up for the Nets and Rockets.

The 32-year-old has since spent time with teams in China, Puerto Rico, and Russia. After playing for the Trail Blazers’ 2021 Summer League team, Faried then joined the Nuggets’ NBAGL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold, for the 2021/22 season. Across 12 games for the Gold last year, including five starts, Faried averaged 10.8 PPG on 53.1% shooting, plus 7.3 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 1.0 APG and 0.6 SPG.

Through his 478 NBA contests, Faried holds averages of 11.4 PPG on 54.6% shooting, plus 8.1 RPG and 1.0 APG.

Southeast Notes: Banchero, Bol, Hachimura, Cain, Time Change

Top pick Paolo Banchero is off to a terrific start for the Magic but he might miss a game for the first time on Wednesday. He’s questionable to play against Dallas due to a left ankle sprain, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets.

Banchero is averaging 23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for the 2-9 Magic, who already have a handful of players out due to injuries.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Bol Bol has emerged as a candidate for the league’s Most Improved Player award, Josh Cohen of the team’s website writes. The 22-year-old big man played in just 14 games for Denver last season but has seen action in all of the Magic‘s games this season, including six starts. He’s averaging 11.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per night. “I think there’s so much more that he can show, but the one thing that I really appreciate about him and what he’s done is he’s just accepted whatever we are asking him to do, and he does it willingly,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said. Bol, acquired from Boston last season, is on a two-year contract but his $2.2MM salary for next season is not guaranteed.
  • Rui Hachimura has looked more comfortable coming off the bench this season, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Wizards forward contributed 16 points in 26 minutes against Charlotte on Monday. For the season, he’s shooting 46.2% from the field. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer if the team extends a qualifying offer.
  • Miami rookie Jamal Cain is on a tw0-way contract and he will have to get used to bouncing back and forth between the NBA and G League, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel details. The Heat‘s G League team is in Sioux Falls. “It tests you mentally,” Caleb Martin said. “You might be going down and playing 30-plus minutes and you might be coming up and watching the whole game. It’s just a good way to keep your mind ready.”
  • Due to tropical storm Nicole, the Magic-Mavericks game on Wednesday has been moved up to 5:30 p.m. ET, the Magic’s PR department tweets.

Southeast Notes: Davis, Ball, Herro, Martin, Strus

Many lottery picks wouldn’t be thrilled about a G League assignment. The Wizards’ Johnny Davis has a different take, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

Davis scored 13 points on 3-for-13 shooting in 26 minutes in his first outing for the Capital City Go-Go. He played 23 minutes and scored 17 points in his second G League game on Sunday.

The 10th overall pick is grateful to see so much court time.

“It was great to be able to finally play again,” Davis said. “Being with the Wizards, you always got to stay ready, but I’m glad they sent me down here so I can get some reps and just get that feeling back.”

Davis averaged six minutes in five NBA appearances before the assignment.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • LaMelo Ball could return this week from the left ankle sprain that has sidelined him since late in the preseason. His Hornets teammates are excited at the prospect of having their floor leader back, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer writes. “Super excited, super anxious,” Kelly Oubre said. “I tell him every day I miss him on the court. You know, he’s another element to our team that is through the roof. You can’t put a matchup on him.”
  • Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin are still adjusting to their new roles as starters for the Heat, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Herro is getting used to playing alongside other high-usage players, while Martin is getting most of his offensive opportunities around the 3-point line. “I think that’s what you need early on,” Martin said. “I think you need growing pains to figure things out and I’m glad we’re going through those now. It’s good to get that stuff out of the way, so you kind of nip a lot of stuff in the bud.”
  • Max Strus has only started three of 10 games for the Heat but he’s becoming an integral part of the closing unit, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. Strus has played the entire fourth quarter the past two games. “He does a lot of things for us defensively,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He can guard bigger guys. He can play really anywhere we want to in a zone. We also can put him in different matches in our man, and he’s really proficient, really good on the back side of our defense. And then offensively he’s just gaining confidence.”

NBA G League Affiliate Players For 2022/23

Throughout the offseason and preseason, NBA teams are permitted to carry 20 players, but that total must be cut down to 15 (plus a pair of two-way players) in advance of opening night. However, up to four players waived by teams prior to the season can be designated as “affiliate players” and assigned to their G League squads.

As we explain in our glossary entry on the subject, if a player’s NBA team has designated him as an affiliate player and he signs a G League contract, he is automatically assigned to that team’s NBAGL roster.

Of the G League’s 30 teams, 28 are directly affiliated with an NBA club. Only the Mexico City Capitanes and G League Ignite are unaffiliated, while only the Suns and Trail Blazers don’t control a G League team.

Here are the affiliate players for those 28 squads to start the 2022/23 season:

Austin Spurs (Spurs)

Birmingham Squadron (Pelicans)

Capital City Go-Go (Wizards)

Cleveland Charge (Cavaliers)

College Park Skyhawks (Hawks)

Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers)

Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers)

Grand Rapids Gold (Nuggets)

Greensboro Swarm (Hornets)

Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves)

Lakeland Magic (Magic)

Long Island Nets (Nets)

Maine Celtics (Celtics)

Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies)

Motor City Cruise (Pistons)

Oklahoma City Blue (Thunder)

Ontario Clippers (Clippers)

Raptors 905 (Raptors)

Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets)

Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz)

Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors)

Sioux Falls Skyforce (Heat)

South Bay Lakers (Lakers)

Stockton Kings (Kings)

Texas Legends (Mavericks)

Westchester Knicks (Knicks)

Windy City Bulls (Bulls)

Wisconsin Herd (Bucks)

In addition to these “affiliate players,” G League teams filled out their rosters with the following types of players:

  • Returning rights: Players whose G League rights were already held by the team from a previous season (or were acquired in a trade from another NBAGL team).
  • G League draft rights: Players who were selected in this season’s G League draft.
  • NBA draft rights: Players who were drafted by an NBA team and signed a G League contract instead of an NBA contract (like Gui Santos did).
  • Local tryout: Players who earned a shot via a local tryout.
  • G League player pool: Players who signed G League contracts and went undrafted (or signed their contracts after the draft). Newly signed players go through a waiver process and enter the league’s free agent pool if they go unclaimed.
  • Two-way contract: Players who are on a two-way contract with an NBA team and have been transferred to the G League.
  • NBA assignment: Players who are on a standard contract with an NBA team and have been assigned to the G League.

And-Ones: Henderson, 2023 Cap Room, Fredette, Hammon

After giving fans the opportunity to see more of top prospect Victor Wembanyama by announcing that all of this season’s Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 games will be available to watch for free on the NBA app, the league is taking a similar path with consensus No. 2 prospect Scoot Henderson.

According to the NBA, a series of G League Ignite games will be available to stream for free on the NBA App this season. The league announced that Henderson and the Ignite will be featured on the app eight times in November and December during the NBAGL’s Showcase Cup, starting on Friday — the Ignite will host the Oklahoma City Blue – the Thunder’s affiliate – tonight in the season opener.

Neither Wembanyama nor Henderson is taking the traditional U.S. college route that most top picks have in the past, opening the door for the NBA to take unique steps to market two players who have the potential to become perennial All-Stars in the league within the next few years.

Here are several more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Danny Leroux of The Athletic takes an early look at which teams do and don’t project to have cap room during the summer of 2023, identifying the Rockets, Pistons, Spurs, Magic, and Pacers as some of the teams with the most flexibility.
  • Former NBA lottery pick Jimmer Fredette, who didn’t have much NBA success but became a star in China, now hopes to be part of Team USA’s 3×3 basketball team for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Veteran broadcaster and analyst Fran Fraschilla is coaching the U.S. team and recruited Fredette for the qualifying process, including this week’s AmeriCup, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “I think Jimmer, unfortunately, was never in the right places in the NBA that valued what he can do,” Fraschilla said. “He can give us six to 10 weeks a year and he’ll have a great shot at being part of our Olympic team if we qualify.”
  • Las Vegas Aces head coach and former Spurs assistant Becky Hammon is joining ESPN as an NBA studio analyst for the 2022/23 season, as Richard Deitsch of The Athletic details.
  • Sam Yip of HoopsHype takes a look at the NBA players who took the biggest year-to-year pay cuts in league history, starting with Celtics big man Blake Griffin.