NBA G League

New York Notes: Randle, Quickley, Burrell, Johnson

Julius Randle‘s ankle injury came at a very bad time, but the Knicks believe they can keep winning while he mends, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes.

“I think it takes more focus being down an All-Star, but I’m very confident in our team and how we can handle things,” Jalen Brunson said.

The Knicks won their last two games heading into their showdown with Cleveland on Friday. “We have more than enough guys that are capable of helping out,” Brunson said. “That’s what a team is for and that’s what we do, we’re professionals.”

Obi Toppin started in Randle’s place on Friday, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley shot 44.8 percent on two-point attempts last season. That stat is up to 52.9 percent this season and he credits associate head coach Johnnie Bryant and personal trainer Reese Whitley, according to Mark Sanchez of the New York Post. Whitley’s workout regimen has made Quickley stronger, while Bryant has devoted extra attention to his on-court effectiveness. “Before every game, I watch a lot of film of the team I’m about to play, spots on the floor that I can pretty much be effective,” Quickley said. “Johnnie Bryant has helped me a lot, just being able to work with him every single day and being able to pick his brain.”
  • Long Island Nets coach Ronnie Burrell has been named the NBA G League Coach of the Year, the NBA’s PR department tweets. After defeating the Cleveland Charge on Friday, Long Island advanced in the playoffs and will host Delaware in the G League Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.
  • Cameron Johnson is thriving with a bigger offensive role than he had with the Suns, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes. Since being traded in the Kevin Durant blockbuster, Johnson is averaging more minutes (30.4), shots (12.4), points (16.7), rebounds (4.7) and assists (2.1) per game than he did with the Suns. “That’s part of the beauty of the situation,” Johnson said of joining the Nets. He’ll be a restricted free agent this summer.

Kings Notes: Dellavedova, Johnson, Huerter, Murray

Kings reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova has a fractured finger, James Ham of The Kings Beat relays via a team update (Twitter link).

Dellavedova suffered a right index finger fracture during the fourth quarter against Portland on Wednesday. Treatment options are being mulled and there’s no timetable for his return.

The 32-year-old has appeared in 32 games off the bench but is only averaging 6.7 minutes in those outings. He’s playing on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.

We have more on the playoff-bound Kings:

  • Stockton Kings GM Paul Johnson has been named the NBA G League Basketball Executive of the Year, according to a press release from the team. Johnson became the first executive in Stockton history to earn the award after leading basketball operations for the last two seasons. Stockton finished with the best regular season record (25-7) and matched the franchise single-season record for victories with regular season wins and Showcase Cup wins combined (37). However, the team was upset in the G League playoffs this week.
  • Several teams were interested in acquiring Kevin Huerter when the offseason began last summer, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. The Kings were not one of the teams his representatives initially mentioned to him. However, Sacramento and Atlanta soon came to terms on a deal for Huerter, who was vacationing in Spain at the time. Huerter was expecting to get dealt after the Hawks acquired Dejounte Murray. “It just felt like there were too many cooks in the kitchen,” Huerter said. “Somebody was gonna go.”
  • Lottery pick Keegan Murray has set the league record for most 3-pointers by a rookie, according to a league press release. Murray sank his record-breaking 188th 3-pointer of the season on Wednesday. Donovan Mitchell previously held the record, having knocked down 187 during the 2017/18 season. “Breaking any type of records at the highest level in anything you do is absolutely amazing. And to see Keegan do that (Wednesday), with the way he’s played all year and how hard he’s worked, was an amazing feat,” coach Mike Brown said.

Scoot Henderson To Be Shut Down For Rest Of Season

The G League Ignite are shutting down star prospect Scoot Henderson for the remainder of the NBAGL season, a league official tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). The Ignite have five games left in the regular season, which concludes on March 25.

As Givony explains, the Ignite – who have an 11-16 record and rank 10th in the G League’s Western Conference – aren’t expected to reach the top six and make the playoffs. Additionally, the league feels Henderson has shown enough this season to prove his bona fides as one of the top picks in this year’s draft.

Henderson averaged 21.2 PPG, 5.8 APG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.7 SPG on .485/.471/.706 shooting in six games (28.5 MPG) during the G League’s Showcase Cup in the fall. Since the NBAGL’s regular season began, he has put up 16.5 PPG, 6.8 APG, and 5.3 RPG in 19 appearances (30.7 MPG), though his shooting numbers (.429/.275/.764) dipped quite a bit.

For much of the 2022/23 season, Henderson has been viewed as a long shot to go No. 1 in the 2023 draft – due to Victor Wembanyama‘s presence at the top of this year’s class – but a virtual lock to be the second player off the board. However, his grip on that No. 2 may have loosened in recent weeks due to his up-and-down performance during the G League’s regular season.

John Hollinger of The Athletic noted on Monday that Henderson’s inconsistent play has “started to raise some eyebrows” at the same time that possible No. 3 pick Brandon Miller has been thriving on the court in Alabama. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter video link) conveyed a similar sentiment in a recent TV appearance, suggesting that teams believe Miller is “firmly in the mix” at No. 2.

Ignite’s Leonard Miller Reiterates Plan To Enter Draft

G League Ignite forward Leonard Miller plans to enter this year’s draft, he told Libaan Osman of The Toronto Star.

Miller entered the week as the Ignite’s second leading scorer at 15.1 points per game, trailing only guard Scoot Henderson, the consensus No. 2 prospect in the draft. Miller also led the Ignite at 8.6 rebounds per game. Miller had 16 points and eight rebounds in the Ignite’s loss to Raptors 905 on Monday.

Miller could sneak into the lottery if his stock continues to trend upward. He’s currently ranked No. 22 on ESPN’s Best Available list and No. 4 among power forwards.

The Canadian-born Miller was considered a second-round prospect when he withdrew from last year’s draft. He decided against attending a U.S. college, instead signing with the Ignite in September. He first revealed his plans to enter his name in this year’s draft in late December when he was ranked No. 26 on ESPN’s big board.

Miller had 19 points and eight rebounds in the G League Next Up game during All-Star weekend last month.

“It was one of the best experiences in my life,” Miller said. “I had a lot of fun. It was good to go in there and compete against all the rising stars that are going to change the league in years to come.”

And-Ones: Darlan, Ignite, 2023 Draft, Vet Extensions, Team Canada

The G League Ignite has secured another top prospect for the 2023/24 season. Thierry Darlan, a point guard from the NBA Academy Africa in Senegal, has committed to the Ignite, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

According to Givony, Darlan drew interest from NCAA schools like Arizona, Kansas, and Santa Clara, but has decided to compete in the G League rather than going the college route. Although the 19-year-old is technically eligible to enter the 2023 draft, per Givony, he’s expected to wait until 2024 to declare as an early entrant.

In his latest 2024 mock draft, Givony projected Darlan to be the No. 45 pick. The 6’7″ guard becomes the fourth prospect projected to be drafted in ’24 who will suit up for the Ignite next season, joining Babacar Sane (No. 24 in Givony’s mock), London Johnson (No. 31), and potential No. 1 pick Matas Buzelis.

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

  • In a pair of articles this week for Bleacher Report, Jonathan Wasserman shares a new two-round 2023 mock draft and received input from scouts on which college players’ stocks have risen and fallen the most in recent weeks. Gonzaga’s Julian Strawther and Santa Clara’s Brandin Podziemski are among the risers, while Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis and Oregon’s Kel’el Ware are a couple of the fallers.
  • Following up on a report from Shams Charania that indicated the new CBA could change the rules for veteran contract extensions, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype explores why those modifications have been deemed necessary and considers which players could be most affected by the potential tweaks.
  • While Team USA is no longer requiring its stars to make multiyear commitments to the program, the Canadian national team secured three-year commitments from stars like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jamal Murray and appears well positioned to send a competitive squad to this year’s World Cup and perhaps next year’s Olympics, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Greg Brown Signs With Ontario Clippers

Former Trail Blazers forward Greg Brown has signed a rest-of-season deal with the Ontario Clippers, L.A.’s G League affiliate, according to Albert De Roa of HoopsHype.

Brown was a highly touted prospect entering college, but his stock fell ahead of the 2021 draft, as he was selected 43rd overall after one season at Texas. The raw, athletic forward only made 16 appearances for a total of 93 minutes this season with Portland.

The Blazers waived Brown to accommodate new acquisitions as part of a four-team trade last month. He will receive his full $1.54MM salary for 2022/23.

In 64 games with Portland over the past two seasons, the 21-year-old holds career averages of 4.0 PPG and 2.4 RPG on .422/.294/.636 shooting in 11.5 MPG. In four regular season games (27.0 MPG) with Ontario, he has averaged 15.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG and 2.0 BPG on .375/.280/.750 shooting.

And-Ones: Dorsey, Muhammad, B. Miller, Tall Ball

The Texas Legends – the Mavericks‘ G League affiliate – have parted ways with guard Tyler Dorsey, the team announced today (via Twitter). Dorsey had been averaging 18.9 points per game with a .370 3PT% in 12 regular season appearances (30.7 MPG) for the Legends.

It’s possible Dorsey recognized that no NBA call-up opportunities were imminent and requested his release — as a Eurohoops story notes, March 1 is the deadline for EuroLeague teams to add new players to their rosters, and Dorsey reportedly drew interest from multiple clubs in the EuroLeague when he was waived by Dallas earlier this season.

Meanwhile, the Texas Legends announced on Friday that they’ve reacquired veteran forward Justin Jackson. Jackson, who played for the Legends last season, spent most of this season in Boston, but was traded to Oklahoma City at this month’s trade deadline and was subsequently waived by the Thunder.

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

  • Free agent wing Shabazz Muhammad has agreed to a “significant” deal with Beirut Club in Lebanon, his agency Edge Sports International announced (via Twitter). The former first-round pick signed a G League contract earlier this season as he attempted to make his way back to the NBA, but will continue his career overseas for now.
  • After police testimony earlier this week revealed that star Alabama prospect Brandon Miller allegedly brought the gun that was used in the killing of a woman on the Tuscaloosa strip last month, Miller’s attorney issued a statement attempting to clarify the 20-year-old’s role (or lack thereof) in the incident (link via Jeff Goodman of Stadium). As Jeff Borzello of ESPN writes, the school announced in a statement on Wednesday that Miller would continue to play for the Crimson Tide, since he’s “not considered a suspect in this case, only a cooperative witness.” Several hours later, Miller scored a career-high 41 points in an overtime win over South Carolina.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic explores the resurgence of “Tall Ball” across the NBA, pointing to frontcourt pairings in Cleveland (Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley), Milwaukee (Brook Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo), and Washington (Kristaps Porzingis, Daniel Gafford) as some examples of the trend.

NBA G League Announces 24 Players For Next Up Game

The NBA G League announced today that G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson and Timberwolves/Iowa Wolves forward Luka Garza have been named team captains for the NBAGL Next Up Game, which will take place in Salt Lake City during All-Star weekend.

While the exhibition match isn’t technically being called a G League All-Star Game, that’s essentially what it is. The 24-player pool was selected by a fan vote and by the league itself.

Henderson averaged 21.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, and 4.3 RPG in six Showcase Cup games (28.5 MPG) before missing time with an injury. The guard, widely projected to be the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, has registered 17.7 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.5 RPG in 11 regular season games (29.8 MPG) since returning.

Garza, meanwhile, has been dominant at the G League level while playing for the Timberwolves on a two-way contract. He averaged 29.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 3.2 APG on .628/.500/.794 shooting in nine Showcase Cup games (34.4 MPG) and has been boosted those averages in two regular season games (32.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 5.0 APG) for the Iowa Wolves.

Here’s the full list of players who will take part in the G League Next Up Game:

(* Players marked with an asterisk are on two-way contracts with NBA teams.)

As is the case with the NBA All-Star Game, the team captains – in this case, Henderson and Garza – will select their 12-man squads in a draft. The draft for the G League Next Up Game will take place on February 14.

Elfrid Payton Signs G League Contract

Free agent guard Elfrid Payton has signed a contract to play in the NBA G League, sources tell veteran reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Payton, who turns 29 in a few weeks, was a lottery pick back in 2014, selected 10th overall by the Magic. He spent last season with the Suns on a minimum-salary contract, but didn’t see much playing time as the third string point guard, appearing in 50 games with career lows in minutes per game (11.0), points (3.0), rebounds (1.8), assists (2.0), FG% (38.3) and FT% (37.5).

While Payton has never been a great shooter, posting a career .447/.287/.623 slash line, he has been an above-average rebounder and decent play-maker. Across 500 regular-season games (395 starts, 26.8 MPG) with Orlando, New Orleans, New York and Phoenix, he holds career averages of 10.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.2 steals.

The eight-year veteran is joining a growing list of free agents attempting to drum up interest by playing in the NBAGL. Other veterans who have signed G League deals in the past couple months include Tony Snell, Stanley Johnson (now with the Spurs), Sterling Brown (who later inked a 10-day deal with the Lakers), David Nwaba and Andre Roberson, among others.

Thunder’s G League Affiliate Acquires Andre Roberson

The Oklahoma City Blue, the NBA G League affiliate of the Thunder, has acquired veteran NBA wing Andre Roberson, the team announced (via Twitter).

After being drafted 26th overall in 2013, Roberson spent his first seven seasons with the Thunder. He emerged as one of the league’s top defensive players before a major knee injury and a series of setbacks derailed his career.

Roberson, who turned 31 in December, last played for the Nets during the 2020/21 season, making five appearances. In 307 career regular-season games (269 starts, 22.2 MPG), the very limited offensive player averaged 4.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 0.9 SPG on .473/.253/.468 shooting.

Considering he has played 12 games since January 27, 2018, and his most recent appearance was March 3, 2021, it’s safe to say it’s a long shot that Roberson will make it back to the NBA. Still, it would be a great story if his comeback attempt is successful.