NBA G League

NBA G League Announces 2019/20 All-NBAGL Teams

After being named the G League’s Most Valuable Player on Thursday, Wisconsin Herd guard Frank Mason III – who is on a two-way contract with the Bucks – headlines the All-NBA G League First Team, as the league announced today in a press release.

Mason was joined on the All-NBAGL first team by teammate Jaylen Adams, as well as Salt Lake City Stars forward Jarrell Brantley, South Bay Lakers big man Devontae Cacok, and Memphis Hustle forward Jarrod Uthoff. Mason, Brantley, and Cacok are currently on two-way contracts with NBA teams.

That’s a common theme for this year’s All-NBAGL teams. The majority of the 15 players named to the three squads are either currently on two-way contracts or have had NBA experience in the past.

The complete list of the 2019/20 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players currently on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).

All-NBAGL First Team:

  • Jaylen Adams (Wisconsin Herd)
  • Jarrell Brantley (Salt Lake City Stars) ^
  • Devontae Cacok (South Bay Lakers) ^
  • Frank Mason III (Wisconsin Herd) ^
  • Jarrod Uthoff (Memphis Hustle)

All-NBAGL Second Team:

All-NBAGL Third Team:

NBAGL All-Rookie Team:

  • Jarrell Brantley (Salt Lake City Stars) ^
  • Devontae Cacok (South Bay Lakers) ^
  • Donta Hall (Grand Rapids Drive)
  • Marial Shayok (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Tremont Waters (Maine Red Claws) ^

NBAGL All-Defensive Team:

Of the 20 players who earned a spot on one of the G League’s All-NBAGL or All-Defensive teams this year, only four – Adams, Jones, Koumadje, and Hollins – haven’t been on some form of standard, two-way, or 10-day NBA contract since the ’19/20 season began.

Adams and Jones have previous NBA experience, while Koumadje and Hollins have yet to make their regular-season NBA debuts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Klutch, T. Young, Blazers, Jazz

Veteran NBA agent Omar Wilkes has left Octagon Sports and will become the head of basketball at Klutch Sports, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the move will create a path for Rich Paul to “expand his scope” as the company’s CEO. Although Paul will continue to work with Klutch’s basketball clients, the hiring of Wilkes will allow him to commit more time to the agency’s newer MLB and NFL divisions, Woj adds.

Wilkes’ most noteworthy client at Octagon, rising Hawks star Trae Young, has cut ties with the agency and appears likely to follow Wilkes to Klutch, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Chris Kirschner of The Athletic cautions that CAA and Roc Nation have reached out as well, but says Young figures to end up with Klutch, since he and Wilkes are “incredibly close” (Twitter links).

Cam Reddish, OG Anunoby, and draft prospect Anthony Edwards were among Wilkes’ other clients at Octagon. It’s unclear whether they’ll remain at Octagon or stick with Wilkes as he makes the move to Klutch.

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

  • A pair of sports representation agencies – Tandem and You First – have merged, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski relays (via Twitter). Tandem president Jim Tanner will be the president of basketball for the merged firm, which will rebrand with a new name, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Between them, Tandem and You First represent a number of notable NBA players, including Ja Morant, Kristaps Porzingis, and Serge Ibaka.
  • The coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on the Trail Blazers‘ operations, according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, who reports that the team laid off about 40 employees – 15% of its workforce – and reduced salaries for anyone in a director role. The cuts affected multiple departments and also impacted the team’s arena management company, Rip City Management, per Freeman.
  • In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Seth Partnow makes a case against the 82-game season, suggesting that the NBA has an opportunity to experiment in 2020/21, with the season tentatively scheduled to start at least a month or two later than usual.
  • The Salt Lake City Stars took home a pair of NBA G League end-of-season awards, with Martin Schiller earning Coach of the Year honors and VP of basketball operations Bart Taylor named Basketball Executive of the Year. The Jazz‘ NBAGL affiliate finished the 2019/20 season with a 30-12 record, giving the Stars a comfortable hold on the No. 1 seed in the West.

Bucks Two-Way Player Frank Mason Named NBAGL MVP

Frank Mason III, who has spent the 2019/20 season on a two-way contract with the Bucks, has been named the NBA G League’s Most Valuable Player, the league announced today in a press release.

The 34th overall pick in the 2017 draft, Mason spent his first two professional seasons with the Kings before being waived by Sacramento last July. In his first year under contract with Milwaukee, he appeared in just six games for the Bucks, spending most of the season with the Wisconsin Herd.

In 23 games for Milwaukee’s G League affiliate this season, Mason averaged a league-leading 26.4 PPG to go along with 5.0 APG and 3.4 RPG in 31.5 minutes per contest. He also posted an impressive .504/.425/.815 shooting line, and helped lead the Herd to a league-best 33-10 record. The team was 18-5 in games Mason played.

Mason’s two-way contract is reportedly set to expire at season’s end, so the Bucks will have to sign him to a new deal if they hope to keep him beyond 2019/20.

Mason beat out Herd teammate Jaylen Adams and Celtics two-way player Tremont Waters in NBAGL MVP voting — Adams and Waters finished second and third, respectively.

Heat’s Gabe Vincent Named NBAGL Most Improved Player

Heat two-way player Gabe Vincent has been named the NBA G League’s Most Improved Player for the 2019/20 season, the league announced today in a press release.

Vincent, who went undrafted out of UC Santa Barbara in 2018, played for the Stockton Kings – Sacramento’s G League affiliate – in his first professional season, averaging 8.4 PPG, 2.4 APG, and 2.2 RPG on .382/.291/.710 shooting in 25 games (17.8 MPG).

He took a major step forward in 2019/20, first for Stockton and then for the Sioux Falls Skyforce – Miami’s NBAGL affiliate – after he signed a two-way deal with the Heat in January. In 31 total games (29.3 MPG), Vincent recorded 21.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 2.1 APG with a .450/.406/.923 shooting line. The 6’3″ guard also made his NBA debut earlier this year, appearing in six total games for the Heat.

The runners-up in the G League’s Most Improved Player vote are also under contract with NBA teams. Raptors two-way player Paul Watson finished second, with Warriors guard Mychal Mulder coming in third.

Celtics’ Tremont Waters Named NBAGL Rookie Of The Year

Celtics two-way player Tremont Waters has been named the NBA G League Rookie of the Year for the 2019/20 season, the league announced today in a press release.

The 51st overall pick in the 2019 draft, Waters didn’t receive the attention from media and fans that fellow Celtics two-way player Tacko Fall did, but the former LSU guard thrived in his first professional season.

In addition to appearing in 10 games for Boston, Waters was Maine’s starting point guard for 36 games, averaging 18.0 PPG, 7.3 APG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.0 SPG with a shooting line of .429/.354/.780 in 33.8 minutes per contest. He helped lead the Red Claws to a 28-14 record, good for third in the NBAGL’s Eastern Conference.

Previous NBA G League Rookies of the Year don’t necessarily have a lengthy track record of eventual NBA success, but several recent recipients of the award have become rotation players at the NBA level, including Quinn Cook, Abdel Nader, Tim Frazier, and especially Robert Covington.

Waters beat out Jarrell Brantley and Devontae Cacok, who finished second and third, respectively, in the NBAGL Rookie of the Year vote. Brantley plays for the Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz‘s affiliate, while Cacok is a member of the South Bay Lakers.

Christ Koumadje Named NBAGL Defensive Player Of The Year

Now that the remainder of the NBA G League’s 2019/20 season has been officially canceled, the league is moving forward with its end-of-season awards, announcing today that Delaware Blue Coats big man Christ Koumadje has been named the NBAGL Defensive Player of the Year.

Koumadje, who went undrafted out of Florida State in 2019, signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Sixers last July. Philadelphia waived him before the season began and made him an affiliate player for the Blue Coats.

A G League rookie, Koumadje emerged as the league’s most fearsome rim protector almost immediately, averaging an NBAGL-best 4.0 blocks per game in 33 contests. The Chad native also averaged a double-double, recording 11.3 PPG and 10.9 RPG in just 26.4 minutes per contest. His most impressive outing came on February 1, when he logged a triple-double consisting of 18 points, 20 rebounds, and 12 blocks.

It’s not clear if or when Koumadje will get a shot at the NBA level with the 76ers or another team. Some recent NBAGL Defensive Player of the Year winners, including Chris Boucher (2019) and DeAndre Liggins (2014, 2016) have played rotation roles in the NBA.

Canton Charge swingman Sir’Dominic Pointer and Westchester Knicks forward Kenny Wooten were the top two runners-up in G League Defensive Player of the Year voting. Wooten is on a two-way contract with New York, while Pointer was in the midst of a 10-day with Cleveland when the NBA suspended its season in March.

Brian Shaw To Coach G League Select Team

JUNE 9: Shaw’s hiring was officially confirmed today in a press release issued by the G League.

“Brian’s extensive experience and success as an NBA player and coach make him a natural choice to lead the new NBA G League team,” NBAGL president Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a statement. “We look forward to watching these terrific young players develop their skills and grow as professionals under Brian’s leadership.”

JUNE 1: Veteran NBA coach Brian Shaw has agreed to become the head coach of the NBA G League’s new “Select Team,” sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

That G League squad will be made up of a handful of top prospects who opted not to play college ball, as well as several veteran players who will be tasked with mentoring the youngsters. The 2020/21 NBAGL Select Team – which will play exhibition games against other G League teams but won’t be part of the league’s official schedule – will include guards Jalen Green and Daishen Nix, forward Isaiah Todd, and center Kai Sotto.

Shaw, who was the head coach in Denver from 2013-15, has also served as an assistant coach for the Lakers and Pacers. He had two separate stints with the Lakers, most recently holding the title of associate head coach from 2016-19 under Luke Walton.

We heard back in April that Shaw was receiving consideration to coach the G League Select Team, along with David Fizdale and Sam Mitchell. At the time, it sounded as if Mitchell was on track to becoming the club’s head coach, with the other two men potentially being involved in some capacity. Now that Shaw has been tabbed for the head coaching position, we’ll see if Fizdale and Mitchell have any sort of roles with the Select Team.

NBA G League Cancels Rest Of Season

4:42pm: The G League has made it official, issuing a press release to announce the cancellation of the season.

“While canceling the remainder of our season weighs heavily on us, we recognize that it is the most appropriate action to take for our league,” NBAGL president Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a statement. “I extend my sincere gratitude to NBA G League players and coaches for giving their all to their teams and fans this season. And to our fans, I thank you and look forward to resuming play for the 2020-21 season.”

According to Charania (Twitter link), the G League paid out its players for the final 17 days of the season and extended their health benefits. Adam Johnson first reported in March that that would be the case.

4:11pm: Although the NBA intends to restart its 2019/20 season this summer, the NBA G League won’t resume along with it. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that the G League is canceling the rest of its ’19/20 campaign.

Like the NBA, the G League suspended its season on March 11, shortly after Rudy Gobert‘s positive test for COVID-19. The NBAGL’s regular season had been scheduled to end on March 28, with the postseason to follow. With the remainder of the season canceled, the Wisconsin Herd (33-10), Salt Lake City Stars (30-12), and the rest of the league’s top teams won’t get an opportunity to compete for the 2020 title.

The decision doesn’t come as a surprise — because it’s a developmental league that doesn’t have any huge television deals to worry about, there was little financial motivation for the G League to jump through the necessary hoops to finish its 2019/20 season.

Presumably, two-way players on the 22 teams that will be part of the NBA’s return this summer will travel to Orlando with their respective clubs now that there’s no chance of them being assigned to the G League.

While it’s unclear when the 2020/21 G League season will get underway, it’s a safe bet that training camps and opening night will be pushed back to coincide with the NBA’s late start.

Thunder Notes: Bazley, Donovan, P. Johnson

Despite being one of the youngest players on an NBA roster in 2019/20, Darius Bazley played a regular rotation role for the Thunder for most of his rookie season, logging 17.2 minutes per contest in 53 games. Although Bazley showed flashes of upside this season, particularly when he made use of his length and athleticism on defense, scouts who spoke to Erik Horne of The Athletic believe he still has a ways to go before realizing his potential.

“He’s got a lot of growing to do,” one Eastern Conference scout told Horne. “He’s athletic. Still really raw.”

As Horne notes, the Thunder traded down from No. 21 to No. 23 to draft Bazley, passing on the opportunity to select Brandon Clarke, who went to Memphis with that 21st overall pick. While Clarke certainly had the better rookie season of the two players, he’s nearly four full years older than Bazley, so the Thunder are still hoping they made the right call for the long term.

Here’s more out of Oklahoma City:

  • With the Thunder seemingly headed for a rebuild and Billy Donovan entering the final year of his contract in 2019/20, there were signs that a coaching change could be around the corner. However, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes, Donovan flipped the script based on the great job he did in OKC this season. While Donovan hasn’t received an extension yet, GM Sam Presti said in April that he expects to have that discussion soon.
  • Thunder pro evaluation coordinator Paul Johnson interviewed on Monday for the general manager role with the NBA G League’s new Mexico City franchise, a source tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Johnson previously served as a referee operations analyst for the NBA.
  • In case you missed it, Thunder owner Clay Bennett was among those on last Friday’s Board of Governors call who spoke out in favor of including as many teams – and particularly small-market franchises – as possible when the NBA resumes play.

And-Ones: LaMelo, BBL, Salary Cap, Penny

The Illawarra Hawks of Australia’s NBL were unready for the enormous impact inking LaMelo Ball to a contract had on the 2019/20 season, according to ESPN’s Kane Pitman. “It was weird because you had ‘Melo who was like a rock star and just followed so heavily online and with the social media stuff it made it interesting,” Ball’s teammate David Andersen told Pitman.

In just 12 games, Ball won the NBL’s Rookie of the Year award sporting a slash sheet of 17 PPG/7.5  RPG/7 APG. The 18-year-old younger brother of Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball is expected to be a top-five pick in the forthcoming NBA draft.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Germany’s Basketball Bundesliga will resume play, after pausing the league due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a three-week final tournament commencing June 6, per Dario Skerletic of Sportando.
  • An adjusted salary cap would affect each of the NBA’s teams in a variety of ways, as John Hollinger of The Athletic details. Though the 2020/21 cap was projected at $115MM per team in February, that number was predicted prior to the coronavirus pandemic and will almost certainly end up being lower.
  • Memphis Tigers coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway opined to ESPN’s The Jump that the G League’s recent recruitment of players straight out of high school will greatly impact college recruitment, including his program, according to ESPN News Services“It’s going to have a huge impact, because it’s just a recruiting war right now when it comes to that,” Hardaway said. “But I think it’s going to affect us because we’re recruiting a bunch of five-stars.”