Mac McClung

NBAGL All-League, Defensive, Rookie Teams Announced

The NBA announced all of the major All-NBA G League teams on Thursday (All Twitter links found here), including the First Team, Second Team, Third Team, All-Defensive Team, and All-Rookie team.

Several current and former NBA players are among the honorees. Here is the full list of winners for the 2023/24 season.

All-NBA G League First Team:

All-NBA G League Second Team:

All-NBA G League Third Team:

G League All-Defensive Team:

G League All-Rookie Team:

* Denotes two-way contract

^ Denotes standard contract

Mac McClung Wins G League MVP Award

Mac McClung hasn’t been on an NBA roster since October, but the 25-year-old won a second straight Slam Dunk contest in February and has now earned another notable honor: McClung is this season’s NBA G League Most Valuable Player, the league announced today (Twitter link).

McClung spent the 2023/24 season playing for the Osceola Magic, Orlando’s NBAGL affiliate. In 27 regular season games, he averaged a league-high 25.7 points to go along with 6.6 assists, and 4.7 rebounds in 35.4 minutes per contest, with a shooting line of .509/.396/.843. Osceola finished as the No. 1 seed in the East at 22-12 and will face the Long Island Nets on Friday in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

McClung also appeared in 14 Showcase Cup games for the Magic’s G League team earlier this season, averaging 25.2 PPG, 6.4 APG, and 4.3 RPG on .464/.357/.851 shooting.

McClung has only appeared in four career NBA games since going undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2021. However, he has made a name himself as a Slam Dunk champion and has had stints with some of the league’s marquee franchises, including the Lakers, Sixers, and Bulls.

McClung’s G League MVP award is also the latest addition to an increasingly decorated NBAGL résumé — he was the G League’s Rookie of the Year in 2022 and won a title with the Delaware Blue Coats in 2023.

Sioux Falls Skyforce guard Alondes Williams, who is on a two-way contract with the Heat, was the runner-up in the NBAGL MVP vote, which was conducted by the league’s 31 head coaches and GMs.

The third-place finisher was forward Kenneth Lofton Jr., who played for the Grizzlies and Sixers earlier this season and is now a member of the Jazz. He suited up for the Memphis Hustle in the Showcase Cup and the Blue Coats and Salt Lake City Stars during the G League’s regular season.

Community Shootaround: All-Star Weekend

Two standouts from this year’s All-Star Weekend don’t even play in the NBA.

G League guard Mac McClung defended his Slam Dunk Contest title by beating Jaylen Brown in the final round, while WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu went shot-for-shot with Stephen Curry in a three-point competition before falling on Curry’s final attempt.

McClung needed an inspired finish on his final dunk to capture the title, and he delivered a reverse jam while jumping over 7’1″ Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal. The feat earned McClung a 50 from all five judges as he became the first repeat winner since Zach LaVine eight years ago.

McClung didn’t commit to going for a three-peat next year in San Francisco, but he told an interviewer after the contest, “I would never say never. … It’s an honor to be here.”

Ionescu thrilled the Indianapolis crowd with her shooting display, sinking her first seven shots and hitting 8-of-9 money balls while using a WNBA ball and taking shots from the NBA three-point line. She missed five of her last 10, though, which allowed Curry to prevail in the first-ever NBA vs. WNBA Three-Point Challenge by making his last four.

“So much credit to them,” commissioner Adam Silver said. “I wish I could say that the league in its lab came up with this idea. This was about Steph and Sabrina, two friends who said, ‘Won’t this be fantastic?’ I know that Steph cares a lot about the women’s game, the opportunity to bring more attention to this fantastic shooting.”

Damian Lillard brought similar drama to the Three-Point Contest, which came down to his final shot before he became a back-to-back winner. Needing to make one shot for the victory, Lillard missed four in a row before sinking his last attempt.

We want to get your opinion on All-Star Weekend. Is the dunk contest still the highlight? Should the NBA vs. WNBA competition be brought back? Did the LED floor enhance the experience or distract from it? Please leave your responses in the space below.

And-Ones: Lamb, Trade Candidates, Buyout Market, Pre-Agency, Dunk Contest

Former Warriors forward Anthony Lamb suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon while playing for the New Zealand Breakers, Olgun Uluc of ESPN tweets.

The non-contact leg injury occurred at the end of the first quarter of his team’s game against the Perth Wildcats on Sunday afternoon. An MRI confirmed the initial diagnosis.

Lamb appeared in 62 regular season games with Golden State last season, averaging 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.3 minutes per game.

We have more from the around the basketball world:

  • Which players are most likely to be on the move at the trade deadline? The Athletic’s John Hollinger reveals his list of players who could be swapping uniforms, breaking it down by expiring contracts, salary-matching contracts and luxury tax-shedding moves.
  • Following the trade deadline, attention will be turned to buyout candidates. Keith Smith previews that market in a Spotrac post, evaluating the possibility of Kyle Lowry, Joe Harris, Gordon Hayward, Davis Bertans and numerous others going that route.
  • What is “pre-agency?” A growing trend in the league, where players who could enter the free agent market get traded to a team interested in retaining them beyond the end of the season. The Athletic’s Danny Leroux notes that OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam fit that category, as the Knicks and Pacers, respectively, have positioned themselves to keep those starters after trades with Toronto.
  • It was reported on Monday that Jaylen Brown was seriously considering a spot in the All-Star dunk contest. Now it’s confirmed. The Celtics star will join Heat forward Jaime Jaquez, G League guard Mac McClung and Knicks forward Jacob Toppin in the annual event, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. McClung is the defending champion.

NBA Announces Player Pool For 2024 Rising Stars Event

The NBA has officially revealed the 11 rookies, 10 sophomores, and seven G League players who will take part in the Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend in Indianapolis next month.

The following players, as voted on by NBA coaching staffs, made the cut:



G League Players

As was the case last season, the Rising Stars event will consist of four teams and three games. The seven G League players will comprise one team, coached by former NBA forward Detlef Schrempf. The other 21 players will be drafted to three squads coached by former NBA and WNBA stars Pau Gasol, Jalen Rose, and Tamika Catchings.

The four teams will be split into two first-round matchups and the winners of those two games will face one another for the Rising Stars championship. The two semifinals will be played to a target score of 40 points, while the final will be played to a target score of 25 points.

All three contests will take place on Friday, February 16 as part of All-Star weekend’s opening night.

And-Ones: Nwaba, G. Robinson, Gillespie, Call-Ups

Former NBA wing David Nwaba is signing with the London Lions of the British Basketball League, sources tell Donatas Urbonas of (Twitter link).

After going undrafted out of Cal Poly in 2016, Nwaba caught on with his hometown Lakers. He also suited up for the Bulls, Cavaliers, Nets and Rockets from 2016-22, last playing for Houston in 2021/22.

The six-year veteran appeared in 237 regular season games during his NBA career, averaging 6.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game. Known for his strong frame, athleticism and defense, Nwaba has spent most of the past two seasons playing for Detroit’s G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise.

The 30-year-old will be heading to Europe for the first time in his career.

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

  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports recently spoke to Glenn Robinson III about his NBA comeback attempt after stepping away from basketball for two years. The former second-round pick has been playing with the G League’s Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee’s affiliate) this season, averaging 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 39.1% from three in 12 Showcase Cup games (23.6 minutes). Robinson holds seven years of NBA experience and has been mentoring his young teammates, according to Fischer.
  • Nuggets guard Collin Gillespie, who is on a two-way deal, was named the NBA G League’s Player of the Month for December, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). According to Wind, Gillespie averaged 21.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 11.8 assists in six games last month for the Grand Rapids Gold (Denver’s affiliate). The former Villanova Wildcat missed all of last season with a lower left leg fracture.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac takes a look at some NBAGL players who could be candidates for call-ups to the NBA, with Mac McClung, Jason Preston, Ethan Thompson, Darius Bazley and Trey Jemison among the players mentioned.

Stein’s Latest: Olynyk, LaVine, Tucker, Murray, McClung

The Celtics view Jazz big man Kelly Olynyk as a possible trade target, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column.

With a $12.2MM expiring contract, Olynyk is one of several Utah veterans who might be on the move prior to the trade deadline. Boston drafted him in 2013 and he spent his first four NBA seasons with the Celtics, so he’s familiar with the organization.

After being a starter last year, Olynyk has moved into a reserve role in his second season with the Jazz, although he has started seven games because of injures to teammates. He posted 27 points, three rebounds, six assists and four steals in Thursday’s win at Detroit.

Boston’s current salary structure makes an Olynyk trade challenging, notes Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Without giving up one of their rotation players, the Celtics would have to have to send out several minimum contracts to match Olynyk’s salary.

Stein also expects the Knicks to have interest in Olynyk after starting center Mitchell Robinson underwent ankle surgery that could sideline him for the rest of the season.

Stein passes along more inside information on potential trades:

  • Citing conversations at the G League Winter Showcase, Stein remains skeptical that the Sixers have interest in trading for Bulls guard Zach LaVine. League sources tell Stein that Philadelphia wants to find someone who can contribute on both ends of the court, and the team is reluctant to give up its cap space for next summer to acquire LaVine, who still has three seasons left on his five-year, $215MM deal. The Lakers may be more inclined to consider LaVine after going 2-5 in their last seven games, but Stein notes that L.A. also prizes salary flexibility and tends to seek out players with shorter contracts to team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
  • The Bucks and Heat still have “a healthy level of admiration” for P.J. Tucker, league sources tell Stein, but his $11MM salary for this season and a guaranteed $11.5MM for 2024/25 will limit trade interest. Tucker, who was acquired from Philadelphia as part of the James Harden deal, hasn’t played for the Clippers in nearly a month.
  • Rival teams expect the Hawks to consider a Dejounte Murray trade before the deadline, Stein adds. Atlanta’s front office may explore deals involving several players as it tries to assemble a better mix of talent around Trae Young. Stein states that the Hawks would be hoping to replenish their draft assets after sending three future first-round picks and a pick swap to San Antonio in the trade to acquire Murray.
  • In an interview with Mac McClung, the 2023 Slam Dunk Contest champ says he’s still deciding whether he’ll return to the event to try to defend his title.

And-Ones: McClung, Comanche, Maluach, Draft, Team USA

Although he’s not currently under contract with an NBA team, Mac McClung has been invited by the NBA to take part in the 2024 Slam Dunk Contest and defend his title, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

McClung remains undecided, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link), though he says many people believe the G League guard will accept the invitation.

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

  • C.C. McCandless of FOX5 in Las Vegas has obtained the arrest report for former Stockton Kings player Chance Comanche and shares several disturbing new details about the alleged plot to kidnap and kill Marayna Rodgers, who police believe was killed on the night of December 5, when the Kings‘ G League team was in town to face the G League Ignite. Comanche – one of two suspects facing an open murder charge – disclosed several details in an interview with investigators, including identifying on a map where Rodgers body was buried, which allowed detectives to locate her remains.
  • Standout prospect Khaman Maluach, a 7’2″ center from South Sudan, has elected to graduate high school in 2024 and will be eligible for the 2025 draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The 17-year-old is still weighing his options for the 2024/25 season, including attending a U.S. college or taking a professional route like the G League Ignite or Australia’s Next Stars program.
  • In the latest 2024 mock draft from Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports, Alexandre Sarr is the first player off the board, while USC’s Isaiah Collier – the top prospect on ESPN’s top 100 – drops to No. 8.
  • USA Basketball has announced its coaching staff for the AmeriCup qualifying team that will begin competing in February. Dave Joerger, previously reported to be the head coach for the U.S. squad, will be joined by veteran assistants Jerome Allen and Melvin Hunt, per a press release.
  • Australia’s national team is in advanced talks to play exhibition games against the U.S. and Serbia ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris, reports Olgun Uluc of ESPN. Team USA already has a pair of exhibition contests against South Sudan and Germany on its July schedule.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Ball, Heat, McClung

With Jalen Johnson unavailable due to a wrist injury, the Hawks have been experimenting a little more with different frontcourt combinations, including playing centers Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu alongside one another, writes Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required).

The pairing is very much a work in progress, particularly on the offensive end, but it showed some intriguing potential against bigger teams like San Antonio and Milwaukee, according to Williams.

“There’s certain times in the game where that allows itself and there’s certain matchups where I think it pays dividends defensively,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “(Saturday vs. Milwaukee) was one of those nights).”

For his part, Okongwu is on board with the idea of handling power forward alongside Capela if it means he’ll get an opportunity to play a little more.

“Whatever it takes for me to be on the court longer, I’ll do it,” Okongwu said. “Playing the four, it’s obviously is an adjustment but nothing I can’t do.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hornets guard LaMelo Ball still has a noticeable limp and isn’t expected to return anytime soon, but he’s no longer wearing a walking boot, tweets Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. That’s a promising first step in Ball’s recovery from a severely sprained right ankle, which he’s scheduled to have reevaluated this week.
  • Buoyed by a seven-game winning streak in the first half of November, the Heat are 11-9 after 20 games, but many of their victories have come against subpar competition and they’ve lost four of their last five contests. Jimmy Butler kept coming back to one word when describing the team’s performance so far, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “We stand right where we don’t want to be, which is very mediocre, not good, not bad, not great, not any of those things,” Butler said. “Just mediocre. You talk about our offense has been mediocre. You talk about our defense has been mediocre. That’s the word I would use.”
  • Mac McClung, who has been playing for the Magic‘s G League affiliate this season, was named the NBAGL’s player of the month for November, the league announced on Monday (Twitter link). McClung averaged 25.4 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game in nine November contests for the Osceola Magic, but isn’t under contract with Orlando — the 2023 slam dunk champion remains an NBA free agent, available to sign with any team.

Magic Waive Mac McClung, Two Others

The Magic have removed three players from their roster ahead of the regular season, according to Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel, who reports (via Twitter) that the club has waived guards Mac McClung and Brandon Williams, as well as swingman Daeqwon Plowden.

McClung, Williams, and Plowden were all on Exhibit 10 contracts. The hope is that all three players will join the Osceola Magic, Orlando’s G League affiliate, according to Beede. Osceola has made trades this offseason to acquire the returning rights for each of them.

McClung has only appeared in four NBA games, but starred at All-Star Weekend last season, winning the 2023 Slam Dunk Contest, and had a big year in the G League. The 24-year-old appeared in 31 NBAGL regular season games for the Delaware Blue Coats – Philadelphia’s affiliate – and averaged 19.8 points, 4.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds in just 26.8 minutes per game. He posted an impressive .550/.474/.823 shooting line during the G League regular season and helped lead the Blue Coats to a title.

Williams has 24 games of NBA experience under his belt, but spent last season with the College Park Skyhawks, Atlanta’s NBAGL team. Plowden spent his first professional season in 2022/23 playing for New Orleans’ G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron.

The Magic also formally confirmed in a press release that they’ve converted Trevelin Queen to a two-way contract, as previously reported. Their roster is now set for the regular season, with 15 players on standard deals and three on two-way pacts.