After attending the G League’s Winter Showcase in Las Vegas last week, John Hollinger of The Athletic came away curious about the long-term future of the G League Ignite.
A handful of top prospects – like Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Dyson Daniels – have played for the Ignite before entering the NBA draft in recent years, and current Ignite guard Scoot Henderson may end up being the best of the bunch. But many of the prospects on the Ignite’s roster only project to be borderline NBA players, as Hollinger observes.
“Why are we paying almost half a million (dollars) for a two-way guy?” one league source said to Hollinger.
Even if the Ignite were attracting only elite prospects, people around the NBA have questioned why the league is paying significant salaries to develop prospects who would simply develop elsewhere if the Ignite didn’t exist, Hollinger writes. The Ignite aren’t playing in front of packed houses and haven’t become must-see television relative to college basketball, where NIL money has helped the NCAA maintain a recruiting edge.
Hollinger adds that most people he has spoken to don’t believe the Ignite are particularly well coached or well run, with prospects like Jaden Hardy looking much better once he left the program.
For what it’s worth, Henderson told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that he thinks his year with the Ignite has been good for him and that it has helped him develop “as a person” in addition to helping him develop as a player.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) has updated his 2023 mock draft and provided fresh scouting reports for a handful of his non-lottery prospects, including UCF’s Taylor Hendricks, Ohio State’s Brice Sensabaugh, and Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis.
- According to Givony, a number of NBA executives who attended last week’s G League Winter Showcase said they wouldn’t be surprised if Scoot Henderson, who is out with a nasal fracture, doesn’t play another game this season, since his spot near the top of the 2023 draft is already assured. However, Givony says G League Ignite officials “emphatically” shot down that line of thinking and said Henderson should be back on the court relatively soon.
- Henderson is the consensus No. 2 prospect in the 2023 class behind Victor Wembanyama, who continues to impress fans and evaluators with his two-way talent. The young French star racked up 26 points and 18 rebounds for Metropolitans 92 in his last game of the calendar year on Monday (link via ESPN).
- After signing in October with Frutti Extra Bursaspor, veteran guard Sindarius Thornwell has mutually parted ways with the Turkish team two months later, the club announced (via Twitter). Thornwell has appeared in 160 total NBA games, but hasn’t been in the league since 2020/21, when he played for New Orleans and Atlanta.