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Candidates for Midseason NBA Looks

David Yapkowitz looks at some top candidates for two-way or 10-day contracts.

David Yapkowitz

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We’re almost to the end of the year and come January, there are a few key dates to remember regarding NBA roster moves. On Jan. 5, teams can begin to sign players to ten-day contracts. Jan. 10 is the date when all contracts become guaranteed. And lastly, Jan. 15 is the final day teams can sign players to a two-way contract.

It’s probably safe to say that there will be a few roster moves in the coming weeks as teams look to improve their team for the second half of the season. With that said, there are a few players currently in the G-League that have done enough to warrant an NBA look as teams shuffle their rosters. Don’t be surprised to see some of these guys in the near future on a ten-day contract or two-way contract.

1. Trey Burke

Trey Burke is a name that should be familiar to NBA fans. He was a lottery pick for the Utah Jazz in the 2013 draft. After an impressive two years at Michigan, including a trip to the NCAA championship game in 2013, Burke failed to make a big splash in the NBA. He actually had a solid rookie season in which he averaged 12.8 points per game and 5.7 assists while starting 68 games.

But after that, he never became the star some expected him to be. Utah traded him to the Washington Wizards in the 2016 offseason, where he was supposed to be the backup for John Wall the team had been looking for. Instead, he was supplanted by Brandon Jennings. The Wizards declined to make him a qualifying offer and he became a free agent.

While he signed with the New York Knicks this past summer, it was simply so they could cut him and retain his rights to play for their G-League affiliate the Westchester Knicks. In 20 games so far, he’s definitely showing the desire to get back to the NBA. He’s third in the G-League in scoring with 26.6 points per game. He’s shooting 50 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from three. He’s also dishing out 5.7 assists.

2. Amile Jefferson

Amile Jefferson had a good college career. He stayed all four years at Duke and was a captain on the 2015 championship team. Despite that, he went undrafted this past summer. He played for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ summer league team in Las Vegas and was impressive enough to warrant an invite to training camp.

Like Burke, Jefferson was one of the Wolves’ final cuts prior to the start of the season. It enabled the Wolves to keep his rights for their affiliate, the Iowa Wolves. In the 14 games he’s played this season, he’s emerged as one of the best big men in the G-League. He’s the league’s leading rebounder at 12.9 per game. He’s also scoring 16.5 points per game on 61 percent shooting from the field.

3. Scott Machado

Scott Machado is another player who has had a cup of NBA coffee. He was a star at Iona and after going undrafted in the 2012 draft, he joined the Houston Rockets after a strong summer league showing. He split time between the Rockets and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, but the Rockets cut him in Jan. 2013. The Warriors then signed him that April, but they cut him that offseason. He’s bounced around overseas the past few years before landing with the South Bay Lakers this season.

In the 18 games he’s played with the South Bay Lakers, he’s been their top playmaker with 7.8 assists per game. He’s also been one of their top scorers at 16.4 points per game while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from the three-point line.

4. Justin Dentmon

Since graduating from Washington in 2009, Justin Dentmon has had stops in China, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Venezuela, the Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors, and San Antonio Spurs. He’s had two separate stints with the Austin Toros of the G-League. Now, he’s on his second go-round with the Texas Legends.

At age 32, he’s one of the older guys in the G-League, but he’s also one of the best. He’s second in the league in scoring at 29.3 points per game. He’s shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from the three-point line. He’s also pulling down 3.2 rebounds, dishing out 4.1 assists, and racking up 2.5 steals per game. He recently had 45 points, albeit in a loss to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

5. Jameel Warney

Jameel Warney was one of the top players on Team USA during the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers last month. He helped lead the team to a 2-0 record with 11.5 points per game shooting 57.9 percent from the field, and 8.0 rebounds. He was recently named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year. After going undrafted out of Stony Brook in 2016, he was invited to training camp with the Dallas Mavericks only to be cut right before the season started.

He found himself in a similar predicament this season when the Mavericks once again brought him to camp only to cut him right as the season began. He’s played the past two season with the Texas Legends, Dallas’ G-League affiliate. A bit undersized as a forward, he’s still been highly productive this season. He’s third in the league in rebounding with 10.1 a night. He’s putting up 19.9 points per game on 55.3 percent shooting. He’s also blocking 1.5 shots per game.

Nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to the NBA, but these guys are making a strong case to be on an NBA roster by mid-January. Whether it’s on a ten-day contract or one of the new two-way contracts, look for a few of these guys to get a call-up to the big league sometime soon.

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Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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