Connect with us

G-League

NBA Daily: Power Ranking The Two-Way Standouts, Part I

With trade season in the rearview mirror, Ben Nadeau takes stock of the NBA’s impressive collection of two-way standouts.

Ben Nadeau

Published

on

On Thursday, the NBA’s trade deadline hit all zeroes — along with plenty of fireworks — and now buyout season is right around the corner. But as franchises continue bolstering their roster ahead of the postseason (or lottery-bound future efforts), another deadline passed recently without much fanfare. Last month, the deadline to sign players to two-way contracts occurred — so where does that leave affairs?

As a reminder, since 2017, two-way contracts have granted a team to carry two more roster spots that won’t count against the salary cap. These players, who must have less than four years of NBA experience, can be swapped between the professional level and the G League for up to 45 days in a season. While these two-way standouts will be ineligible to compete in the playoffs — sorry, Chris Boucher — franchises are able to convert these contracts to regular deals if they have the roster spot to do so.

For franchises that have their eyes already set on the 2019 NBA Draft, it’s a simply a question of that prospect’s potential sticking power. Generally speaking, two-way players have still had a tough road to the league since the rule’s inception, that certainly hasn’t changed — but that hasn’t stopped a handful of success stories already. Quinn Cook, originally a two-way player for Santa Cruz in 2017-18, went on to average 10 minutes per game in the playoffs for last year’s eventual champions, the Golden State Warriors.

Allonzo Trier, an undrafted second-rounder, began this season on a two-way deal and played so well for the Knicks that it was quickly converted. Trier, now a New York-worthy building block, sports a contract at two years and $7 million — the biggest deal for a two-way player yet. Gary Clark, who has played 36 games for the Rockets already, also ditched two-way status in December after signing a three-year contract that’ll amount to about $3.7 if he stays through 2020-21.

With all that in mind, here are the current power rankings for the NBA’s very best two-way athletes.

Next Up: Jaylen Adams, Atlanta Hawks; Joe Chealey, Charlotte Hornets; Brandon Sampson, Chicago Bulls; Thomas Welsh, Denver Nuggets; Vincent Edwards, Houston Rockets; Davon Reed, Indiana Pacers; Julian Washburn, Memphis Grizzlies; Trevon Duval, Milwaukee Bucks; C.J. Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves; Trevon Bluiett, New Orleans Pelicans; Isaiah Hicks, New York Knicks; Donte Grantham, Oklahoma City Thunder; Haywood Highsmith, Philadelphia 76ers; Wenyen Gabriel, Sacramento Kings

Honorable Mentions: J.P. Macura, Charlotte Hornets; Rawle Alkins, Chicago Bulls; Deng Adel, Cleveland Cavaliers; Kalin Lucas, Detroit Pistons; Marcus Derrickson, Golden State Warriors; Alex Caruso, Los Angeles Lakers; Jared Terrell, Minnesota Timberwolves; Deonte Burton, Oklahoma City Thunder; Troy Caupain, Orlando Magic; Jawun Evans, Phoenix Suns; Troy Williams, Sacramento Kings; Tyler Cavanaugh, Utah Jazz; Drew Eubanks, San Antonio Spurs

30. Alex Poythress, Atlanta Hawks

Poythress has been sharpening his claws in the G League for years and he’s starting to prove his worth at long last. Over 46 games in 2016-17, Poythress averaged 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds for Fort Wayne. With Erie this season, Poythress has upped those numbers to 24.8 and 9.4, respectively, albeit in the smaller sample size of just 11 contests — but he’s had his moments for the Hawks as well. He’s not played for Atlanta since Dec. 31 but the athletic forward could prove useful as the Hawks gracefully soar toward another high-lottery pick this spring.

29. Ben Moore, San Antonio Spurs

28. Kostas Antetokounmpo, Dallas Mavericks

So, admittedly, the younger Antetokounmpo gets a late mention on the list simply on family name alone. If there’s even a slight chance that Kostas is half the player of his brother Giannis, current world-destroyer and the will-be MVP finalist, then he’s worth mentioning. Still, the raw Greek prospect struggled in his one season at Dayton and then only went with the final selection of the previous NBA Draft. Thus far, he’s spent his entire rookie campaign with the Texas Legends, where he’s pulled down 10.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

But at 6-foot-10 and filled to the brim with that famous bloodline, keeping an eye on Antetokounmpo is the wise thing to do.

27. George King, Phoenix Suns

26. Yuta Watanabe, Memphis Grizzlies

Watanabe had big dreams of reaching the NBA this summer and he’s done exactly that so far. In 10 appearances for the Grizzlies, Watanabe has had little impact on the pro-level, but he’s been a staple for the Memphis Hustle. Although his nightly statistical lines aren’t as gaudy as many names higher on this list, Watanabe is young, efficient and a strong defender — for Memphis, now headed firmly for a rebuild this summer, he should be a shoo-in culturally. With 14 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 blocks per game, it’s been an encouraging start to his career, even in the G League. On Thursday, Watanabe played a career-high 27 minutes for the Grizzlies and tallied 10 points and five rebounds — so expect to see a bunch of the Japanese-born forward between now and April.

25. Brandon Goodwin, Denver Nuggets

24. R.J. Hunter, Boston Celtics

He’s back in Boston! It’s been a long road for Hunter, the Celtics’ former first-round selectee in 2015. After playing 36 games as a rookie, Hunter was waived and subsequently went on to play for the Bulls, Rockets and three different G League franchises in the span of two years. Now starring as one of the Maine Red Claws’ best and brightest, Hunter has continued to put up strong numbers as he tries to reach the famous Garden parquet once more. Over 31 contests this season — between the Erie BayHawks and Maine — Hunter has averaged 19.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.

The Celtics are loaded at the guard position, as usual, so Hunter is unlikely to log time in the NBA this season. In any case, he’s well-versed in head coach Brad Stevens’ offense and the 6-foot-5 scorer has never been low on talent.

23. Bonzie Colson, Milwaukee Bucks

22. Kadeem Allen, New York Knicks

Of the Celtics’ three 2017 second-round draftees, it’s been Semi Ojeleye to leave his pro-level mark — but don’t count out Kadeem Allen just yet. The 6-foot-3 Allen was named to last season’s All-NBA G League Defensive Team and has earned early plaudits with Westchester already. Through 32 games, Allen is averaging 14.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He has 18 games worth of NBA experience with Boston — albeit on a much shorter leash — but the tenacious defender has rounded out his game quite nicely in the G League.

The Knicks, now in full-on tank mode ahead of an eventful offseason, have used Allen in the last six games and could make him a rotational staple down the stretch.

21. Daryl Macon, Dallas Mavericks

20. Naz Mitrou-Long, Utah Jazz

Mitrou-Long is no stranger to the Jazz’s well-oiled systems, now in year two with the franchise’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. The creative point guard has led the solid squad for a large part of the campaign again, even tallying 16.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.2 three-pointers per game on 43.1 percent from the floor. The 25-year-old won’t show up on any league leader tables, but consistency can be key for any parent NBA team — that, perhaps, is one of Mitrou-Long’s greatest skills. Although the Jazz likely won’t need Mitrou-Long with Ricky Rubio running things for this playoff-bound franchise, it shouldn’t be long before he gets a real NBA opportunity.

19. Johnathan Williams, Los Angeles Lakers

18. Duncan Robinson, Miami HEAT

Through 30 games, Robinson is the G League’s most impressive shooter — and, honestly, it’s not even close. His 138 made three-pointers is a 19 more than second place, but that’s not all. Robinson is doing it at a nearly unreal clip of 48.3 percent, which absolutely has a place at the NBA level. Unfortunately, Miami’s rotation is loaded with plenty of longtime veterans and massive contract-holders, so Duncan has only featured in five games in 2018-19 so far. Robinson, 24, was an efficient shooter during his three collegiate seasons at Michigan, but this current streak puts him amongst the elite.

Robinson’s 20.7 points per game are 13th-most in the G League, proving that the 6-foot-8 forward can do more than just spot up from the arc. If the HEAT head in a new direction this summertime, it’ll be interesting to see how they proceed with this talented marksman.

17. Damion Lee, Golden State Warriors

16. Jaron Blossomgame, Cleveland Cavaliers

As of late, Blossomgame has become quite the popular two-way figure within the Cavaliers’ organization. This week, Basketball Insiders’ Spencer Davies caught up with the G League standout about his efforts to grab some important minutes with the basement-dwelling franchise.

“I mean, some G League teams have two-way players, like Sioux Falls and Miami, where you don’t have the luxury of being able to just drive 45 minutes away to the NBA team or back-and-forth, vice-versa.

“Just being able to drive back-and-forth, that’s pretty convenient for me.”

And so far, it seems to have paid off. He’s played in 26 games — and started four to boot — for Cleveland since early December. Before this long run of NBA experience, Blossomgame was notching 18.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks over 30.9 minutes per game for the Canton Charge. On top of all that, Blossomgame was even named to the All-NBA G League Third Team in 2017-18 as well.

Of course, the Cavaliers will need to make a decision on his two-way deal sooner rather than later, for now, however, the undrafted forward is definitely earning his keep.

15. Devin Robinson, Washington Wizards

14. Isaiah Whitehead, Detroit Pistons

Another G League staple has returned stateside for a new chance — this time, it’s former Seton Hall-standout Isaiah Whitehead. After starting 26 games as a rookie for his hometown Nets, the former No. 42 overall pick saw his playing time plummet in year two. The 2017-18 campaign was largely spent in Long Island, where Whitehead often dominated to the tune of 22.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists — including a wild 52-point explosion to cap things off.

During the following offseason, Whitehead was filler in the Nets’ trade for Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and, most importantly, another first-round draft asset. The Nuggets waived Whitehead and the 23-year-old ended up crafting his trade in Russia this fall. In 18 games for Lokomotiv Kuban, Whitehead averaged 11.3 points and 3.3 assists — but the 6-foot-3 guard was always searching for his path back into the NBA.

He’s yet to feature for the Pistons but Whitehead has fast become one of the Grand Rapids Drive’s leaned-upon scoring options. Through nine games in the G League, Whitehead has tallied 17.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and a far more constrained 2.1 turnovers per game. Given his measured success as an NBA second-rounder already and now with a world-traveling bid under his belt, betting on Whitehead to get another shot seems like completely fair odds.

13. Shake Milton, Philadelphia 76ers

12. Edmond Sumner, Indiana Pacers

Comparing Sumner’s rookie season statistics to his sophomore year efforts, there are not a ton of differences to be found outside of his games (16 in 2018-19 so far) and minutes (9.6) tallies. In any case, Sumner, 23, has seen a salivating leap in the G League for Fort Wayne. In double the minutes, Sumner has averaged 23.9 points — the fifth-highest total in the entire league — and 3.6 assists on 40 percent from three-point range. The recent addition of Wes Matthews will mean even fewer opportunities for Sumner during the remainder of the season — but it’s not all doom and gloom for the point guard’s fan club. With Tyreke Evans out at the end of January, Sumner drew two consecutive starts for Indiana — one of them versus the Warriors, nonetheless — and then scored a career-high 17 points in 17 minutes in that blowout victory against the Lakers a week later.

Some good things will be worth the wait — Sumner looks like one of them.

11. Johnathan Motley, Los Angeles Clippers

With a little detective work, it’s not impossible to narrow down the ten remaining names on the list but their order will need to wait for another time. The G League has proven again and again to be a strong cultivator of NBA-level talents and this year has been no different. Although the two-way path can be shaky, it’s offered another slew of prospects the opportunity of a lifetime — through the first half of the 2018-19 season, these players have certainly made the most of their chances.

Check out Part II and the top ten two-way players next week!

Ben Nadeau is a Seattle-based writer in his second year with Basketball Insiders. For five seasons, he covered the Brooklyn Nets for The Brooklyn Game.

Advertisement




Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

G-League

Report: Jarrett Jack to Miss Rest of Season with Left Knee Injury

Basketball Insiders

Published

on

Jarrett Jack, who signed recently with the Heat’s G League team, will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL and lateral meniscus as well spraining the MCL in his left knee. Surgery is April 1. He was injured in his lone appearance with the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Continue Reading

G-League

Sources: Rockets, Terrence Jones Agree to 10-Day Deal

Basketball Insiders

Published

on

The Rockets are signing power forward Terrence Jones to a 10-day deal, sources told ESPN. Jones, 27, a former Rockets first-round pick, has been out of the NBA since 2016-17. He’s been dominant in the G League this season, averaging 23.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists.

Source: Tim MacMahon on Twitter

Continue Reading

G-League

NBA Daily: Power Ranking The Two-Way Standouts, Part II

With trade season in the rearview mirror, Ben Nadeau takes stock of the NBA’s impressive collection of two-way standouts.

Ben Nadeau

Published

on

Last week, the NBA’s trade deadline finally came and went — along with plenty of worthwhile fireworks of their own — and buyout season is officially in full swing. But as franchises continue bolstering their roster ahead of the postseason (or lottery-bound future efforts), another deadline occurred recently without much fanfare. In January, the cutoff to sign players to two-way contracts passed — so where does that leave affairs headed into the midseason break?

Check out SBG Global Sportsbook for the latest odds.

Previously, Basketball Insiders took a swing at ranking the 30-best two-way players but, quickly, it became clear that there would need to be a Part II. Since then, the Pacers signed Edmond Sumner to a contract that extends through the remainder of the season, plus a team option in 2019-20. Our No. 12 selection has a home in Indiana and — with All-Star Victor Oladipo sidelined with a serious injury — Sumner has proven his worth in the postseason-ready rotation. And, funny enough, Chris Boucher — who was spotlighted in the introductory paragraphs in Part I as a would-be ineligible roster member for Toronto — earned his own multi-year contract as well.

If you’re in need of some honorable mentions and Nos. 30-11, the Part I rankings can be found right here.

But as a rapid-fire recap: Since 2017, two-way contracts have granted a team to carry two more roster spots that won’t count against the salary cap. These players, who must have less than four years of NBA experience, can be swapped between the professional level and the G League for up to 45 days in a season. While these two-way standouts will be ineligible to compete in the playoffs, franchises are able to convert these contracts to regular deals if they have the roster spot to do so. With that out of the way, here’s the best of the bunch — beginning with a very special (and retconned) honorable mention.

Honorable Mention: Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors

So, the top ten list is officially a top nine with Boucher moving to the Raptors full-time, excellent news for the deep conference frontrunners. Previously, the former Oregon Duck would’ve been ranked at No. 2 and, well, it was a deserved spot. Boucher averaged a whopping 27.6 points, 11 rebounds and 4.2 blocks over 23 games with the 905. For what it’s worth, these numbers slotted Boucher second, fourth and first, respectively, league-wide. In college, Boucher was a highly-touted prospect before a torn ACL sent him tumbling down and, eventually, out of draft boards. After one season as a two-way player for Golden State, Boucher ended up in Toronto — now, he’s a member of the Midseason All-NBA G League Eastern Conference squad.

His NBA-level statistics certainly aren’t as eye-popping, not even close — but now Boucher can receive minutes on Finals-worthy contender. Being behind Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka will cap any short term potential, but the shot-blocking scorer can learn from some of the very best at his position. In 17 games, Boucher has averaged 3.8 points and 0.9 blocks, still, the sky may just be the limit for this talented 26-year-old. Undeniably, Boucher has earned his new multi-year contract with partial guarantees — now can he keep rising?

9. Amile Jefferson, Orlando Magic

Jefferson has been a G League standout since he went undrafted out of Duke in 2017 — now the 6-foot-9 forward has been a rebounding force for two different teams in two consecutive seasons. In 2017-18, Jefferson was named to the All-NBA G League Second Team and the All-Defensive Team after he posted 17.7 points and 12.8 rebounds over 46 games for the Iowa Wolves. This season, now with the Eastern Conference-leading Lakeland Magic, not much has changed.

With nearly identical numbers, Jefferson remains one of the G League’s most consistent forces to date. As the third-ranked rebounder, Jefferson gobbles boards and scores at an effective rate too, with his 58.2 percent mark from the field coming in at 13th-best during the calendar year as well. Notably, the Magic’s frontcourt depth is absolutely loaded, so unless injuries strike the postseason hopefuls, Jefferson will remain behind Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, Khem Birch and the recently-shelved Mohamed Bamba.

8. Danuel House Jr., Houston Rockets

Earlier this season, two-way standout Danuel House Jr. ran out of eligible days with Houston — but when the Rockets offered a guaranteed three-year deal, the sharpshooter declined it. That decision meant that House would stay with the Rockets’ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Barring a change in heart from either side, House, 25, will become a restricted free agent this offseason. Over 25 games with Houston, House averaged 9.1 points and 3.6 rebounds, even starting 12 contests throughout his rapid ascent in the playoff-destined organization.

House has another full year of prior NBA experience too and tallied 6.6 points and 3.3 rebounds over 23 games for the Phoenix Suns in 2017-18. The Vipers are currently two games behind Santa Cruz for the G League’s best record and House, as of late, has been instrumental in that chase. Last Friday, House helped Rio Grande down the South Bay Lakers with 24 points, seven assists and the game-clinching free throws with just seconds remaining. Although House cannot play another game for the Rockets on his current two-way deal, his successes this campaign still enters him fairly high on our list.

7. Theo Pinson, Brooklyn Nets

As far as new revelations come, the Nets’ Theo Pinson may just take the cake. After four successful seasons at North Carolina, including an NCAA Championship in 2017, Pinson went undrafted. During that senior campaign at UNC, Pinson tallied 10.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists over 29 minutes per game — solid, if not spectacular. More importantly, Pinson was a poor three-point shooter, hitting on just 25.7 percent of his attempts at the Division-I powerhouse. Scooped up after the draft by Brooklyn, Pinson has been a nice surprise for the talented prospect-developing franchise in the Northeast.

Over 25 games on Long Island, Pinson has averaged 20.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists — thanks to those efforts, the point guard landed on the Midseason All-NBA G League Eastern Conference squad too. In one of the more positive storylines of the season, Pinson has even become an above average shooter from deep and now makes three three-pointers per game at a very respectable 37.3 percent clip. Perhaps best of all, Pinson recently provided a burst of energy for Brooklyn too. In a close battle against the Knicks, Pinson exploded for 19 points and eight rebounds on 3-for-5 from three-point range over 26 minutes.

Either way, in the last year or so, Pinson has improved massively on his biggest weakness, dominated the G League and made an impact at the NBA level — not a bad way to start your once-undrafted professional career by any means.

6. Jordan Loyd, Toronto Raptors

First and foremost, Loyd, too, was named to the Midseason All-NBA G League Eastern Conference team, in a theme that will continue sharply from here on out. Still, distilling Loyd’s massive 2018-19 to a single honor would be a disservice to the rookie. Loyd has done a little bit of everything for the Raptors 905, although he was passed over by Toronto to sign Malcolm Miller instead. The 6-foot-4 guard has averaged 21.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.9 steals over 34.9 minutes per game. His fine tandem with the aforementioned Boucher seems to be dead for now, but the pair continuously tore up the G League alongside each other for most of the stat-stuffed campaign.

On Jan. 28, Loyd even pulled down a triple-double against Windy City by tallying 24 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists. Back in 2017-18, Loyd was one of Israeli Premier League’s biggest stars, earned an All-Star Game berth and finished the season as the third-highest scorer (17.4 PPG), Again, the Raptors’ loaded backcourt — Kyle Lowry, Jeremy Lin, Danny Green, Norman Powell, and, by the postseason, Fred VanVleet — has hindered Loyd’s potential impact in the NBA. Honestly, that’s fine: Just stand aside and watch with wonder as Loyd pushes the reigning champions back into the G League postseason all by himself now.

5. P.J. Dozier, Boston Celtics

The Maine Red Claws may be a disappointing subplot to the latest G League narrative but newcomer P.J. Dozier has been an absolute dream. Through 33 games in Portland, Dozier has averaged 21.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game over a 35-minute clip. Not to be a broken record, but, of course, Dozier was another easy selection for the Midseason All-NBA G League Eastern Conference roster too. Dozier has featured in four games for Boston, a total double that of his appearances with Oklahoma City as a rookie last season — but his G League numbers have seen a major rise since then as well.

The 6-foot-6 guard is averaging about 8.5 more points per game, but his greatest rise has been the boost in assists, nearly tripling from his 2017-18 campaign. Progress, particularly from within the Celtics’ organization, is nothing to ignore. Like teammate R.J. Hunter, Boston’s other two-way player, his potential for the season, if not longer, is capped. Of course, that could change this summer depending on where the Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier chips end up falling in free agency, but Dozier has become an absolute force since joining Boston.

Dozier has averaged just 1.8 points over a paltry 2.5 minutes per game for Boston — regardless, he’s officially a prospect worth keeping tabs on.

4. Alan Williams, Brooklyn Nets

You guessed it: Alan Williams is yet another Midseason All-NBA G League Eastern Conference roster honoree. And, after his tumultuous journey, it’s a well-earned award for the 6-foot-8 big man. Through many world-traveling tribulations — outlined here — Williams signed a multi-year contract with Phoenix in July of 2017. Unfortunately, that feel-good story was short-lived as Williams underwent surgery to repair his meniscus in September, rehabbed until March, played five meaningless games and then was waived at season’s end.

Thankfully, the Suns’ loss became the Nets’ gain and Williams has dominated in the G League for Long Island. The affectionately nicknamed ‘Big Sauce’ has averaged 20.6 points and 13.2 rebounds over 28 games, numbers that place him as a top ten scorer and the second-best board-snatcher league-wide. During Williams’ only major appearance for Brooklyn this season thus far, he grabbed eight points and eight rebounds in eight minutes — a line he’s proven capable of repeating over and over with the proper court burn.

It feels like a matter of time before Williams gets his next chance at the NBA level — but who will scoop up the elite rebounder?

3. Yante Maten, Miami HEAT

At this rate, Yante Maten will be a household name before too long in NBA circles — if he isn’t already. Maten was a four-year standout — 19.3 points per game as a senior — at Georgia before he went undrafted and landed one of Miami’s two-way deals this summer. In return, all Maten has done is tallied 26.4 points (second) 10 rebounds (fifth) and 1.2 blocks per game for the Sioux Falls Skyforce this season. Maten, a 6-foot-8 forward, has been sidelined with an ankle injury since Jan. 2 but he and teammate Duncan Robinson — ranked at No. 18 in Part I — were both named to the Midseason All-NBA G League Western Conference roster last week as well.

Maten has not featured for the HEAT in 2018-19 but his scoring prowess is quickly making himself a name. During an early December win against the Stockton Kings, Maten dropped a blistering 42 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks on 15-for-21 shooting. Miami only averages 105.1 points per game, the 27th-worst mark in the entire league — bested by three free-falling franchises: Chicago, Cleveland and Memphis — so injecting Maten’s scoring punch could provide a much-needed lift.

For now, we’ll have to settle for a healthy return from the inactive list — sadly, it’s been far too long since Maten torched the G League. If things break right for him, it won’t be much longer before he gets his NBA call-up either.

2. Angel Delgado, Los Angeles Clippers

Your current rebounding leader is, handily, the Clippers’ Angel Delgado. At 17.3 points and 14.6 rebounds on 58.8 percent shooting, Delgado’s looming presence has been well-known all season for Agua Caliente. In more recent news, Delgado made his NBA debut for Los Angeles on Feb. 8 and chipped in three points and four rebounds over 14 minutes against the Indiana Pacers. Following their trade that sent Tobias Harris across the country to Philadelphia, the Clippers have some intriguing paths to end this season — many scenarios of which include Delgado’s growth.

As of publishing, Los Angeles holds the conference’s eighth and final postseason berth, winning two of their last three games post-Harris’ departure. Delgado, 24, is coming off back-to-back stellar seasons with Seton Hall, where the frontcourt menace tallied 13.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for the Pirates. In January, Delgado pulled down an otherworldly 31 rebounds against the OKC Blue — no, that’s not a type. For now, at least, Delgado is behind Montrezl Harrell, one of 2018-19’s breakout stars, newcomer Ivica Zubac and G League teammate Johnathan Motley, the latter of which has played in 15 games for Los Angeles this season.

Of note, both Delgado and Motley were both named to the Midseason All-NBA G League Western Conference roster.

1. Jordan McRae, Washington Wizards

And, in a reveal that shouldn’t surprise anybody: Jordan McRae is basketball’s best two-way player — at this point, the resume is too much to ignore. Yes, McRae is a Midseason All-NBA G League Eastern Conference awardee, but he’s also an NBA Champion. So far, McRae has seen it all: Finals experience, another previous D-League All-Star selection, a trip (albeit a short one) overseas to play with a prestigious club, Baskonia, and remains the current scoring leader in today’s G League. McRae, 27, has averaged a dominant 30 points per game — which that would rank him behind just Antonio Blakeney (32.0) for the highest single-season PPG tally in G League history — along with 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.8 steals.

With 78 NBA games and counting under his belt, McRae is both seasoned and untapped. In an inspired drubbing of the Red Claws last month, McRae poured in 54 points and nine rebounds on 18-for-31 shooting — and there are plenty of other MVP-worthy efforts to choose from as well. The Wizards, struggling to stay afloat without All-Star John Wall, could certainly use McRae’s talented efforts. Ultimately, a combination of developmental and financial cap reasons may keep him from getting his contract converted by season’s end, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post wrote in January. Through 19 games, McRae has averaged 4.3 points and 1.1 rebounds — but make no mistake, he’s one of the best scorers the G League has ever offered up.

There they are! From top to bottom — and split over two articles — there’s a definitive list of the NBA’s best two-way players. While some are still feeling out basketball at the post-collegiate level, there are plenty of hardened, consistent contributors already. There are high-ranking scorers and rebounders, but other newcomers arrive with overseas experiences, national championships and difficult injury histories. The G League has always given athletes an intriguing — if not unlikely road to the league — but thanks to the two-way deals, those narratives have often become downright compelling.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

NBA Team Salaries

Advertisement

Insiders On Twitter

NBA On Twitter

Trending Now