NBA Daily: Dusty Hannahs Earns NBA Call-up

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Dusty Hannahs was in a La Quinta Inn this past weekend when he received a phone call. It was his agent calling to let him know that the Memphis Grizzlies were planning on signing him to a 10-day contract.

The sharpshooting guard who spent time at both Texas Tech and Arkansas went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft. He had been playing in the G League with the Grizzlies affiliate the Memphis Hustle the past two seasons.

He was preparing for a G League playoff game that night when he received the news.

“I was in McAllen, TX, we were about to go over film playing the Rio Grande Valley Vipers,” Hannahs told Basketball Insiders. “My agent called me right before the meeting and let me know. It was crazy.”

Hannahs still suited up for the Hustle that night. Although they ended up losing to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, he finished with a season-high 32 points including 6-12 from three-point range while coming off the bench.

He gave the Grizzlies a glimpse of what he might be able to bring to the team. Memphis was recently awarded a hardship exemption to add a player due to the numerous injuries they’ve had.

To be able to reach this level of play was something Hannahs had always thought about.

“This is obviously a dream I’ve had since I was little, to play in the NBA,” Hannahs told Basketball Insiders. “To be able to make that dream come true is big for me. My agent called me and it was a crazy day from then on.”

Despite being one of the best players for the Hustle during his two-year stint with the team, Hannahs has largely done his damage off the bench. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard has established himself as one of the premier long-range snipers in the G League.

This season, he’s averaged 14.5 points per game on 47.7 percent shooting from the field, and 41.3 percent from three-point range. In his two G League seasons, he’s shot at least 40 percent or better from distance.

Considering the fact that the Grizzlies are one of the worst (28th) three-point shooting teams in the NBA and in the bottom half (21st) of the league in bench scoring, Hannahs knows what he brings to the table can definitely help Memphis moving forward.

“I can bring scoring. Shooting the basketball and scoring the basketball,” Hannahs told Basketball Insiders. “I try to be a shooter that can score the ball from other spots on the floor as well.”

The Grizzlies’ G League team, the Hustle, have only been around for two years, as long as Hannahs has been a professional basketball player. In that time, he’s become the franchise’s leader in points scored. This season, he was the main catalyst for the team making the postseason.

With the G League being the only pro league Hannahs has known to this point, he believes that the competition there really does well to prepare players for the rigors of the NBA.

“It’s definitely grown a lot. It’s a very competitive league with a lot of really good players,” Hannahs told Basketball Insiders. “I don’t think it gets its credit sometimes for how good the players are in the league. It got me here so I’m thankful for the G League.”

Each season, more and more players are earning NBA call-ups, especially with the introduction of two-way contracts. Having been one of those players whose hard work ended up paying off, Hannahs believes that the G League has become a great starting point for guys trying to get to the NBA.

“Yeah, I think so. If you utilize everything that is offered to you and work your hardest, it’s a great stepping stone for you to make it to the NBA,” Hannahs told Basketball Insiders.

When his 10-day contract expires, the Grizzlies will have the option to sign him to a second 10-day or release him. With the regular season winding down, and the playoffs no longer an option for Memphis, this is essentially an audition for something beyond this season.

Despite what may or may not happen in the future, Hannahs is just focused on soaking up as much of this experience as he possibly can.

“I want to just enjoy it,” Hannahs told Basketball Insiders. “I want to show people that I belong and to be a great teammate.”