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From D-II To D-League All-Star: A Look At LA D-Fenders Guard Josh Magette

Editor Dakota Schmidt writes about Josh Magette’s rise from being in Division II to standing as one of the best point guards in the NBA D-League

NBA: Preseason-Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

During this past Saturday afternoon, a wide array of D-League fans packed into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for their iteration of All-Star Saturday Night (in the afternoon). Similar to its big league brother, most focus during that afternoon was centered on the NBADL Dunk Contest and Three-Point Shootout. While those two events didn’t quite match to the excitement of last season, D-League fans were still in for a good show as Scott Wood and Troy Williams won the Three-Point Contest and Dunk Contest, respectively.

In between those two events, fans in Louisiana could watch the best D-League talent during their All-Star game. Compared to prior installments, this year’s All-Star game was a bit of a defensive barnburner as the Eastern Conference All-Stars defeated the Western Conference All-Stars by the final score of 105-100. That Eastern Conference squad was led by Quinn Cook who flirted with a triple-double as he had 18 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds on 7-10 from the field and 4-6 from beyond the arc.

While the Western Conference didn’t do enough to pull out a victory, there was one player on that squad that still worked his tail off throughout the game. That description is about LA D-Fenders point guard Josh Magette who showcased his skills on both ends of the court as he put up 11 points, 7 assists and 3 steals on 4-12 from the field and 3-8 from beyond the arc. Although he’s usually more efficient, that game is a good representation of how Magette has been since he entered the NBADL.

Prior to his D-League arrival for the 2013-14 season, Magette first made his mark on the basketball world as the starting point guard for the D-II Alabama-Huntsville Chargers. From the jump, Magette instilled himself as a “big fish in a small pond” due that ability as a facilitatior coinciding with a knack for forcing turnovers. Those skills were mostly evident during Magette’s senior season where he put up 12.7 points, 8.9 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game on 49% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc.

Following his graduation from Alabama-Huntsville, Magette landed Landstede Zwolle in Netherlands. Despite being in Europe, Magette still showcased the same skills that allowed him to be an elite D-II guard as the young guard averaged 11.5 points, 5.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game on 41% from the field. Although Magette wasn’t too efficient during that Netherlands stint, as he shot 31% from beyond the arc, it was still a solid season for the young guard

With a solid rookie season behind him, Magette decided to return to the United States and test his luck in the NBA D-League. His transition to the NBADL started during that year’s draft where he was selected in the 2nd round by the Los Angeles D-Fenders. That selection paid immediate dividends for Magette as he worked alongside the likes of Manny Harris and the great Harris trifecta (Terrence, Shawne and C.J.). Playing alongside that solid core allowed Magette to average a nice 6.9 assists per game with a phenomenal 4.34 Ast/TO ratio.

After spending a brief hiatus in Greece during the 2014-15 season, Magette made a return to the NBADL and the LA D-Fenders. Magette maintained his incredible facilitating efficiency during that 2015-16 season as he averaged a league-high 9.1 assists with a 3.15 Ast/TO ratio. Although Magette already stood as one of the league’s best facilitators during those initial two seasons, he still wasn’t done improving.

That statement is backed up by the significant step forward that Magette made during the 2016-17 season. For one, Magette has staked his claim as the best facilitator in the NBA D-League, as he’s currently averaging a league-best 9.4 assists per game with a standout 3.6 Ast/TO ratio.

Magette’s consistent facilitating efficiency is due to his awe-inspiring court vision. Whether he’s working on the perimeter or driving to the paint, Magette can make the type of passes that some NBA starting point guards aren’t even able to make. His skill as a distributor is so great that Magette occasionally looks like a magician with the way he can sneak the ball into precise locations. Some of Magette’s best passes are seen in the clip below.

Coinciding with that, Magette has really developed into an excellent 2nd best scoring option for the D-Fenders behind Vander Blue. Averaging a career-best 16.2 points on 41% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc That average becomes more impressive when you remember that on a career-high 6.4 perimeter attempts per game. Magette’s performance from beyond the arc is probably his biggest improvement over the prior season where he only shot 33%.

With those improvements as a perimeter shooter in addition to his fantastic facilitating, Magette has developed into arguably the finest offensive point guard in the NBA D-League. Will that translate to him getting called up to the NBA? Possibly. In the past, the only real negatives about Magette’s game was that he stood as an unathletic 6-foot guard with an inconsistent perimeter jumper. However, Magette has been able to use this season to evaporate those shooting woes while getting even better as a facilitator.

Although he’ll have struggles on the defensive end due to his lack of size, Josh Magette does stand as a potential call-up candidate. What Magette lacks in athleticism or defense, he definitely makes up for it as a facilitator and perimeter shooter. While Magette may seem like a longshot to make the NBA, we know that he’s willing to do anything he can to make his dreams come true.