Well, that was fun. The NBA Draft has now come and gone, and teams now focus on free agency. However, there are a wide variety of young players that were taken in the first round that still need a plethora of development before they’re ready to make it onto an NBA roster. For those prospects, there’s a good chance that they’ll be spending most of their rookie seasons in the G league with their organization’s affiliate. Although there are plenty of first round picks that should be in the G League next season, here’s three players that stand out above all.
Harry Giles, PF, Duke
The 20th overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers was part of trade to Sacramento. Now with Sacramento it will be pretty obvious that Giles who once was a top high school recruit will need time with the Reno Bighorns to further his development as an NBA player.
Although he spent most of his high school career as arguably the best prospect in the class of 2013, Giles has unfortunately dealt with his fair share of injuries. Those struggles started early on in his high school career as he tore the ACL in his left knee in 2013. Those woes continued just prior to his senior season as he tore his ACL in his right knee, which is an injury that definitely hindered him when he made the jump to Duke.
During his lone season with the team, Giles averaged 3.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in 11.5 minutes. Despite that limited playing time, Giles decided to enter the NBA Draft as his stock would’ve probably decreased if he returned to Duke for his sophomore season. Now that he’s with the Kings, it seems very likely that Giles will spend majority of his rookie season in the G League with the Reno Bighorns as he just needs a venue where he can grow his game and gain confidence without the pressure being mounted on his shoulders, which is something that would happen if he remained with Duke or was placed in Sacramento’s rotation.
OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana
The Raptors may have gotten a steal with their selection of former Indiana guard OG Anunoby. Towards the start of the 2016-17 season, Anunoby actually stood as one of the best prospects in college basketball due to his versatile defense and great ability as a slasher. At the height of his season, Anunoby actually stood as the 9th best prospect in DraftExpress’ January 5th mock draft. However, that optimism quickly dissipated as Anunoby tore his ACL in January which put a premature end to his season.
With the likelihood that Anunoby won’t be 100% until possibly November or December, it seems like he will spend a lot of time with the Raptors 905. The Raptors won’t rush Anunoby to the NBA right away, and spending perhaps the first month of him being healthy with the 905 wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Raptors and Anunoby.
Anunoby is perhaps the best defensive prospect in the draft, and getting him with the 23rd pick is a huge get for the Raptors. With Indiana last season, he played in only 16 games due to the torn ACL but still averaged 11.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while shooting 55.7% from the field and 31.1% from three.
While his shooting wasn’t the best, perhaps time in the G League will help out Anunoby as he can focus on his shot, as he already is a very good defender.
Tony Bradley, PF, North Carolina
To end this trifecta of possible G League prospects, lets take a look at Jazz rookie Tony Bradley, who was selected with the 28th pick in last week’s draft. and will most likely be spending time with the Salt Lake City Stars next season.
Prior to his selection by the Jazz, Bradley spent one season at North Carolina where he was a pretty significant part of the national title winning team.
At North Carolina, Bradley was a bench player averaging 7.1 points and 5.8 rebounds on in only 14.6 minutes per game while also shooting 57.3% percent from the field. It should also be known that in his one season at North Carolina, Bradley never took one three all season.
Not shooting a three alone may be a reason why Bradley spends time with the SLC Stars, as he’ll need to evolve his offensive game due to the fact that most power forwards are asked to spread the floor. Alongside that, he may also see time given the depth the Jazz have at power forward with Derrick Favors, Boris Diaw and Joel Bolomboy.