Wednesday January 10th
LaDontae Henton, Agua Caliente Clippers
31 points on 13-21 from the field and 4-7 from 3 vs. Greensboro Swarm
With CJ & Tyrone Williams recently graduating to the NBA and shining, there were questions about who would take the reigns as the top scoring threat for the AC Clippers. It looks like that question may have been answered on Wednesday afternoon as LaDontae Henton put up 31 points in their victory over the Greensboro Swarm. Henton’s versatile skillset was on display during that fantastic outing as he was able to beat the Swarm with his long-range shooting, driving in transition, cutting off-ball and posting up on the opposition.
Although it’ll probably be too much to expect Henton to match this level of performance on any given night, it should be reassuring to AC Clippers fans that they still have these solid scorers even if CJ & Tyrone Wallace are stunting in the big leagues. That encouragement is needed as the Clippers will be in a fierce playoff battle during the remainder of the season.
Darrun Hilliard, Austin Spurs
20 points, 12 assists on 7-15 from the field, 1-5 from 3 and 5-7 from the FT line vs. Windy City
As one of the best wings in the G League, its not necessarily surprising to see Darrun Hillard on a list for “top performers” in a given night of minor league hoops. What separated last night from a typical Hillard game was how he stood as Austin’s lead facilitator as he compiled a career-high 12 assists. The 6’6 wing did his best impersonation of 2012 Tre Kelley as he did a great job of manning the pick-and-roll with Livio Jean-Charles or Jaron Blossomgame. With either player, Hilliard was able to throw these pristine pocket passes to the open screener.
Coinciding with his great facilitating, he flashed his knack as a scorer by putting up 20 points on an efficient 7-15 from the field. Most of his output actually came from inside the paint through offensive rebounds or working in the low-post. Most of those scores came from great footwork and hustle more than anything else as the 220 pound wing just did a great job of outworking bigger opposing players.
Jameel Warney, Texas Legends
24 points, 11 rebounds, 6 blocks and 3 assists on 10-21 from the field and 2-6 from 3 vs. Wisconsin Herd
As has been the case throughout the G League season, Jameel Warney looked like a man on a mission in the Legends victory over the Wisconsin Herd. The 2nd year big used this Wednesday night game to boost his stock as a draft prospect while also showing some new parts of his repertoire.
For the first game in his basketball career, Warney actually made multiple perimeter jumpers, which would’ve been considered crazy just one year ago. Looking away from those perimeter jumpers, Warney shined on the offensive end by consistently making jumpers that were right by the free throw line or using his strong 260 pound frame to muscle up on the strong Herd frontcourt. On the other end of the floor, Warney used his great awareness and quick feet to be a dominating rim protector.
Demetrius Jackson, RGV Vipers
34 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds on 11-19 from the field, 5-8 from 3 and 7-9 from FT line
With just a few days remaining in his career as an RGV Viper, Demetrius Jackson tried to go out with a bang on Wednesday night as he just crushed it against the Westchester Knicks. He looked like a man possessed during that game as he was crossing up and shooting shots well beyond the three-point line in the faces of the startled Knicks defense. With those shots falling, Jackson was able to penetrate into the heart of the Knicks defense as his quick first step was good enough to make his way into the paint.
Amile Jefferson, Iowa Wolves
29 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists on 10-16 from the field and 9-12 from the FT line vs. Canton
As one of the eight players that we told you to keep an eye on during this year’s G League Showcase, I shouldn’t be surprised to see Jefferson ball out in his game against the Canton Charge. With a career high 29 points, Jefferson stood as an unstoppable force no matter who was defending him. Whether it was Shane Edwards, JaCorey Williams or even Kendrick Perkins, Jefferson was still able to slash to the rim or collect one of the seven offensive boards that he reigned in during Iowa’s win over Canton.
When he wasn’t charging to the rim on Canton, Jefferson was dishing it off to his Wolves teammates as he tied his career-high in assists. With Minnesota still having an open two-way slot, it wouldn’t surprise me if Jefferson got awarded that contract before the deadline on January 15th.
Antonio Blakeney - Windy City Bulls
42 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds on 19-30 from the field, 1-7 from 3 and 3-6 from FT line vs. Sioux Falls
To the surprise of nobody, Blakeney was able to absolutely shine on the biggest stage of the G League season. From the tip-off, he just outmatched Sioux Falls as he was just a force in either transition or half-court sets as he was regularly able to drive into the teeth of their defense and finish with a sky high dunk. or smooth layup.
Although his perimeter jumper hasn’t been falling in recent games, its impressive to see that he’s been able to put up that kind of production just on drives to the rim and the occasional post-up shot.
Thomas Bryant - South Bay Lakers
20 points and 10 rebounds on 8-13 from the field, 2-5 from 3 and 2-2 from FT line vs. Long Island
The Lakers rookie center continued his excellent play in G League competition as Bryant posted his fourth double-double of the season in their victory over the Long Island Nets. In typical Bryant fashion, he shined from both inside the paint and beyond the arc. As a perimeter shooter, Bryant essentially received no resistance as his two 3-point makes came when he was wide open. Bryant also shined from within the restricted area as the Nets were unable to find anybody that can compete in the paint against 6’10, 250 pound big.
Lorenzo Brown - Raptors 905
24 points, 12 assists and 2 blocks on 10-18 from the field, 1-3 from 3 and 3-4 from FT line vs. Santa Cruz Warriors
In an Thursday afternoon matchup against elite G League guard Quinn Cook and the Santa Cruz Warriors, Lorenzo Brown looked like an NBA veteran with how he just took control of the game for the entire 48 minutes. As the 905’s point guard, he was masterful in his ability to maintain the pace of the game and work within the 905’s half-court offense. The way that he was able to change speeds and use smooth dribble moves to drive to the paint was a thing of beauty. His solid driving was helped by the fact with how he can utilize the lost art of the mid-range jumper to his advantage.
When he wasn’t driving or hitting mid-range J’s, Brown did his best Tom Brady impersonation with how he quarterbacked that 905’s offense. Throughout the game, he did a great job of being able to find open teammates, whether they were working with him in pick-and-rolls or stationed behind the three-point line.
Christian Wood - Delaware 87ers
31 points and 8 rebounds on 11-14 from the field, 1-3 from 3 and 8-9 from FT line vs. Salt Lake City Stars
Despite the struggles of the Delaware 87ers, one of the better stories of the 1st half of the G League season is how great Christian Wood has played. Entering the G League Showcase, Wood averaged 22 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 2 blocks per game on 54% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc.
That great play went into overdrive on Thursday afternoon as the 6’10 big just fed on Delaware’s terrific ball movement like he was eating Thanksgiving dinner. As an off-ball slasher, he stood as a great target due to his big 6’10 frame, soft hands and solid quickness. Once he collected the ball, he did a great job of being able to quickly put it back in the rim.
Troy Caupain - Lakeland Magic
16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds on 7-18 from the field and 2-3 from FT line
Although he’s stood as the Robin to Rodney Purvis’ Batman during his rookie season with Lakeland, Caupain looked like a caped crusader with how he helped push the Magic to a victory over the Memphis Hustle. With his second triple-double of the season, his great versatility was a huge benefit as he stood as a huge benefit for the Magic whenever he had his hand on the ball.
In transition, Caupain pushed the pace by throwing terrific outlet passes or just deciding to move up the court by himself. That same unselfish mindset allowed him to shine in the half-court as he worked the drive-and-dish to perfection by either dishing it out to open perimeter players or bigs that are driving to the paint. Another area of attack for him in the half-court was as an on-ball driver as he was comfortable with driving to the paint, whether there was an opposing big waiting for him or not.