The NBA G League season is less than one month away. Before the Westchester Knicks tip off their fifth campaign, their big league affiliate in New York will go through the preseason. Now is the time that fans will begin to get a sneak peek at which prospects may head down to Westchester in the coming weeks.
NBA teams can bring in 20 players into training camp— New York currently has 21 players— which includes agreeing to Jeff Coby to a training camp deal. While the Knicks haven't officially signed the big man, there’s a chance a roster spot opens if the team parts ways with Joakim Noah.
The Knicks’ roster includes their two-way players, Isaiah Hicks and Allonzo Trier. Hicks and Trier will spend a portion of the season in Westchester and get tons of reps with the team, preparing them for when they get the call by the big club. Even though Trier is currently on a two-way deal, head coach David Fizdale doesn't know where the rookie guard will start his season.
“I don’t want to put a cap on him,’’ Fizdale told the New York Post. “The LeBron block. You just don’t see that that often that a guy can run somebody down and meet him at the apex and block it. That’s a real gift right there. I don’t want to say G League with him or he’s up with us. I just want to see what happens with him because he’s a talented kid.”
New York will trim their roster down to 15 players before the start of the regular season. When final cuts are made, the Westchester Knicks will get the first chance at bringing the players in as affiliate players.
Kadeem Allen signed a training camp deal and will have a crack at earning a roster. If Allen doesn’t make the roster, he could be heading to Westchester. Tyrius Walker signed an Exhibit 10 deal with New York, which would mean he could earn $50,000 if he stays at least 60 days in Westchester. Coby is likely to spend his sophomore season in the G League. Each G League team is allowed to bring in four affiliate players.
With Kristaps Porzingis likely to miss a chunk of the season, Noah Vonleh will have a chance to secure a roster spot. Vonleh, who signed a partially guaranteed deal, will have a great chance at earning a spot on the opening night roster, dependent upon how he performs in the preseason.
If the Indiana product is waived, he could end up with the Westchester Knicks. In the past, New York has shown they will bring in a veteran player and give them the opportunity in the G League to work their way back to the NBA. Vonleh could be this year’s Trey Burke where he works his way through Westchester and returns to the NBA in the second half of the season.
The Westchester Knicks will also have a chance to add players through the G League Draft. The Dub Knicks currently have four picks, which are the No. 27 pick in each round. The likelihood of brining in four draft picks is small. The Knicks added two players in the 2016 draft, while the team brought in three players from last year’s draft. The NBAGL Draft will take place on October 20.
Team tryouts have shown to be vital for G League organizations. Seven players have made Westchester’s opening roster through a tryout, showcasing their value and production. The Knicks held an invite only tryout last week and have some prospects that they’re looking to add for this season. It’s expected at least one player will make a good impression in front of the Westchester staff and could have a good opportunity to make the squad.
In August, the Westchester Knicks acquired Duje Dukan and Stephen Zimmerman in two separate trades with the Capital City Go-Go. Both players have signed with a team for the 2018-19 season, so perhaps Dukan and Zimmerman call Westchester home this season.
A couple of players return to this year’s squad, but that won’t be known until the season gets closer. Max Hooper and Joey Miller didn’t sign with a team overseas prior to the start of the 2017 G League training camp and were on Westchester’s training camp roster.
Billy Garrett hasn’t signed anywhere for his second season and a return to Westchester could put him in a great position. He adapted well to different roles during his rookie season, while taking great leaps as the season progressed.
Such decisions on returning players will come in the weeks that follow. For now, the New York Knicks are giving fans a look at fresh faces who might join the minor league fold as well.