The first month or two of the G League season is always the most entertaining part of the year due to the excitement of watching and learning about a wide array of players. While this can be the case with rookies in the NBA or freshmen in college basketball, the G League is different for one reason. That comes from how a good portion of teams are filled with players that have either never played in the G League or spent years overseas since they last played in the minor league.
One of the players that fits the criteria is former Georgia forward and Heat two-way player Yante Maten, who would spend time in the G League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Although he’s only spent less than two weeks as an a G Leaguer, the Heat prospect has exploded out of the gate as an electrifying offensive machine. That label isn’t hyperbole as the 6’8 forward has put up great numbers in his first few games in the league.
Maten is averaging 25.3 points, 10 rebounds (3.3 offensive), 1.5 assists, 1 steal and 1.5 blocks on 60% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc on 3.7 attempts per game. Those type of numbers has allowed him to maintain a 68% True Shooting Percentage (TS%) and 65% effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%).
Maten’s incredible production has been one of the keys behind Sioux Falls starting the season with a 6-0 record.
From a defensive perspective, Maten’s presence is noted as opponents are averaging eight points per 100 possessions less when the two-way player is on the court (99.1 points per 100) compared to when he’s on the sidelines (107.6 points per 100). As would be expected from his great numbers, Maten makes a huge impact on the other end of the court as the Skyforce score nearly eight points per 100 possessions more when he’s on the court (114 points per 100) compared to (106.2 points per 100).
Although the tremendous difference is partially due to him being surrounded by some solid G League veterans like DeAndre Liggins, Briante Weber and Rodney Purvis, Maten’s impact is evident whenever you watch him play for the Skyforce. From the jump, he’s shown this rare ability to use his strong 240 pound frame to overpower opponents inside the paint and low-post while also being able to step out and hit perimeter jumpers. In addition to that, the Georgia alum is able to recognize the correct moments when to make off-ball cuts to the rim.
Maten’s knack as a strong 240 pound front-court threat that can shine in the low-post and perimeter shooter are the biggest keys behind hm currently standing as one of the best front-court threats in the G League. Will those skills allow him to remain as an elite threat throughout the season? Or will he hit that rookie wall that’s inevitable for players that aren’t used to the day-by-day grind of pro basketball. Well, we’ll wait and see as Maten and the Sioux Falls Skyforce go through the remainder of the 2018-19 G League season.