The Elite Mini Camp is an invaluable opportunity for players to strut their stuff and prove their worth in front of NBA and G League personnel. For well know commodities like Scott Machado and Nick Johnson, it’s a chance to demonstrate their continued growth. On the flip side, underrated prospects such as Thomas Wimbush and Billy Garrett have the opportunity to prove why they may be worth gambling on in the months to come.
Needless to say, all G League athletes will have their work cut out for them. With that in mind, what will the plethora of personnel be looking for as the camp gets underway?
Just showing up begins to up the stock of these minor leaguers. That may sound juvenile at first, but participation goes a long way. It proves that the players understand how valuable this opportunity really is. They’re forgoing offseason contracts and/or personal commitments. What’s more, it shows humility. Whether they’ve been in the NBA before or not, they’re not above grinding and continuing to showcase their skills.
Another thing to consider is that while playing for certain coaches and alongside specific players, individuals can only do so much over the course of a season. They’re expected to play within a coach’s desired system. Their success is often tied to that of their teammates.
That’s why the opportunity to change things up at the Elite Mini Camp is so valuable. Athletes are competing alongside some of the best players the G League has to offer. Shooting guards may be tasked by a camp coach to handle the ball a bit more and be a playmaker. Perhaps that rugged, physical big man can step out and hit a mid-range jumper. Is a 6’6” swingman quick enough to pick up a floor general on defense and create a favorable mismatch? Different perspectives are always healthy, so outside coaches may be able to shed light on a player’s previously undiscovered skills. It gives everyone a chance to see what else they can do.
Versatility is key, but so is adaptability. When tasked with playing alongside new faces, how quickly can leaders take charge and earn the respect of those around them? Proving that they can have the same effect, regardless of the situation, is a valuable trait.
Most importantly, coaches and executives want to see these guys play hard. Participating in the camp means someone is taking up a spot another player wasn’t privy to, so it’s time to hustle and prove they belong. If an athlete isn’t giving it their all, observers will take notice and this same opportunity may not come around again.
In any event, there’s an eclectic group of G League players set to hit the hardwood in Chicago next week. The opportunity to further their careers with a chance to compete in NBA Summer League or training camp is at stake, and there’s arguably nothing more valuable for these guys than that.