For most players at the NBA G League Elite Mini Camp, proving their worth comes down down to doing all of the little things. Can they be a good teammate by making unselfish passes, fighting for that extra rebound, being supportive to those around them?
There are plenty of stars already gracing the NBA stage, so usually minor league athletes are best able to make their mark by showing they can be a good complementary player.
But every now and then, in the cases of Rudy Gobert, Jeremy Lin, and Danny Green (to share some examples), such G League alums have demonstrated the talent necessary to potentially rise up as a starting NBA stud.
Northern Arizona Suns guard Josh Gray looks like he may be able to join the ranks of some of the G League’s best players to ever hit the minor league hardwood. He could be on the cusp of something special, but perhaps he just needs more opportunities. Time will tell, but a promising performance at the Elite Mini Camp could go a long way toward solidifying his worth and upping his stock.
Gray just completed a stellar second season in the G League. He averaged 19.4 points, 6.4 assists, and 2.3 steals, all while shooting at a 45/41/76 clip. There were games where he simply took control and looked Stephen Curry-esque. Obviously such a comparison is a rather steep one for someone playing in the G League, but Gray has similar swagger. He oozes confidence with so much assertiveness when finishing around the rim. When he finds his rhythm, he can be seen hoisting shots up from downtown and trotting back on defense before the ball goes through the net. Some may consider that to be a little cocky, but Gray had more than a handful of 30+ point explosions to back up his style of play this season.
If he could play like that every night, there’s no doubt that Gray wouldn’t only be playing in the NBA right now, but he’d carve out a consistent role doing so. The problem is, he needs to be more consistent. Whereas he can score the basketball with abandon and often run the floor like a skillful general, there were quite a few contests where Gray faded into the background this past season. Such dominance is all but a tease when it doesn’t come on a nightly basis. An NBA team will need more from the young gun, but it’s clear he has all the potential in the world to serve as one of those oh so necessary spark plugs off the bench, perhaps with the potential to start at some point down the line. His ceiling is high, but it remains to be seen whether or not he can truly reach it.
Luckily for Gray, he’s used to proving himself when considered the underdog. As a past open tryout participant, he knows how to go about soaring when the pressure is on. Whereas most prospects will shine by doing the little things in Chicago, Gray needs to step up, take leadership of a different group, and demonstrate dominance in a new situation to show he can adapt to various circumstances.
It’ll be interesting to see if he can rise up as the skillful scorer NBA teams often crave, but alas, he needs to do so on a consistent basis.
The 2018 NBA G League Elite Mini Camp goes on Monday and Tuesday (May 14th and 15th) in Chicago.