Perhaps now more than ever, the G League has quite the reputation for serving as a pipeline for NBA talent. The minor league is the second best basketball league in the world, so when it comes to exploring the different avenues for talent, scouts take things very seriously. Teams now have much higher standards for the national (now branded as the “Player Invitational”) and local tryouts, keeping an eye out for legitimate professional talent, and not just an “Average Joe” paying out an entry fee so that he can live out his childhood fantasy of “almost” reaching the NBA.
With that in mind, the 2018 Player Invitational was filled with intriguing prospects with meaningful collegiate experience. Many of these players are fresh off the college circuit, ripe and ready to explore competing at the professional level. The younger one is, the more potential they presumedly have.
But are these same prospects ready and mature enough to make an impact right away? That’s often a cause for concern, one that leaves many teams gambling on players who may not pan out the way anyone hopes. “Potential” doesn’t always equal a sure thing in professional basketball, and that’s why DaQuan Brooks left the court with a fighting chance following this weekend’s competition in Chicago.
Whereas many prospects received their first exposure at the professional level during the G League’s 2018 Player Invitational, Brooks is someone who has been around the block a couple times already. At 28 years old, he’s gone through the local tryout circuit in the past, even attending 2012 G League training camp with the Maine Red Claws. Since then, he’s spent parts of three seasons in the NBL of Canada. He appeared in three games this past season, and averaged 10.2 points, 8.8 assists, and 1.2 steals through 25 contests during the 2015-16 campaign.
But nevertheless, the 28 year old turned up this past weekend, putting his all into yet another shot at minor league glory. Some may consider first-year players to be well worth an investment, because they can be nurtured and developed as they come into their own as a pro. Still, Brooks’ experience is arguably even more valuable. A 5’10” guard, he’s already had moderate success in a league where many G League alumni have gone to continue their pro careers. The competition he’s faced is respectable, and given his respective age and height, it’s difficult to argue with his level of perseverance and determination. It’s endearing.
Still, Brooks should not merely be considered a “feel good” story stemming from the weekend. He let his play and athleticism do the talking, earning the respect of many scouts, executives, and coaches alike.
It could be difficult to predict what the future holds for Brooks, but if one thing is for certain, it’s that he will garner consideration for G League training camp this coming fall. His experience will allow him to push and challenge other players in camp, and given his hunger level, he’ll be raring to go. Teams can appreciate that because it elevates the competition level during a rather routine part of the season. If and when he’s given that mere opportunity, it’ll be up to Brooks to prove he deserves to stick around longer than that. But as far as this past weekend is concerned, he did his job and started the process. He’s an unique candidate for many reasons, but it’s not out of the question to say he most certainly belonged.