One could argue that there’s plenty of talent out there deserving of a chance to play in the NBA. There simply aren’t enough roster spots to be around, but the pool of talent is deeper than ever before. That’s part of the reason why the G League has steadily cemented itself as the second best basketball league in the world.
The NBA is slowly but surely finding ways to ensure that the promising talent stays on the league’s radar instead of going overseas. In addition to two-way contracts, Exhibit 10 deals have been an interesting tool for teams to utilize as of late.
An Exhibit 10 deal is a one-year non-guaranteed minimum pact including a bonus that “can pay the player from $5,000 to $50,000 if the player is waived by his NBA team, signs with [the G League], is assigned to the NBA team’s G League affiliate, and stays there at least 60 days,” according to CBAFAQ.com. In other words, it provides a talented prospect with just enough extra financial security to justify remaining stateside and not cashing in further on an overseas contract.
Gabe York, recently signed by the Orlando Magic, is one of the latest to benefit from such an aforementioned luxury. But as the organization is already somewhat aware, the investment will pay dividends very quickly. The guard was under the team’s umbrella back in 2016-17, when they were affiliated with the Erie BayHawks. He had a solid campaign after being picked up shortly after the season began, averaging 15.8 points on a 44/36/84 shooting clip through 44 contests. He followed that up with a similar international season this past year, averaging 15 points through 58 games in Germany.
At 25 years old, York is just on the outside looking in at the NBA’s greener pastures. He’s close, it’s clear the Magic are interested, and the Exhibit 10 deal will (likely, eventually) lead to him getting quality playing time in the G League to prove he’s continued to evolve and is almost ready to stick around at the next level.
As his statistics would suggest, York is a versatile shooter with good range from beyond the arc. As one of the standouts from the 2016 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, he demonstrated his high basketball IQ. York is quick, agile, and savvy enough to move around and keep his defender on their toes. Because of his versatility, York is a threat from all around the perimeter and isn’t afraid to keep at it until he gets open. Offensively, he’s a major threat who can spread the floor. At 6’3” and 185 pounds, however, York can be placed in that “tweener” category because of his skillset. He’s certainly not a purebred point guard, and slotting him at two guard creates some unfortunate mismatches for him defensively.
Is he a point guard or a shooting guard? Cementing such an identity one way or the other, as it relates to his NBA potential, would go a long way toward bridging whatever gap still holds him back. That said, there’s no doubt that the luxuries provided in the Exhibit 10 deal are granting the Magic with the opportunity to explore this thoroughly. York has NBA talent, and this is a chance to prove exactly where he fits.