Note #1: This piece is part one of an ongoing series breaking down who we project to be the top 50 G League players for the upcoming 2019-20 season. In an easier way to select these players, we looked for guys that have already impressed against solid pro competition, whether they were in the G League, elite European leagues and even the NBA. That was due to how difficult it could be to project how former college players can perform at the G League level.
That was evident last year with former DII prospect Haywood Highsmith and 2018 All-American Trevon Bluiett. Highsmith shined at the G League level to the point where he landed a two-way with Meanwhile, Bluiett struggled due to getting inconsistent playing time with the Westchester Knicks and SLC Stars
Note #2: On Friday, November 1st, Northern Arizona Suns forward Troy Williams was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Shortly after that, the Northern Arizona Suns released him from their training camp roster. Prior to that news, Williams was scheduled to be positioned in the top 30 of these rankings. However, that obviously won’t be the case due to his removal from the Suns roster. In response to that, we’ve made some changes to this list to reflect this recent news.
Note #3: Due to human error by a fool named Dakota Schmidt who thought that Daniel Hamilton & Isaiah Taylor were actually on G League teams, more adjustments needed to be made to reflect that mental screw up.
50. Jordan Sibert - College Park Skyhawks: 16 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.4 steals on 42% from the field and 38% from 3 on 9.1 attempts per game for the Erie BayHawks in the League
After spending the previous two years playing in Greece and Germany, Sibert returned to the G League for the 2018-19 campaign as a member of the Erie BayHawks. With that squad, he stood as a very solid player that was able to contribute on both ends of the court. From an offensive perspective, he was a well-rounded player that can attack closeouts to drive to the rim while also being pretty efficient from beyond the arc.
That type of offensive production combined with solid on-ball defense were the keys behind Sibert spending some time up in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks. Although he played a total of four minutes with the team before getting waived, that ridiculously small stint is an example of how he’s progressed as a player since leaving Dayton.
After a really solid season with Erie, Sibert has moved south to become a member of the College Park Skyhawks. With the team, he’ll become an integral part of a backcourt that feature talented players like Tahjere McCall and Atlanta two-way player Charlie Brown.
49. Jared Brownridge - Delaware Blue Coats: 15.9 points, 2.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds on 42% from field and 40% from 3 on 9.6 attempts per game for the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League
Shortly after the close of the G League season, we had a feature entitled “Twenty G Leaguers That Could Get Two-Ways This Summer”. After the posting of that piece, some of the players featured were actually signed to that type of contract, which include both Jordan McLaughlin and Norvel Pelle. Outside of those two current guys on NBA deals, one player on the list that has stayed in the back of my mind over the course of the off-season was Delaware Blue Coats guard Jared Brownridge.
Most of that intrigue dealt with how fantastic the young guard was from beyond the arc during his run with the Delaware Blue Coats during the 2018-19 season. In only 29 minutes per game, he averaged 15.9 points, 2.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds on 42% from the field and 40% from 3 on 9.6 attempts per game. That level of efficiency is impressive considering how he had the 3rd most three-point attempts per game, only being positioned behind Devonte’ Graham and Duncan Robinson.
In addition to being a standout perimeter shooter, Brownridge was able to contribute to the Blue Coats’ offense through attacking on closeouts and throwing the occasional assist. Although those traits weren’t enough for him to get an NBA deal, the 6’3 guard will make his return to the Delaware Blue Coats during the 2019-20 season. He should have an opportunity to improve his numbers by getting a chance to work with stud veteran point guard Xavier Munford.
48. Jaylen Adams - Wisconsin Herd: 15.2 points, 6.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals on 39% from field and 34% from 3 on 7.5 attempts per game for the Erie BayHawks in the G League
At times during the 2019-20 G League season, there was perhaps no player more exciting and electrifying than Erie BayHawks rookie guard Jaylen Adams. Despite the 6’2, 190 pound guard being smaller than a lot of the guys he was matched up against, the St. Bonaventure alum showed an ability to just take a game over. Whether it was through nailing 3’s from Curry range, using handles to break down opponents or throwing precise passes to roll men, he has the tools to make fans go crazy.
Those traits led to him having some huge games, including a November 16th matchup against the Westchester Knicks where he put up 44 points, 5 assists and 2 steals on 13-22 from the field, 10-17 from 3 and 8-13 from the free throw line. Another huge outing occurred more than two months later in Erie’s January 23rd game against Fort Wayne where Adams caught fire putting up 40 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 1 steal on 14-22 from the field, 7-12 from 3 and 5-6 from the free throw line.
Although those outings were fantastic, they were rare occasions in what was an otherwise inconsistent season. That inefficient nature is most evident during his performance during his last 10 games with Erie where he put up 13.3 points, 7.3 assists, 5.1 rebounds on 40% the field and 33% from 3 on 6 attempts per game. Struggles with consistency was only evident with his scoring as Adams was a very solid facilitator. For the year, he averaged 6.3 assists per game with a 2.4 Ast/TO ratio, which placed him in the upper echelon among G League passers.
One year after his status as a two-way player with Atlanta, Adams will return to the G League with the Wisconsin Herd. Unlike his time with Erie, the 2nd year guard won’t have a huge role for the team as he’ll likely be the third wheel to Bucks’ two-way players Cameron Reynolds and Frank Mason. That could honestly be beneficial for him as it would lead to the guard focusing more on facilitating, which would probably boost his efficiency.
47. JP Macura - Canton Charge: 16.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals on 46% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc on 6.3 attempts per game for the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA G League
After a decent career with Xavier University, where he put up solid numbers but was never named to an All-Big East Team, Macura started his pro career as a two-way player with the Charlotte Hornets. Like most guys under that type of contract, most of his time was spent in the G League with the Greensboro Swarm. With that team, the 6’5 guard probably had the best season of his entire career. Putting up 16.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals on 46% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. Although those stats aren’t groundbreaking, they were good enough to allow him to be a solid Robin to Joe Chealey’s Batman.
After getting waived by Charlotte during the off-season, Macura made his way to Cleveland on an Exhibit 10 contract for the team’s training camp. However, his time with the Cavs was brief as the team cut him on October 16th, just six days before the start of the NBA’s regular season. Following that release, he made his way to the Canton Charge as an affiliate player. With that team, he should be an integral part of a solid Canton backcourt that will include Sheldon Mac, Malik Newman, Alex Robinson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman
46. Kobi Simmons - Greensboro Swarm: 17.1 points, 3.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals on 43% from the field and 27% from 3 on 4.1 attempts per game with the Canton Charge of the G League.
Going from a current player for Canton to an alum, Simmons will be entering his 3rd season in the G League. During his initial two seasons, he’s stood as a solid offensive weapon that has shown a knack putting up points in bunches at a moment’s notice. That knack was shown during the month of December where he averaged 17.6 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds on 46% from the field and 37% from 3 on 3.8 attempts per game for the Charge.
Although that type of play pretty much represented how he was during the 2018-19 season, a rough November basically killed his overall efficiency for the entire year. During that month, he put up 14.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3 assists on only 35% from the field and 13% from beyond the arc on 3.3 attempts per game.
As he enters the new surroundings of Greensboro, the 6’5 guard will hope to improve on his time with Canton. The 22-year-old should have a good shot at doing that as he’ll be sharing the back-court with 2nd-year guard Joe Chealey. That association should give Simmons less offensive responsibility, which could lead to improved efficiency
45. Jared Cunningham - Santa Cruz: 14 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals on 38% from the field and 30% from 3 on 3.9 attempts in 3.9 attempts per game with Germany Basket Brescia in the Eurocup and Italian Lega A.
17.2 points, 3.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game on 39% from the field and 31% from beyond the arc on 5.1 attempts per game in 69 total G League games.
After spending the last three years playing ball in China, Germany and Italy, Cunningham will return to America and the G League as a member of the Santa Cruz Warriors. While he’s been collecting stamps in his passport for the past few years, the veteran is no stranger to the G League. In fact, that’s where he spent the first three years of his pro career, where Cunningham played with Texas, Bakersfield, Delaware and Idaho. The best of those seasons came in 2014 where he put up 18.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game on 42% from the field and 32% from 3 as a member of the Delaware 87ers (now Blue Coats).
Like the aforementioned Simmons, Cunningham has struggled with efficiency during his pro career. When he was actually on, the 6’5 guard stood as one of the most electrifying offensive players in the league due to his ability to explode to the rim and hit the occasional mid-range jumper. As you can see from the clip below, that explosiveness has persisted into his overseas run.
Returning to the G League as an experienced 28-year-old that’s been around the globe, the 6’5 guard will add veteran experience to a Santa Cruz Warriors team with a lot of veteran talent. Although it’s unclear how many minutes he’ll get with the team that already has Damion Lee, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Aaron Harrison and Jeremy Pargo, Cunningham should still stand as a solid part of the squad.
44. Tahjere McCall - College Park: 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game on 50% from the field and 28% from 3 on 2.3 attempts per game with the Long Island Nets in the G League
From a statistical perspective, McCall being on this list doesn’t make the most sense as he wasn’t an electrifying scorer or top-flight passer. In fact, he stood as the Long Island Nets’ sixth leading scorer and fifth-best facilitator when you look at points and assists per game, respectively.
While his statistics weren’t too impressive, McCall is on this list due to his play on the defensive end of the court. The 6’5 guard is absolutely tenacious on this end of the floor as he works his ass off to stick to his opponent like velcro and prevent them having an open shot or driving lane. Some of that tenacity is seen from how he averaged 1.4 steals in only 26 minutes per game. However, the greatest quantifier of his play on this end of the floor is how he finished as the runner-up to Chris Boucher in the league’s Defensive Player of the Year voting.
That fantastic defense combined with his ability to help on offense as an off-ball cutter and offensive rebounder will allow him to be a key part of a young College Park SkyHawks team
43. Sir’Dominic Pointer - Canton: 9.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks on 52% from the field and 40% from 3 on 2.4 attempts per game with Canton Charge of the G League
Sticking with great defenders, we move back to Canton and look at veteran forward Sir’Dominic Pointer. Tremendous defense isn’t exactly a new addition as it’s been a part of his game dating back to his time at St. John’s where he won the Big East Defensive Player of the Year during the 2014-15 season. That singular trait pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to select him with the 53rd pick in that year’s NBA Draft. Although he didn’t stay with the Cavaliers for long, tremendous defense allowed him to play in countries like Israel and Hungary.
While a lot of NBA fans may have since forgot about Pointer since getting drafted four years ago, the veteran has only gotten better. That consistent improvement was evident during the 2018-19 season, where he stood as one of the finest 3-and-D players in the G League. His defense is evident from how he averaged 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks while only playing 23 minutes per game. Despite that limited playing time, he stood out as someone special as he’s the only G Leaguer to average at least 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
In addition to that great defense, Pointer had the best offensive year in his pro career by averaging 9.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 52% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. Those shooting averages allowed him to maintain a 62% True Shooting Percentage, the best average in his whole career.
Returning to the Canton Charge for the 2nd straight season, the veteran forward should continue to stand as one of the most unique all-around players in the G League. Although his two-way nature will be a huge benefit for Canton, don’t be surprised if you see him with an NBA team some time during the 2019-20 season.
42. Joe Chealey - Greensboro: 16.3 points, 5.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds on 44% from the field and 33% from 3 on 3.4 attempts per game with Greensboro Swarm in the G League
After starting this piece talking about JP Macura, we surpass the half-way point by looking at his back-court partner. In a similar vein to the aforementioned Xavier alum, Chealey didn’t put up eye-popping numbers during his debut G League season with the Greensboro Swarm. However, he stood as one of the most reliable offensive point guards in the G League due to his knack as a facilitator and scorer. In regards to his work as a passer, the 6’3 guard was very solid as he averaged 5.4 assists per game while maintaining a 2.4 Ast/TO ratio. That type of efficiency is impressive when you realize that a lot of his assists came from drive-and-dish looks.
Outside of his solid work as a facilitator, Chealey also shined as a solid scorer for the Swarm. A lot of his points came through three different ways: driving to the paint, hitting perimeter jumpers and mid-range looks. Among those traits, he looked most comfortable working as a mid-range threat. That thought largely comes from how he looked with going around an off-ball screen, getting to his spot on the left elbow, and just firing off a pretty 18-foot jumper.
For the second straight season, Chealey will be with the Greensboro Swarm. This time, it’ll be as a standard G Leaguer as the Hornets waived in July only to sign him to an exhibit 10 contract in August. This was meant for the team to acquire his G League rights and have him be an affiliate player with Greensboro.
41. Josh Magette - Lakeland (two-way) 13.1 points, 8.8 assists, 4 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game on 40% from the field and 34% from 3 on 5.5 attempts per game in 181 total NBA G League games
After spending last year playing with Herbalife Gran Canaria and Cedevita of the Euroleague and Eurocup, respectively, Magette is back home in the G League as a two-way player with the Lakeland Magic. Since entering the league as an unknown 23-year-old DII standout, the 6’1 guard has gone onto become one of the best facilitators that the league has ever see. In addition to his amazing per-game average and incredible 3.5 Ast/TO ratio, that elite status is seen from how the 1594 career assists he’s compiled has him sitting 3rd on the G League’s record book behind Will Conroy (1765 assists) and Curtis Stinson (2032 assists).
Honestly, that tremendous facilitating in itself allows Magette to be an option to be on these top-50 lists. However, that status is cemented through everything else on the court. For example, he’s consistently stood as one of the league’s ball hawks, as he’s averaged 1.9 steals per game during his G League career.
Magette’s tremendous facilitating and ability to force turnovers should allow him to be a solid veteran leader for the Lakeland Magic this year. Don’t be surprised to see take a huge leap on the G League’s All-Time Assists leader board as he’ll get a chance to work with great offensive players like BJ & Amile Johnson.