The 2019-20 campaign is in progress and there are many reasons to be excited about the Westchester Knicks’ season. History has shown that the organization prepares players for the NBA, which is evident from seeing at least one call-up in each of their five seasons.
The roster consists of several young and exciting players that are worth following their progress. Westchester is in the early stages of their sixth season in the G League and continue to grow as an organization and farm system to the New York Knicks.
Here are five reasons to be excited for Westchester’s 2019-20 campaign.
Tomorrow’s Stars Play In Westchester Today
Two seasons ago, the Westchester Knicks used the slogan, “Because tomorrow’s stars play in #WESTCHESTER today,” when their new uniforms were released. In the past five seasons, two-way players have made an impact in Westchester then received an opportunity in New York. Players have used the G League as a platform to get to the NBA and Westchester has given them the best resources to succeed.
The most notable name is Langston Galloway, who bet on himself in his rookie season and is in his sixth NBA season. Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Nigel Hayes, who were rookies during the 2017-18 season, played a huge role in the team’s 32 win season and earned NBA call-ups of their own.
There has been at least one NBA call-up in each of Westchester’s five seasons in the G League. There were multiple promotions in three separate seasons, which include tying a NBAGL high five call-ups during the 2017-18 season. Westchester has produced the most NBA call-ups (nine) in the past two seasons and are tied for the second most direct call-ups (eight) in the same span. Based off the past, there’s a chance a player on this year’s roster earns a promotion to the Association.
Kadeem Allen made a clear impact in Westchester last season as the team’s distributor and his ability to get to the basket. His defense was a main asset, which was a part of his game that was seen on a nightly basis last season. His three-point percentage improved last season. When he returns from his injury (right knee sprain), Allen will make a great impact with Westchester.
While Ivan Rabb saw time (85 games) with the Memphis Grizzles, he made the most of his time with the Hustle and showed to be a productive front-court player in the G League. While Rabb was with the Hustle for only seven games last season, he made an contribution offensively (23.4 points), showed his rebounding presence (9.0 rebounds), and took more threes (10/28) than his rookie and two collegiate seasons. The third-year forward will continue to grow this season and he’ll play a role in the team’s success this season.
Both Knicks’ two-way players were ranked in the top 10 of the top 50 G League players for the 2019-20 season.
Young, Exciting Squad
The Knicks’ team consists of many players who have had success in previous years. There are five first-year players that have had positive moments this season. Those include Amir Hinton, who put up 24 points and five rebounds on 50 percent shooting in the season opener, and Lamar Peters, who has been a playmaker and showed his quick step to the rim. Kenny Wooten is a rookie that will make an impact on the defensive end as the season continues.
That doesn’t include Knicks’ rookie Ignas Brazdeikis, who had a strong outing in the season opener and is likely to get more run in the G League this season. Brazdeikis saw 12.2 minutes of action in three of the Knicks’ first 10 games. The rookie forward made his G League debut on Nov. 11 and looked like an NBA scorer, while displayed his perimeter stroke. While that was his first game with Westchester, Brazdeikis is likely to see more time in the G League in his rookie season.
Continued Growth Of Westchester Knicks
The Westchester Knicks entered the G League (then D-League) five seasons ago as the 18th team in the NBA’s minor league. Since then, Westchester has grown as an affiliate in terms of giving an opportunity to young players and given veteran NBA players a second chance to return to the Association. Westchester has assisted in developing New York’s players, while also putting their players in the best position to grow as a player and set them up for a long basketball career. Westchester has taken large steps as a developmental organization since 2014 and that will continue this season.