Last weekend, I wrote a piece on the five things that have caught my eye during the first two weeks of the G League season. One of those topics revolved around how a deep roster was the most significant factor behind the Wisconsin Herd starting the year with an impressive 7-1 record. That scoring depth persisted in their last victory against the Delaware Blue Coats, where seven players scored more than 10 points. While that deep core is a fantastic sign for the team moving forward, an actual leader of the team is starting to become evident.
That man is 6’3 guard Rayjon Tucker, who recently started his pro career after spending last year with Little Rock. Despite the inexperience, the rookie has honestly stood as one of the league’s best guards during the first three weeks of the season. In eight games with the team, he’s averaged a team-high 19.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists on 48% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc on 5 attempts per game. Those averages have allowed him to maintain a fantastic 65% True Shooting Percentage,
Honestly, the biggest reason behind that tremendous early-season efficiency deals with Tucker’s versatility as an offensive weapon. During the first few games of the season, he’s established himself as a capable perimeter shooter, on-ball driver that can finish with both hands, facilitator, and mid-range threat. While reliable in all of those areas, the rookie’s best work on offense has come as a three-point threat.
From the moment that you watch him play, Tucker’s success from beyond the arc immediately starts to make sense. Because after you lay eyes on him, it becomes easy to recognize that the young guard is a confident shooter with a gorgeous jumper. Of course, those tools have worked hand-in-hand this year as he’s shown himself to be a real threat in either the catch-and-shoot or off-the-dribble. Due to currently being Wisconsin’s starting shooting guard and working a lot off-ball, that first trait has been his primary method of launching up threes.
Despite catch-and-shoot being the go-to way for hitting perimeter jumpers, the rookie guard is capable of working with the ball in his hands. A tremendous example of that is evident in the clip below in one of his recent games against Delaware.
After moving around a Cam Reynolds screen and going to the left elbow, our subject is locking eyes with Blue Coats wing Haywood Highsmith as they were both near the free-throw line. Recognizing the space that the defender has given him and how the three-point line is near, Tucker traces back a few steps before being positioned beyond the arc. With the Blue Coat still a few feet away, the 6’3 guard now has space and in the spot necessary to cleanly launch up a three-point shot.
Aside from perimeter shooting, the rookie’s other best skill deals with his ability to drive to the rim. Although he only seems comfortable finishing with his right hand, the Little Rock alum makes up for it by being able to utilize off-ball screens and pure explosiveness to get from the perimeter to paint.
The real fun begins when the 6’3 guard reaches his destination as he’s able to finish at the rim with some fantastic rim-rocking dunks. But what if there’s a big waiting for him near the rim? Well, that hasn’t been a problem as the strong 210-pound guard has shown a tremendous ability to finish in traffic. That skill has allowed him to shoot 64% from within the restricted area on a total of 45 shot attempts.
While he does a lot of work as an off-ball guard, the young Herd man has shown upside as a facilitator. This is a new development for the rookie as he averaged 1.8 assists per game during his lone season with Little Rock. One year later, that assist average has nearly doubled due to him having more freedom within Wisconsin’s offense.
So far during the young season, Tucker has exhibited a knack for being to quickly spot and dish it off to a teammate. That knack is seen in the clip below as the rookie guard moves to the paint before throwing an overhead pass that lands right in the hands of a wide-open DJ Hogg.
Through the first three weeks of his G League career, Tucker has already made the accomplishment of being the lead scoring option on one of the best teams in the G League. Although that claim might evaporate once Bucks two-way player Frank Mason III returns to action, the fact that the rookie has been able to accomplish this is impressive in itself. Unless his shooting becomes cooler than the Oshkosh air in December, that level of production should continue as the season goes on.
Not only will that tremendous play continue to help the 7-1 Wisconsin Herd shine as an elite team, but it will also push the young guard to be one of the premier call-up candidates in the entire G League. Because while he may be undersized at 6’3, the rookie has been able to make up for it through steady perimeter shooting and an ability to score at the rim with massive slams and acrobatic finishes in traffic.
Those traits, in addition to his progression as a facilitator for him to receive a two-way contract from an NBA organization. However, he might have to wait for that to happen as the Phoenix Suns are the only team that hasn’t filled both of their two-way slots.
Whatever happens over the next four months of the season, it’s clear that Rayjon Tucker is one of the talented guards in the G League. If you’re near Oshkosh, Wisconsin, or the Herd are in town, buy a ticket to see him play because he might be in the NBA before you know it.