During the early stages of the current 2019-20 season, we’ve seen a few players with overseas experience shine at the G League level. Perhaps the best example of that comes with the play of OKC Blue 6th man DeVaughn Akoon. The 6’4 guard, who has played in Denmark, Israel, and Germany since going pro in 2016, has stood as the best 6th man in the league. In only 29 minutes per game, he’s averaged 22.3 points, 6.2 rebounds. 2.2 assists, 1.5 steals on 61% from the field and 52% from beyond the arc on 5.2 attempts per game.
Another example of that was seen from Stockton Kings Eric Mika. During his run with the team, the former BYU center who spent the two prior years playing in Italy and Germany was a rebounding machine. That status was evident from how he averaged 19.7 points, 16.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists on 55% from the field for Stockton. The reason behind the use of past tense is how the 6’1 big recently agreed to a buyout of his G League contract and signed with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Looking away from those two men, current Texas Legends guard Dakota Mathias is another player with international experience that has stood out on the G League level. After graduating from Purdue in 2018, he had a brief stay in Spain to play with Divina Seguros Joventut of the Spanish ACB League. He put up substantial numbers during his stint with that squad by putting up 7.6 points and 2.1 rebounds on 41% from the field and 36% from 3 on 3.8 attempts in 19 minutes per game.
After a year in Europe, Mathias returned to the United States this fall to spend time with the Dallas Mavericks during training camp. After getting waived shortly before the start of the NBA regular season, Mathias joined the Legends as an affiliate player.
From the jump, the Purdue alum has been able to establish himself as one of the best guards in the entire league. That label is warranted as he’s averaged 20 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game on 47% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc on 9.2 attempts per game. His efficiency as a scorer has allowed him to maintain a fantastic 63% True Shooting Percentage.
The main reason behind that efficiency deals with how fantastic he’s been as a perimeter threat. Among players that have averaged at least seven perimeter attempts per game, our subject is currently 5th behind Tremont Waters, Mychal Mulder, Jared Brownridge, and Paul Watson.
Although that great shooting has been clear throughout the short season, it’s been most evident with some of the more recent games. In the team’s 106-104 win over Sioux Falls, he led the way with 30 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals on 11-15 from the field and 8-10 from beyond the arc. That 8th perimeter jumper was the most important as it pushed Texas to that 106-104 advantage with only 7 seconds left in regulation.
After spending Thursday loading up on turkey and mediocre football, Mathias recaptured that magic in the team’s 108-105 victory. He stood out as one of the leaders by putting up 23 points and 3 assists on 8-15 from the field and 6-10 from beyond the arc. Although he was fantastic throughout the game, the Purdue alum once again shined in the closing moments. With the game tied 103-103, Mathias was able to hit a huge stepback three while being heavily guarded by Pacers two-way player Naz Mitrou-Long.
As of the time this piece is posted, the Legends currently sit third in the Western Conference with a 6-3 record. While a well-rounded core is definitely the biggest reason behind that success, there’s no doubt that the 6’4 guard has played a significant role. Although Texas will hope that Dakota Mathias will continue to push them for more wins, don’t be surprised if the sharp-shooter receives a 10-day deal when those contracts become available in January.