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Seven Players To Watch During Day 2 Of The NBA G League Winter Showcase

Dakota Schmidt gives you the seven players to keep an eye on during the 2nd day of the G League Winter Showcase

Delaware Blue Coats v Mississauga Raptors 905 Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

Raptors 905 vs. Santa Cruz Warriors - 2 PM CST

Tyler Ennis - Raptors 905

One year after a gruesome ankle injury in a game with Fenerbahce that prematurely ended his Euroleague run, Ennis returned to North America to play with the Raptors 905. For someone that’s still recovering from an awful injury, it’s honestly inspiring to see how solid he’s been in the G League. In 14 games, he’s averaging 17.4 points, 7.9 assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game on 44% from the field and 29% from beyond the arc on 3.5 attempts per game.

Although efficiency has been a small issue for Ennis, as he’ll enter the G League Winter Showcase maintaining a 51% True Shooting Percentage, the veteran guard seems to as close to 100% that one can possibly be. For one, he regularly shows fight on the defensive end within trying his hardest to stick to ball-handlers like velcro and trying to force turnovers. On the other end, he’s able to use a quick first step or change of speed dribbles to drive to the paint. That singular trait could either allow him to go to the rim or capture the defense’s attention before dishing it out to a teammate.

Those talents have allowed Ennis to be one of the better point guards in the G League. Of course, that status won’t be satisfactory for the veteran as he obviously has his eyes set on returning to the NBA since the Lakers waived him after the end of the 2017-18 season. Although that possible conclusion hasn’t been crystallized, a great performance during the Winter Showcase can be a big step towards making that dream into a reality.

Erie BayHawks vs. OKC Blue - 2:30 PM CST

Zylan Cheatham (two-way with New Orleans) - Erie BayHawks

Although Josh Gray would probably have been the ideal pick for this as he’s putting up ridiculous numbers for Erie, there are more intriguing players on that roster. An example of that is rookie forward Zylan Cheatham, who has stood out as an incredibly strong double-double threat during his time with the team.

In his first 10 games with the team, the Arizona State alum is averaging 16.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.4 steals on 54% from the field for the team. Aside from former Stockton Kings big Eric Mika, who left the team late last month to make more money in China, Cheatham is the only player not on a guaranteed NBA deal to average at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists in the G League.

That type of production shows how unique of a player Chatham has actually been this year. For one, the 6’8, 220 pound forward stands as one of the roll men in the league through being a strong, quick and athletic player that can barrel his way to the paint and go up for lobs. Although he definitely knows how to use his athletic gifts, the Arizona State alum is also pretty skilled. He uses soft touch while working the right block and is also a solid facilitator that can quickly find open teammates.

Those traits combined with his ability to go out on the perimeter and defend guards and wings has allowed Cheatham to stand as a legitimate NBA prospect.

Westchester Knicks vs. Greensboro Swarm - 4:30 PM CST

Lamar Peters - Westchester Knicks

Heading into the season, New York two-way guard Ivan Rabb and former Oregon forward Kenny Wooten honestly stood as the two most intriguing players on Westchester’s opening night roster. Now that we’re more than a month into the current G League season, there’s some feelings of regret due to the mental exclusion of former Mississippi State guard Lamar Peters.

That apologetic feeling has a lot to do with how the 6-footer has stood out as one of the best rookie guards in the G League. That status is evident from his production as he’s averaging 16.2 points, 5.7 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.1 steals on 42% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc on 8.1 attempts per game. That level of production has allowed him to maintain a 57% True Shooting Percentage.

The numbers that he’s currently putting up with Westchester stands out as it exceeds anything he did during his time with Mississippi State. Based on points per game (11.9 PPG in 2018-19) and shooting efficiency (54% True Shooting Percentage), he’s having the best year of his overall career by a wide margin. Although that sometimes happens with players due to the G League giving players more space and freedom than they had in college, the improvements that Peters has shown is honestly incredible.

RGV Vipers vs. Long Island Nets - 5:30 PM CST

Devin Cannady - Long Island Nets

Sticking with guards that have been a pleasant surprise during the G League season, the former Princeton standout has excelled during his first month with Long Island. That fact becomes evident when you look at the numbers he’s putting up as Cannady enters Vegas averaging 14.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.1 steal per game on 41% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc.

His efficiency from beyond the arc has only grown over the past few weeks. Mostly due to recent performances against Lakeland or Westchester where he shot 4-9 and 5-9 from deep, respectively, the rookie guard has shot 44% from beyond the arc on 8.6 attempts per game during his last five appearances with Long Island.

Cannady’s hot shooting combined with him working alongside Jaylen Hands as one of the team’s top facilitators has pushed him to be an intriguing prospect for Long Island. That status could be further solidified if he shines during the G League Winter Showcase.

Northern Arizona Suns vs. Fort Wayne Mad Ants - 7 PM CST

Ben Moore - Fort Wayne Mad Ants

After a brief run with Galatasray of the Turkish Basketball Super League and Eurocup, Moore made his return to the G League on December 11th to play with Fort Wayne. Although it hasn’t even been two weeks since he returned, the forward has already established himself as one of the best front-court players in the league. That status is seen from him being a double-double threat by averaging 13 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1 steal per game on 55% from the field.

A lot of that production has come from his phenomenal work on the offensive glass. After three games, he’s already snagged 18 offensive rebounds. To put that in perspective, it took him eight games to reach that total back in the 2018-19 season. The SMU alum definitely wasn’t a slouch during that season as his play during the opening stages of the 2018-19 campaign led to him receiving a two-way deal with the San Antonio Spurs.

One year later, Ben Moore will be hoping to use the G League Winter Showcase as a means to vault himself back in the NBA. He’ll get an opportunity to do that on Friday night in a game against the Northern Arizona Suns.

SLC Stars vs. Wisconsin Herd - 8 PM CST

Jaylen Adams - Wisconsin Herd

Before the start of the season, this site did a list entitled “Top 50 G League Players For The 2019-20 Season”. One of the names on that initial list was veteran forward Troy Williams, who was scheduled to be a member of the Northern Arizona Suns’ training camp roster. However, his time with the team ended prematurely as the team released him after he was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct on November 1st.

With the removal of Williams, former Erie BayHawks guard Jaylen Adams was added to the list. While his inclusion was definitely warranted, as he had some amazing games during his rookie year with the Erie BayHawks, the guard had a year-long battle with inefficiency as he averaged 15.2 points, 6.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals on 39% from the field and 34% from beyond the arc on 7.5 attempts per game.

One year later, he joined the Wisconsin Herd as an affiliate player, where he was set to join a stacked offensive team that featured Frank Mason, Cam Reynolds and stud rookie Rayjon Tucker. Although those three players remain a crucial part of the team’s offensive infrastructure, Adams has still vaulted himself to being a real candidate for G League MVP. Part of that status comes from him averaging 21 points, 6.1 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals stats on 52% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc on 6.8 attempts per game.

Another fact that backs up his candidacy for G League MVP is how much the Herd are better when he’s on the court. During the first fifteen games of the season, Wisconsin is nearly seven points better per 100 possessions when he’s on the court (111.3 points per 100) compared to when he’s sitting on the sidelines (104.6 points per 100).

While he’s been crucial to the team’s success, Adams will need to continue coming up big as the Herd have a huge game against the Salt Lake City Stars. This matchup could be a significant challenge for the 2nd year guard as the opposing team enter the Winter Showcase with the best defense in the league.

Grand Rapids Drive vs. Memphis Hustle - 9:30 PM CST

Dusty Hannahs - Memphis Hustle

During the first month of the G League, the talk of the town has centered on the Memphis Hustle, who enters the Winter Showcase with a league-best 14-1 record. While we’ve recognized that the amazing start has come via the collective effort of a well-coached team, a lot of the praise has been put onto the shoulders of Grizzlies assignee Josh Jackson. While the 4th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft has been phenomenal, there have other players that are playing a huge role behind the Hustle’s success.

The best example of that would be third year guard Dusty Hannahs. Although he’s been a solid player since his rookie year, the Arkansas alum has pushed his game to a whole new level. After thirteen games, the 6’3 guard is averaging 21.5 points, 2.5 assists and 1.9 rebounds on 50% from the field and 48% from beyond the arc on 7.2 attempts per game. His obscene efficiency has allowed him to maintain a 67% True Shooting Percentage, an average that you barely ever see from high volume shooters.

Compared to his first two years in the G League, this season has been special for Hannahs due to his growth as an on-ball driver. From that perspective, the veteran guard is fun to watch as he’s able to use slick handles or a strong first step to drive his way past an on-ball defender. After that he has this ability to finish in traffic or put up pretty floaters with his left and right hand. The fact that I was able to actually write those words about Hannahs shows the growth that the guard has been on since his rookie year with the Memphis Hustle.

That progression into being a well-rounded offensive weapon honestly makes Dusty Hannahs into one of the best call-up candidates in the G League.