Every year, the NBA G League features a new crop of rookies that are immediately able to capture the attention of fans. That immediate intrigue is due to figuring out how these young players will be able to deal with high-quality G League competition after spending time playing basketball. Many times that intrigue has paid off as some of those prospects are immediately able to shine at the G League level. Just last year, Agua Caliente big Angel Delgado set a G League record by snagging 14.8 rebounds as a rookie.
That same interest has been evident this year as Pistons two-way guard Jordan Bone, 7’6 Celtics rookie big Tacko Fall, and stud AC Clippers prospect James Palmer have captured the attention of fans through tremendous on-court play or huge frames. Although the recognition that those players have received is warranted, you shouldn’t overlook experienced players that have been able to grow their games in the G League for multiple seasons.
A tremendous example of that would be Canton Charge wing Levi Randolph. Since going undrafted in 2015, he’s spent three of his five years as a pro in the NBA G League with separate stints in Maine and Canton. That stint with the Red Claws came during his rookie year in 2015-16, where the 6’5 player put up 14.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists on 52% from the field and 40% from 3 on 3 attempts per game.
After spending two years playing in France and Italy, he returned to the States and the G League to play with Canton. During that 2018-19 season, the Alabama alum played at a high enough level where we placed him 40th on our “Top 50 G League Players For 2019-20 Season” list from earlier this year. While some players may be satisfied by standing as one of the forty best players in the league, they’re currently playing in, that hasn’t been the case for Mr. Randolph. The 6’6 wing is actually in the midst of the best season of his entire career.
A lot of that claim comes from the numbers that he’s been able to put up with Canton. In 10 games, he’s averaging a career-best 17.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals on 48% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc on 5.3 attempts per game. Those efficient numbers have also allowed him to maintain a solid 61.9% True Shooting Percentage, which barely trails the 62.1% that he managed as a rookie with Maine.
Those fantastic numbers have allowed him to be the lead scorer on a Canton Charge team that currently sits with a 7-3 record. His offensive impact has come through the veteran having a well-rounded offensive arsenal through being able to shine as a facilitator, perimeter threat, mid-range shooter, and on-ball driver that can finish at the rim with either his left or right hand.
While reliable in all of those traits, Randolph has used his time in the G League to establish himself as a premier perimeter shooter. Due to doing most of his work as an off-ball threat, a lot of the veteran’s made threes has come through catch-and-shoot. It seems like he’s mastered that trait as the wing is incredibly smooth between catching the ball from a teammate and releasing the jumper.
Randolph’s work as an off-the-dribble threat becomes evident when he’s working inside the three-point line. In this area, he shows some real creativity as the Canton wing can utilize crossovers and step-back jumpers to create separation from the on-ball defender. Although it’s a small sample size, that approach has worked so far as he shot 53% from between 16 to 24 feet from the rim.
Another way that the veteran has been able to shine during this young G League season has been as an on-ball driver. Despite mostly driving to the paint with his left hand, the wing is pretty ambidextrous with how he finishes at the rim. That unique trait has worked out for him as the Charge wing can maneuver his body and switch hands at a moment’s notice if the act of finishing with his left becomes impossible.
A great example of that is evident in the play below as he works around a Dean Wade screen and starts to drive to the paint with his left hand. Due to his angle on the court and a Blue Coats forward coming at him, Randolph moves the ball to his right hand at the last moment, which allows him to finish with a layup.
Although he isn’t the most athletic player in the G League, Randolph has been pair that ability to finish with both hands, using off-ball screens and a solid first step as the ingredients behind him being a reliable driver. Those tools have worked out as he’s currently shooting 63% from within the restricted area on 35 total shot attempts.
Despite the talented rookies that have captured the attention of G League fans over the first month of the season, the 6’5 guard has been incredibly reliable during the past two years. Although being a dependable player won’t push you to have a viral clip or being part of the Sportscenter Top 10 list, it’s probably the best thing you can be on a team. During his two years with Canton, Randolph has stood as the definition of that label through being an efficient offensive weapon that can score in a variety of ways.
So far, those facts have allowed him to be an offensive leader of a reliable Canton Charge team, the work that the guard has put into the G League should pay off in more ways than helping his team stack up W’s.
Probably the most logical next step for the veteran guard would be through getting an NBA call-up. In addition to his history of solid play at the G League level, Randolph would be a perfect fit for a team’s second unit as an efficient three-and-D wing that can also help out as a facilitator and on-ball driver.
Although that fact is more analysis on my part, his continued excellence at the G League level should be crystal clear. No matter if he stays in Canton through the season or receives an NBA call-up, everyone should know that Levi Randolph is one of the best wings in the NBA G League.