This piece is part three of a four-part series examining the twenty G League alums that could receive two-way deals during this upcoming off-season. If you haven’t already, make sure to read part one and two of this series.
Tahjere McCall - Long Island Nets
11.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals on 50% from the field in 26 minutes per game with Long Island Nets
In the first part of this series, we looked at Long Island Nets guard Jordan McLaughlin. A lot of the positive analysis of the rookie dealt with his tremendous work as a ball hawk, which ultimately played a big role behind Long Island having one of the best defenses in the G League Of course, an elite defense comes from a combined group effort from players throughout the team’s roster. One of those players was Louisiana Tech alum Tahjere McCall, who worked alongside McLaughlin to build a fantastic defensive backcourt.
While McLaughlin is more of a ball hawk, McCall is just an all-around dynamo on that end of the field as he’s spectacular when it comes to sticking to opposing guards like velcro. He’s able to do that through quickly recognizing whether to go over or under on-ball screens, remaining on their hip when the offensive player is trying to drive to the rim and getting a hand to deflect a pass that they’d throw.
So although he only averaged 1.3 steals per game, his overall impact was a key behind opponents averaging just 104.2 points per 100 possessions against the Nets, the third lowest average in the G League. His tremendous work on this end of the floor was noticed by teams throughout the league as he was named runner up for 2018-19 G League Defensive Player of the Year.
In addition to excelling as one of the best defenders in the G League, McCall did a great job in his role within Long Island’s offense. Those job duties came with him working as an off-ball cutter, crashing the offensive boards, being an unselfish distributor and being able to use his quick first step to probe to the paint. That last trait is definitely his best as he does an amazing job of being able to finish at the rim in traffic despite having a smaller 190 pound frame. His ability to do that on a consistent basis is seen from McCall hitting 63% on his shots from within the restricted area.
Although the 6’5 guard will probably never be much of an outside threat, as he shot 29% from beyond the arc during his first two years with Long Island, he’s been able to make up for it by being a fantastic defender that can fit his role as a hustle player on offense. Those factors should allow Tahjere McCall to receive attention from NBA teams that are looking for that strong defensive stopper.
Peter Jok - Northern Arizona Suns
14.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals on 43% from the field and 41% from 3 in 30 minutes per game.
Despite a solid career with the University of Iowa, where he was named to the All-Big Ten 1st Team in 2016-17, Jok ended up not getting selected in the 2017 NBA Draft. However, the 6’6 guard didn’t let that deter him as he stood out during that year’s Las Vegas Summer League by putting up nine points on 41% from the field and 43% from 3 in 18 minutes per game with the New Orleans Pelicans’ squad.
That tremendous offensive production caught the attention of the Phoenix Suns, who signed him to a partially guaranteed deal. The contract gave Jok the chance to play with Phoenix during training camp before getting waived and then assigned to the G League affiliate before the beginning of the NBA’s regular season.
Unfortunately, Jok didn’t have the necessary repellant to fight off the injury bug as he struggled to remain on the court during his first year with Northern Arizona. In just 27 outings, he averaged 4.9 points and 2.2 rebounds on 42% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc in 13 minutes per game.
After a forgettable rookie year, Jok unsurprisingly returned to Northern Arizona for the 2018-19 season to redeem himself. It’s fair to say that he accomplished some of that mission as stood as one of the lone bright spots on a struggling Suns squad. With Northern Arizona, he put up 14.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals on 43% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc on 6.6 attempts per game.
Jok’s great efficiency from beyond the arc is due to a gorgeous shooting stroke that he’s able to easily utilize whether working off-the-screen or through catch-and-shoot. In fact, he’s so comfortable with his jumper that he’s able to get off shots while having a hand in his face.
While 55% of his made shots came from perimeter shots, Jok was able to show some ability to drive to the rim and finish at the rim with either his left or right hand. That approach work as he hit 59% from within the restricted area on a total of 56 shot attempts.
Despite not showing much in terms of his ability as an on-ball driver or facilitator, Jok’s tremendous ability as a shooter still should allow him to remain on the precipice of the NBA. Because as a 6’6 player that can work multiple positions while also being able to consistently nail perimeter jumpers, Jok definitely has the traits to be a solid player that a team can pick up on a two-way if they don’t have much wing depth.
Mychal Mulder - Windy City Bulls
13.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists on 46% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc on 9 attempts in 33 minutes per game.
Sticking with slick-shooting guards, 2nd year G Leaguer Mychal Mulder stood as one of the finer pieces on a very fun Windy City Bulls squad. Like Jok, a lot of his production on the offensive came as a perimeter threat. In 33 minutes per game, he put up 13.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists on 46% from the field field and 41% from beyond the arc on 6.9 attempts.
The 25-year-old guard was able to shoot that well from beyond the arc due to mastering the art of being able to work around screens, getting into his position and nailing catch-and-shoot 3’s. His great perimeter skills allowed the Kentucky allum to maintain a fantastic 61% True Shooting Percentage with Windy City.
While perimeter shooting represented 59% of his offensive production in 2018-19, Mulder showed a knack of being able to work with the ball in his hands as a driver. Usually, those drives come from him receiving passes while working around off-ball screens set by one of Windy City’s talented front-court players. After receiving those passes, he showed a knack with being able to finish with either his left or right hand. That ambidextrous nature allowed him to shoot 58% from within the restricted area during his second year with the Bulls.
Last year, Mulder spent time playing at both shooting guard and small forward. At first glance, that may seem weird as the Kentucky alum would be undersized considering the fact that he has a 6’4, 185 pound frame. He’s able to make up for it through the combination of working hard on the defensive end and a 6’9 wingspan.
Those traits combined with a stellar perimeter jumper has pushed Mulder from being a benchwarmer with Kentucky to standing as one of the better guards in the G League. His elite nature could also push an NBA team to sign him to a two-way deal with the idea of him becoming a perimeter- weapon for a team’s 2nd unit.
Amida Brimah - Austin Spurs
8.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 3 blocks on 63% from the field in 23 minutes per game
Since entering the G League after a solid four-year career with the University of Connecticut, Brimah has stood as arguably the best defensive big. He’s been able to maintain that label from being an incredible shot blocker as he’s averaged 2.8 deflections per game during the two years he’s been with the team. Those incredible numbers comes from the fact that he’s an incredibly mobile 6’10 big with quick feet that can either stick with driving guards or lay down vicious chase-down block. Another way he can protect the rim is through guarding in the low-post as he can use his 230 pound frame and 7’6 wingspan to stop any post-up threat
Unsurprisingly, Brimah’s tremendous work as a rim protector has had a major positive impact on the Spurs defense. Per 100 possessions, opponents were eight points worse when the big was on the court (103.9 points per 100) compared to when he was not playing (111.6 points per 100).
Coinciding with his great work on defense, Brimah also made a pretty solid impact on the other end of the floor. While he’s definitely limited on this end of the floor, as Brimah seems to be most comfortable with rolling to the rim and crashing the offensive glass, the big is still able to find a way to make it work. Despite playing only 23 minutes per game, he was able to snag 3.2 offensive rebounds per game, which placed him in the top-20 in the entire G League.
At first glance, it would seem like Brimah wouldn’t be the best fit for modern-day pro basketball as he’s a big with absolutely no face-up game. However, he’s able to counteract that through being a mobile big that stands as a master at protecting the rim. In addition to his less than stellar offensive game, he struggled to stay out of foul trouble as the big drew 3.2 fouls per game in the limited time he was on the court. That combined with his knack as an offensive rebounder gives him the tools to be a solid energy big for an NBA team, which is probably worth spending a two-way deal on.
Norvel Pelle - Delaware Blue Coats
11.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 3 blocks per game on 70% from the field with the Delaware Blue Coats
Despite turning 26-years-old in February, Pelle’s journey as a pro athlete has been a long, hectic journey. Starting all the way back in 2013-14 when he was just a 20-year-old kid, Pelle got his first glimpse of D-League action by joining YouTube sensation Aquille Carr on a young Delaware 87ers (now Blue Coats) roster. He stood out as a solid role player during that first season by averaging 5.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks on 51% from the field in 13 minutes per game. That limited playing time was due to the big regularly getting into foul trouble as he averaged 2.9 fouls per game.
Following a short 2014-15 season where he only played four games with Delaware due to injury, Pelle spent the next few years applying his craft in both Lebanon and Italy. After those three years away, the big returned to the G League and Delaware for the 2018-19 campaign. While struggles to remain on the court persistent, as he averaged 3.7 fouls in 23 minutes per game, Pelle was still able to stand alongside Brimah as two of the best rim protectors in the G League.
He was able to maintain that status through being a mobile 6’11 big with a tremendous vertical leap that let him have a plethora of chase down blocks. Although his penchant for fouls might tell another story, he does show good awareness on this end as the big does a good job of quickly spotting opposing drivers, moving his feet in the direction the opponent is going and then using his big 7’3 wingspan to block the shot.
In a similar vein to Brimah, Pelle has a limited offensive arsenal that’s based around rim running, rolling to the basket and working the offensive glass. However, he definitely makes it work in all of those categories. As both a rim runner and roll man, the 6’11 big shined through a mix of mobility, tremendous hops and having very soft hands. Those keys allowed him to be a major alley-oop threat for facilitators like Demetrius Jackson, Shake Milton or Matt Farrell. Meanwhile, he averaged a G League career-high 2.7 offensive rebounds per game, which came from the product of a big frame and solid awareness of where the ball is going to end up.
Despite being a 26-year-old veteran, he seems to still be progressing as this past 2018-19 season was the best year of his pro career. Because playing limited minutes because of consistent foul trouble, the Blue Coats big still flirted with a double-double while being fourth in the whole G League in blocks per game. His knack of putting up solid numbers in limited minutes should definitely intrigue NBA squads as Pelle has the traits to be an energy big that can come and grab rebounds and block shots in 10-15 minutes per game. A player with that potential might be worth spending a two-way contract on.