On Wednesday afternoon, the new-look Erie BayHawks announced the 14 players that they have selected in the 2019 NBA G League Expansion Draft. While a version of this organization went through this same process just two years ago when they were affiliated with the Atlanta Hawks, the current iteration will work as a direct affiliate with the New Orleans Pelicans.
For Pelicans fans just getting into the G League, this expansion draft both have similarities and differences from what you see in other leagues. The analogy comes through how each of the other G League teams was able to protect the rights of twelve prospects that were with the team in 2017-18 and/or 2018-19. Following that process, the BayHawks organization had an opportunity to select fourteen players, with no more than two picks coming from one of the other G League teams.
The similarities end there as this process just dealt with snagging the G League rights for individual players. Due to a lot of former G League talent either making it to the NBA or playing overseas, there’s an absolutely no guarantee that any prospect not on a two-way deal will be in the G League in consecutive years. While that situation means that there’s a chance that none of the players selected will even put on a BayHawks uniform, that’s the team these players will be sent to after signing a G League contract in either the 2019-20 or 2020-21 season.
With that explanation out of the way, here are the 14 players that were selected by the BayHawks along with their current situation and educated guesses regarding the likelihood of them being with the team in 2019-20.
Taylor Braun - 6’7, 210 pound forward currently with Brisbane Bullets
Since graduating from North Dakota State in 2014, forward Taylor Braun playing ball overseas in various countries like Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Israel. In the middle of that stretch, he made a brief return to the states to spend the 2017-18 season with the Salt Lake City Stars. The veteran impressed during that lone season as a solid all-around player by putting up 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.6 steals on 45% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc on 4.3 attempts per game.
Now two years removed from that G League run, the veteran is back playing overseas hoops as he recently signed a deal with the Brisbane Bullets of the Australian NBL. As a member of that league, he’ll be regularly competing against former G League talent like Eric Griffin, Cameron Oliver, Scotty Hopson, and Bryce Cotton.
Due to the NBL’s regular season ending in mid-February, there’s a chance that Braun can make his way to Erie for the closing weeks of the G League’s season. Could that actually happen? There’s a definite possibility as he’s played a full October/November through March/April season dating back to his rookie year.
Trey Burke - 6-1, 191 pound guard currently with Philadelphia 76ers
Following a tremendous stint with Westchester at the start of the 2017-18 G League season, Trey Burke was signed by the New York Knicks. Immediately after that signing, the veteran guard immediately started to play at a higher level compared to his first stint in the NBA due to mixing volume with substantial efficiency. Since returning to the Association, as a member of the Knicks and then Mavericks, he averaged 11.6 points and 3.5 assists on 46% from field and 36% from beyond the arc on 2.8 attempts. Those averages allowed him to maintain a really solid 54% True Shooting Percentage.
During this off-season, Burke signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. From the moment he begins training camp, the Michigan alum will be competing with former Jazz teammate Raul Neto for minutes as the team’s backup point guard. If he wins that battle, the veteran guard shouldn’t be in a position to return to the G League unless he absolutely crumbles within that new role. So, although he’d be a tremendous fit for the BayHawks, the chances of Burke returning to the G League are slim to none with slim walking towards the exit.
Quinton Chievous - 6’6, 225 pound wing currently a free agent
G League vet and short shorts connoisseur Quinton Chievous is the first player featured that currently seems likely to be in the G League this year. That confidence is mostly due to how we’re nearly at the end of August, and he still hasn’t signed an overseas deal. Due to the fact that a lot of international leagues either start towards the end of September or early October, the opportunity for him to get a deal is quickly running out.
In the likely chance that Chievous does make it to Erie, he’d immediately become a solid rotation wing that will help the young team out on defense and as a perimeter shooter. That offensive production comes from how he’s averaged 7.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 54% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc on 1.3 attempts per game.
Erik McCree - 6’8, 225 pound forward currently with BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque
After a solid four-year run with Louisiana Tech, McCree immediately took to the G League during his rookie year and stood out as one of their best front-court players. In 35 combined games with the SLC Stars and Sioux Falls Skyforce, he averaged 17.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 43% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc on 5.3 attempts per game.
While he received a two-way deal from the Jazz during that solid rookie deal, McCree was unable to get back to the NBA for the 2018-19. That ultimately led to him signing with Consultinvest VL Pesaro of the Italian Lega A. Within that league, he impressed by putting up 18.4 points and 5 rebounds on 43% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc on 5.4 attempts per game.
Although he returned to the States to participate in this year’s Vegas Summer League, the forward signed with BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque of the French LNB Pro A league. Due to that league going from September through May, McCree would obviously be unable to go to the G League if he spends the whole season there. Of course, there’s a chance that he bounces during the middle of the season. If that does happen, the Louisiana Tech alum would immediately stand as one of the best forwards in the league and be a major contributor for Erie.
Scottie Lindsey - 6’5, 210 pound guard currently a free agent
After a strong career with Northwestern, guard Scottie Lindsey entered the G League as an intriguing player to keep an eye on. However, he struggled with efficiency from the moment he landed. In 23 minutes per game, he averaged 10 points and 3.7 rebounds per game on 44% from the field and 30% from beyond the arc on 5.1 attempts per game.
In particular, that lackluster perimeter percentage was a step down considering how he shot 36% from beyond the arc on 4.4 attempts per game. Unfortunately, Lindsey wouldn’t have an opportunity to improve that efficiency as he suffered a season-ending injury on December 17th. Of course, that was unfortunate timing for the rookie as Drive was coming together as a team when that injury happened.
More than eight months after he suffered that injury, Ridiculous Upside reports that Lindsey has been cleared to practice and is looking for a team to play on during the upcoming 2019-20 season. If he decides to return to the G League, he’d be a nice rotation piece for a BayHawks back-court that should include Josh Gray and Aubrey Dawkins.
Kyle Wiltjer - 6’10, 240 pound forward currently with Turk Telecom
Going back to guys that will probably won’t play with the BayHawks next year, former Houston Rockets forward Kyle Wiltjer has spent the last few years staking his claim as a premier sharpshooter in European hoops. He showed that last year as a member of Unicaja Malaga of the Spanish ACB/Eurocup where the Gonzaga alum averaged 10.9 points and 2.9 rebounds on 47% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc on 4.7 attempts per game.
After that great season in Spain, Wiltjer will put more stamps in his passports after signing with Turk Telecom of the Turkish Super League and Basketball Champions League. Considering the fact that the Turkish league doesn’t end until June, the Canadian-born forward will likely be spending this upcoming year in Turkey with not much hope of him returning to the States.
Matt Williams - 6’5, 210 pound guard currently with Donar
Yet again, we have a former G Leaguer that likely won’t be playing in the States during the 2019-20 season. Like Wiltjer, Williams has spent time since his run in the G League standing out as a solid player against European talent. He showed that last year as the 6’5 guard averaged 12.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists on 42% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc on 7.2 attempts per game with Finnish KTP Basket and Greek GS Kymis.
That great play caught the attention of elite Netherlands club Donar, who will compete in the FIBA Europe Cup and Dutch Basketball League in 2019-20. Considering the fact that 2019-20 Europe Cup campaign isn’t scheduled to end until late April, one month after the close of the G League season, it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing Williams put on an Erie BayHawks jersey.
Derrick Jones Jr - 6’7, 200 pound forward currently with Miami Heat
In a similar vein to how we described Trey Burke, Derrick Jones Jr stands as a former G League player that should have an established role with his given team during the 2019-20 NBA season. For Jones Jr, his position should be as a 2nd unit player that will spend time at both small and power forward. Given his 6’7 frame and past NBA experience, he’ll spend more time being the backup to newly minted Miami small forward Jimmy Butler.
Within that role, the man recognized as “Airplane Mode” should continue to stand as arguably the most explosive player in the NBA through combining strong burst with ridiculous hops that has allowed him to throw down some jaw-dropping slams. In addition to being one of the best dunkers in the world, the UNLV alum is able to help the Heat out on the defensive end as his athleticism, and quick feet has allowed him to be a fantastic perimeter defender.
Isaiah Hartenstein - 7’0, 249 pound center currently with Houston Rockets
Sticking with current NBA players that likely won’t ever put on a BayHawks jersey, we go to young Rockets center Isaiah Hartenstein. Unlike the other two NBA players that we’ve discussed, this prospect really hasn’t experienced what it’s like to have an established role with an NBA team, as he’s spent most of the time playing in the G League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
The 7-footer definitely found a way to make that work last year by averaging 19.4 points, 14.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2 blocks per game on 62% from the field. His elite play helped push the RGV Vipers to have the best record in the Western Conference and ultimately led them to a G League title.
After that great campaign with the Vipers, it seems like sky’s the limit for the German big. However, his path to getting significant minutes with Houston could be bumpy as the team has veterans Clint Capela and Tyson Chandler at the center position. With those two established players likely to get minutes on a Rockets team looking to contend in a wide-open Western Conference, it would make sense for them to depend on that duo rather than a big that’s unproven at the NBA level.
However, Hartenstein is clearly a talented player that could be a potential diamond in the rough talent. With his great performance with RGV, it shouldn’t be too far-fetched to think that the Houston brass feels the same way. That’s why it’s extremely unlikely that the German big will be in a position to play with the Erie BayHawks in 2019-20.
Xavier Silas - 6’5, 198 pound guard currently a free agent
Since the 2015-16 season, veteran guard Xavier Silas has remained a fixture of the NBA G League through his separate stints with Bakersfield/Northern Arizona and Iowa. During that period, he’s stood as one of the most consistent offensive weapons in the entire G League due to a shooting stroke that he was able to utilize whether working off the catch or dribble.
His play was most evident during his 2017-18 run with the Northern Arizona Suns. In 43 games, the veteran guard put up 18.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals on 44% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc on 9.4 attempts per game. Those numbers pushed the G League to name him to their squad that defeated the Mexican National Team during All-Star Weekend.
While Silas struggled with both injuries and inconsistency during his 2018-19 run with the Iowa Wolves, that shouldn’t take away how solid he’s been in the G League. Due to his current commitments with the Big 3, the veteran hasn’t signed an overseas deal for the upcoming 2019-20 campaign. If that status remains for the next weeks, the likelihood of him returning to the G League and being part of the BayHawks will increase. That combination would be a significant help for a young Erie squad.
Mike Young - 6’9, 235 pound forward currently with JD Dijon
Going back to players that likely won’t be playing with Erie during the upcoming season, we go to former Wizards two-way player Mike Young. After getting waived by the team on January 7th, 2018, he remained in the G League for the rest of the season as a member of the Northern Arizona Suns.
Following that roller coaster of a rookie season, the Pittsburgh alum decided to head overseas to play with France’s Cholet Basket. Despite playing in a new country for the first time in his career, the forward shined by putting up 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists on 49% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc on 2.7 attempts per game.
While he could’ve tried to utilize that great season against robust European competition to make another run at the NBA, it seems like Young will remain in that continent for the 2019-20 season. While no outlets have reported on it, the 6’8 forward is currently listed on JDA Dijon Basket’s roster. On that team, he’s joined by former G League prospects Rasheed Sulaimon and Richard Solomon. Due to the Basketball Champions League season not ending until early May, it’s unlikely that Young will make his return to the G League unless he decides to leave the team. This ultimately limits his chances of playing with the BayHawks.
Codi Miller-McIntyre - 6’3, 191 pound guard currently with KK Cedevita Olimpija
Since leaving Wake Forest in 2016, the young guard has spent the majority of his pro career playing in Belgium and Russia. However, he made a brief pit stop back in the states for the start of 2018-19 as a member of the Texas Legends. Leading into that season, there was noted optimism on this site as Miller-McIntyre was listed #44 on our list of the Top 50 G Leaguers heading into that season. However, that optimism sort of dissipated once he stepped on a G League floor.
From the perspective of facilitating and defense, he impressed as he averaged 6.2 assists and 2.4 steals per game with the club. However, the Wake Forest alum was an inconsistent scorer as he averaged 10.6 points on 38% from the field and 22% from beyond the arc in eight games with the team. Following those initial struggles, he left Texas to return to Russia by signing a contract with Zenit Saint Petersburg.
After spending two years playing in Russia, Miller-McIntyre will spend the 2019-20 season in a brand new country. However, that won’t be the United States as he recently signed a deal with Cedevita Olimpija, who play in the Slovenian Basketball League, ABA League and EuroCup. Due to those seasons not ending until May, the likelihood of him returning to the States to play with the Erie BayHawks is exceptionally slim.
Isaac Hamilton - 6’4, 185 pound guard currently with AEK Larnaca
After a solid run with UCLA, which included him getting named to the All-PAC 12 2nd team in 2016, Hamilton started his pro career in the G League with the Canton Charge. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to gain any traction during his two years with the club by mostly getting inconsistent minutes within their 2nd unit. In a combined 73 games with Canton, he averaged 5.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists on 39% form the field and 31% from beyond the arc in 14 minutes per game.
His struggles at that level unsurprisingly made the UCLA alum look at different paths to continue his pro career. That new course became apparent earlier this month when Eurobasket reported that AEK Larnaca of Cyprus’ Cypriot Division A and the Basketball Champions League. Hopefully for him, that new location will reignite a career that stagnated in Canton. Yet again, due to the length of the Basketball Champions League, it’s unlikely that the 6’4 guard will be making a return to the G League during the 2019-20 campaign.
Xavier Gibson - 6’11, 229 pound center currently a free agent
Although we’ve gone through a pattern of players that likely won’t be competing for the Erie BayHawks in the upcoming 2019-20 season, we’ll finish it with a player that could very well be playing in the Erie Insurance Arena in November. While Wikipedia currently lists Gibson as a member of Osaka Evessa of the Japanese B.League, the team’s official website doesn’t list him as part of their roster. Interestingly enough, that spot has seemed to have been overtaken by G League alums Perry Ellis and Josh Harrelson.
While there’s still technically time for him to sign with an international team, we’re definitely running out of time as some European clubs start their seasons in two or three weeks. This position could bring him back to NBA G League, where he spent the 2017-18 campaign as a member of the Lakeland Magic. As a member of that team, he was solid in a limited role as the 6’11 big averaged 9.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on 54% from the field in just 17 minutes per game.
For a young BayHawks team, Gibson could be an excellent role player due to an established ability to protect the rim and crash the glass. Will he be fancy? Absolutely not. However, it’ll be hard for any team to find a big that can fill that role for 15-20 minutes per game.