The 2019-20 NBA G League is getting closer by the day. November 9 is a date to circle on the calendar, as it’s opening night for the Westchester Knicks. As the G League season gets closer, the Knicks will continue form their roster.
One of the ways a G League team is formed is with returning players. An organization holds the returning rights for two seasons, so any player that has suited up for Westchester during the 2017-18 or 2018-19 season are eligible to be returning players. In the previous four seasons, there has been at least one returning player on the opening night roster. There was one returning player during the 2017-18 season, two in the 2015-16 campaign, and seven in the 2016-17 and 2018-19 seasons.
Here are a few players that could return to Westchester for this upcoming season.
Nate Hickman arrived in Westchester last season when Stephen Zimmerman left to compete with the USA Men’s World Cup Qualifying February Team. Hickman made a great impression in the organization and remained with the team when Zimmerman returned. The Columbia product had a couple good games late in the season. If Hickman returns for a full season, he can have a productive season and will have a great opportunity to showcase his skills.
Zak Irvin was an effective player for Westchester last season. He made an impact on a team that won 29 games with his versatility and defensive skills. He was a double-double threat and was efficient with his shot.
Irvin put himself in the call-up discussion in the final month of the 2018-19 season. While the Michigan product hasn’t signed with a team for the 2019-20 season, he could enter the G League season as a call-up candidate.
Paul Watson continued to showcase his defensive presence in his second season in Westchester. He is a solid wing defender and plays with good energy. He is a versatile player and the team can maintain a strong defensive presence when he plays at the four. Watson can be effective on the offensive end due to his athleticism and ability to drain perimeter shots.
He showed several times last season where he shot the ball well from deep, which included an impressive 25-point performance (5-of-10 from three) against the Capital City Go-Go. If the third-year forward can be consistent with his perimeter shot, he can be a good 3&D option for an NBA team.
Andrew White III
In late August, the Knicks traded the returning rights to Billy Garrett, along with their 2019 second round pick, to the Maine Red Claws for the returning rights to Andrew White III. He competed with the New York Knicks in Summer League in July, so the Knicks may have been impressed by his game. He has NBA experience where he suited up in 15 games for the Atlanta Hawks last season.
The Syracuse product hasn’t signed with a team for the 2019-20 season. There’s a chance he’ll be on Westchester’s training camp roster and compete for a spot on the Knicks’ roster. While White wasn’t with Westchester last season, he will be listed as a returning player since the team traded for his returning rights.