For the third straight year, the G League will not be holding an All-Star game during the NBA’s annual February weekend event. The closest thing came during in 2017 where a group of G Leaguers selected by USA Basketball competed against the Mexican National Team in what the league called an “International Challenge”. To replace that event, the G League has started to name twelve players per conference to “Midseason All-NBA G League Eastern/Western Conference” teams.
Although that definitely does a great job of highlighting the G Leaguers that have shined during the first half of the season, the older process of selecting All-Stars is more entertaining. With that said, this piece is the first of a three-part All-Star oriented series. That process begins now through the selection of starters for both the Eastern and Western Conference. Following that, we’re going to announce reserves and finish it out with some fun as myself and another G League personality will pick from the pool of twenty four players and draft our own teams.
Guard: Tremont Waters (Boston Celtics two-way player) - Maine Red Claws: 20.4 points, 7.7 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.4 steals on 44% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc on 7.9 attempts per game
As explained in a recent piece, Waters has been one of the most electrifying guards in the G League through his ability to hit shots from deep, throw incredible passes, and be a blazing quick guard that can drive past most defenders. Those factors combined with stance as the points and assists leader on a fantastic Red Claws team has allowed the Celtics two-way guard to one of the two starting guards for the Eastern Conference.
Guard: Jaylen Adams - Wisconsin Herd: 21 points, 5.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals on 51% from the field and 40% from 3 on 6.3 attempts per game
In the process of picking the ten G League All-Star game starters, there was struggle with figuring out whether Bucks two-way player Frank Mason or Jaylen Adams would be selected. For Mason, he’s currently averaging a league-best 24.3 points per game while shooting 43% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. That ability combined with his solid work as a facilitator (5.3 assists per game) has allowed him to be one of the elite guards in the G League.
However, Jaylen Adams ultimately received the edge for several reasons. For one, he’s been a bigger part of the Wisconsin Herd’s elite status as he’s played in 22 games with the team, compared to the 14 times that Mason has put on a Herd uniform. In addition to that, the 2nd year guard currently maintains an unbelievable 67% True Shooting Percentage, five percentage points better than the 62% TS% that Mason has.
Forward: Marial Shayok (Philadelphia 76ers two-way player) - Delaware Blue Coats: 23.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists on 46% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc on 7.6 attempts per game
Starting with a 34 point output in his Blue Coats debut on November 9th against the Maine Red Claws, Shayok has stood as one of the league’s most consistent scorers. That fact is seen from how he’s averaged at least 20 points per game on a True Shooting Percentage better than 56% during each month of the G League season. His consistent scoring output has been a huge factor behind Delaware currently sitting 4th in the Eastern Conference with a 14-11 record.
By being an elite scorer on a solid playoff squad, Shayok has done enough to become a starter on our Eastern Conference team.
Forward: BJ Johnson (Orlando Magic two-way player) - Lakeland Magic: 23.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals on 46% from the field and 43% from 3 on 5.7 attempts per game
Sticking with tremendous scorers, Orlando Magic two-way wing BJ Johnson has positioned himself as one of the best offensive weapons durping the current 2019-20 season. A lot of the facts behind his tremendous season was laid out in a recent piece that broke down his well-rounded offensive play.
To finish off the Eastern Conference, we take a look at Nuggets two-way wing PJ Dozier, who is the only G Leaguer in this group to play with a team under .500. Despite the Windy City Bulls currently standing at 11-15, it’s incredibly clear that the 6’6 veteran is not a factor as he stands as one of only two players on a two-way or regular G League contract to average at least 20 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds per game.
Guard: Gabe Vincent (Miami Heat two-way player) - Stockton Kings/Sioux Falls Skyforce: 22.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals on 47% from the field and 42% from 3 on 10.2 attempts per game
After a rough rookie year in 2018-19, it’s been both shocking and inspiring to witness the incredible year that current Heat two-way player Gabe Vincent is in the middle of. That run started in Stockton, where he exploded out the gates by putting up 30+ points in three of the team’s initial ten games. That fantastic start pushed him to average 23.8 points per game on 47% from the field and 42% from 3 on January 1st.
It wasn’t long for an NBA team to take a chance on that hot shooter as the Miami Heat signed him to a two-way deal on January 8th. Although his time with the Heat/Skyforce is just getting started, his collective play over the first two months of the season has allowed him to be a Western Conference All-Star.
Guard: Dusty Hannahs - Memphis Hustle: 21.6 points, 2.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds on 49% from the field and 48% from beyond the arc on 6.8 attempts per game
As explained in a piece from earlier this month, Memphis Hustle guard Dusty Hannahs has done an amazing job of growing his game since his rookie year during the 2017-18 season. At that point, he was relegated to being a knockdown shooter due to immense struggles from within the restricted area. Two years later, the 6’3 guard has grown to becoming a solid on-ball driver, which has pushed him to be a well-rounded offensive threat if you combine that with his fantastic perimeter shooting.
That growth combined with him being the leading scorer on a Western Conference-leading Memphis Hustle team are the keys behind Hannahs being a starter.
Forward: Jarrell Brantley (Utah Jazz two-way player) - Salt Lake City Stars: 19.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals on 51% from the field and 29% from 3 on 4.4 attempts per game
Although each of these players have obviously shined in their own ways, Brantley might stand as my favorite player on the bunch. That fandom comes from how fun it is to witness the various ways that he’s able to help the Stars over the course of a G League game. From crashing the offensive glass, facilitating, defending multiple positions, posting up, and working as a roll man, the 6’7 forward arguably stands as the finest Swiss Army Knife of the G League.
Forward: Josh Jackson (Memphis Grizzlies assignee) - Memphis Hustle: 20.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.5 blocks on 45% from the field and 39% from 3 on 6.6 attempts per game
Assigned to the Hustle by the Memphis Grizzlies before the start of the season, Josh Jackson has arguably stood as the best well-rounded player in the league. From an offensive perspective, that’s clear from his career-best three-point percentage and how he’s currently averaging 4.3 assists per game with a 1.6 Ast/TO ratio. On the other end of the floor, Jackson stands as one of only four players that have averaged at least 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.
Forward: Johnathan Motley (LA Clippers two-way player) - Agua Caliente Clippers: 21.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game on 51% from the field
To finish out the Western Conference, we have a player that has been one of the league’s finest since his rookie year with the Texas Legends. Now in his third season, Motley has kept his spot as one of the league’s finest through a phenomenal roll man, working the ball to his teammates, and crashing the offensive glass (averaging 2.9 offensive boards per game).