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Ridiculous Upside Q&A: What Are My Thoughts On Nate Bjorkgren? Are We Getting a 50 Game G League Schedule?

Dakota Schmidt answers various questions from Twitter in the latest edition of the “Ridiculous Upside Q&A”

Brooklyn Nets v Toronto Raptors Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Man... it’s now been seven months since the G League season ended so it took some brain storming to remember the guys from this past season. After doing that, a handful of names came into my mind.

For example, Orlando Magic two-way player BJ Johnson shined as one of the best wings in the G League during the 2019-20 campaign through being a 6’7 wing that shot 41% from beyond the arc on 5.4 attempts per game and did a great job of defending opposing guards and wings. Although his perimeter efficiency was a bit down last year, as his three-point percentage went from 40% in 2018-19 to 33% in 19-20, the phenomenal defense of Canton Charge veteran Sir’Dominic Pointer is honestly good enough to have him be one of the top 3-and-D prospects.

Besides that duo, our G League MVP Jaylen Adams, Maine Red Claws guard Bryce Brown, and former Iowa Wolves guard Barry Brown are other talented 3-and-D players. While I’m not quite comfortable with ranking them or even putting them in a top-5, those were some of the names that came to my mind while thinking back to the 2019-20 season.

The one name that I’ve heard from various G League sources that I’ve communicated with is that Matt Nielsen stands as the top option for the job. It does make sense given his experience with the team as an assistant under Ahearn in 2019-20. Prior to that, he worked in a player development role with San Antonio in 2014-15 before spending four seasons working for the NBL’s Perth Wildcats. While there are a ton of intriguing G League assistants out there, Nielson seems like the likeliest choice to lead Austin whenever the next season begins.

Although he never won a title during his time in the league, Bjorkgren still stood as a fantastic head coach no matter if he was with the Santa Cruz Warriors/Dakota Wizards, Iowa Energy Bakersfield Jam. With the Warriors, he pushed the 2013 G League Finals, where the ended up losing in two games to the RGV Vipers. While he never returned to the Finals with Bakersfield or Iowa, he did a great job of turning their fates around. With Iowa, he helped push a team that finished 14-36 in 2012-13 to a very impressive 31-19 record in 2013-14. He did the same thing with Bakersfield, as their record improved from 24-26 in 13-14 to 34-16 in 2014-15.

So while I’m not exactly an expert about Bjorkgren’s time as an NBA assistant coach, he had a lot of success when he was a head coach when he was in the D/G League.

In regards to Phoenix selling their G League team, I’m not a fan. Honestly, I feel like its a stupid mistake to make as top-flight teams like the Lakers, Heat, and Raptors show the benefits of the league. For a team that has struggled over the past decade, them selling off the affiliate to the Pistons to save some money during a pandemic is just pure stupidity.

While on the topic of teams making questionable decisions in the midst of a pandemic, I hated seeing both Anthony McClish (Stockton) and Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Capital City) leave their jobs as GM. Now when it comes to Pops, leaving the job was his choice, which makes sense given the uncertainty of the league while we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the case of McClish, it definitely was a cost-cutting method, which is obviously unfortunate. For a Sacramento organization that has struggled for years now, McClish’s work as the GM of the Stockton Kings played a big role in having Stockton be a consistent playoff team over the last few years.

Probably not?? The fact that we’re in late October and I have no idea when the next G League season will begin is giving me anxiety. However, if it begins in January, which would seem possible if the NBA’s season begins on Christmas Day, the league’s season would have to go into April or even May to have a 50 game season under normal conditions, which we’re obviously not in.