Nate Mason - Avtodor Saratov
In the opening weeks of the G League season, the Minnesota alum stood out as one of the most positive surprises for his play with the Texas Legends. Despite only being familiar with most of his new teammates for a few weeks before the season started, Mason was still able to establish himself as one of the best facilitators in the league. That status was shown by averaging 7.2 assists with a 2.98 Ast/TO ratio, which placed him 8th and 9th in the G League, respectively.
His impact wasn’t just shown on the offensive end as opponents were 6.8 points per 100 possessions worse when he was on the court (106 points per 100) compared to when he was either on the sidelines or no longer with the team (112.8 points per 100). I used “no longer with the team” as the young guard left the G League and the United States in general on January 23rd to play with Hapoel Eliat of the Israeli Basketball League. Unfortunately, he’d only play three games with the team as the global outburst of COVID-19 shut down the league and ultimately pushed Mason to leave the country to return home.
A few months after leaving Israel, he made the decision to stay overseas by signing a deal with Avtodor Saratov of the Russian VTB United League. In the first seven games, Mason has stood as one of the players in the league by averaging 16.9 points, 6.1 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and .9 steals on 49% from the field and 46% from beyond the arc on 4 attempts per game.
Marcus Derrickson - Busan KT Sonicboom
Following a solid career with Georgetown, that included being part of the All-Big East Second Team in 2018, Derrickson decided to stay in the United States through signing a two-way deal with the Golden State Warriors. While he only played a combined 67 minutes with the NBA squad, the 6’7 forward was still able to use the 2018-19 to prove himself on the G League level. With Santa Cruz, the young forward shined as a solid offensive weapon by putting up 13.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.89 assists on 47% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc on 4.5 attempts per game. Those numbers allowed him to be a valuable piece on an incredibly strong Santa Cruz Warriors squad that ended up finishing the regular season with a 34-17 record.
As is the case for a lot of rookies on two-ways, he ultimately became an unrestricted free agent following the rookie year. Signing an exhibit 10 deal with the Atlanta Hawks, the Georgetown alum was then waived by the end of training camp. Allocated to the College Park Skyhawks, he played near the level that he did during his rookie season. In 40 games, the 6’7 forward averaged 13.1 points, 5.28 rebounds, and 1.75 assists on 44% from the field and 33% from beyond the arc. While his efficiency from beyond the arc took a step in the wrong direction, improvement from the charity stripe (84% in 18-19 to 89% in 19-20), kept his True Shooting Percentage at a solid 57%.
Shortly before COVID-10 put a premature end to the 2019-20 G League season, College Park decided to waive Derrickson on March 4th. While that waiving was surprising at the time, it doesn’t pale in comparison to the scary off-season, with incidents that are described in this piece from Casual Hoya.
Despite the struggles that he went through, his pro career is going on as he signed a deal to join Busan KT Sonicboom of the Korean Basketball League. So far, Derrickson is impressing as he’s averaging 1.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.8 steals on 45% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc on 6.6 attempts per game. Although the forward hasn’t played a game for the team in almost two months, hopefully he can use the success that he’s had with this team and the G League to continue his pro career as the Georgetown alum is a real talent.
DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell - Tofas SC
After a solid season with the OKC Blue, where he honestly stood as the best 6th man in the G League, Akoon-Purcell returned to the place where he’s spent the most time in since turning pro: Europe. Starting the 2020-21 season with the Bakkan Bears, he moved from Denmark to Turkey to sign a deal with Tofas of the Turkish Basketball Super League and the Basketball Champions League.
In his first 14 games, the veteran wing has impressed by averaging 17.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 steals on 47% from the field and 34% from beyond the arc on 4.4 attempts per game. Those great numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone that’s been following his career as Akoon-Purcell’s performance in the Basketball Champions League in 2017-18 with the Bakkan Bears was the key behind getting a two-way deal with the Denver Nuggets during the following season.
His ability to shine at either the G League or international level is through being a smooth 6’6 wing with good quickness that can really control the ball, make the right decision, and take his man off the dribble to either drive to the rim or spot up and make a jumper.