Eric Mika - Stockton Kings
After spending the first two seasons of his pro career playing overseas in Italy and Germany, 6’10 center Eric Mika returned to the United States in August 2019 to sign an Exhibit 10 deal with the Sacramento Kings, before being waived and sent to the G League after the end of training camp. From the jump, the BYU alum stood out as arguably the best big in the league due to his prowess as a roll man and offensive rebounder. That pair of traits allowed him to average 18.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game on 61% from the field.
That solid production allowed him to get a lucrative deal to play with Xinjang Guanghui of the Chinese Basketball Association on November 23rd, before returning back to the states on January 4th. His return to the United States and Stockton included a brief five day pit stop in Sacramento in early February.
Although the premature end to the season due to the coronavirus pandemic prevented Mika from getting another 10-day deal, it doesn’t mean there aren’t more NBA opportunities in his future. For a 6’10, 233 pound big, Mika is really mobile, has soft hands, can go up for alley-oops, and shines as an offensive rebounder There’s definitely room in a team’s 2nd unit for someone of that skill set.
After four years in the NBA as a 2nd unit guy for Dallas, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, Anderson made his way to the G League and the Raptors 905 in the 2019-20 season after getting waived by Washington in training camp. Despite his experience at the top level, the veteran forward stood out as an on-court leader that played with a lot of energy every time that he stepped out on the court.
That combined with his solid skill set allowed him to perform at the best level of his pro career. In 15 games with the team, he averaged 20.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists on 47% from the field and 34% from beyond the arc on 8.1 attempts per game.
His solid run with the 905 pushed the Brooklyn Nets to sign him to a 10-day deal on January 6th. While they waived him on the 15th, the franchise was interested enough in the 26-year-old to have the Long Island Nets trade former NBA lottery pick Henry Ellenson to the 905 in exchange for the Virginia alum.
While he was an All-Star caliber player for the 905, Anderson turned his play up to another level and become the king of efficiency with the Nets. In 16 games with the team, the 6’6 wing put up 20.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals on 48% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc on 7.2 attempts per game. Those averages allowed him to maintain a fantastic 65% True Shooting Percentage
Jarrod Uthoff - Memphis Hustle
Despite the fantastic scoring prowess of Dusty Hannahs and tremendous run from Josh Jackson, veteran forward Jarrod Uthoff stood as a versatile player that the team could really rely upon to help them out in so many ways. That’s evident from a statistical perspective as he put up a career-high 19 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.4 steals on 49% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc on 5.3 attempts per game.
Along with being a double-double threat, his all-around play allowed him to be a huge asset for the Hustle’s offense as they were five points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court (114.3 points per 100) compared to when he was sitting on the sidelines or with the Memphis Grizzlies (109.2 points per 100).
Despite being a known quantity as a 27-year-old veteran that’s been playing pro hoops for four years, his performance during the 2019-20 season makes one believe that he’s still progressing as a player. While NBA teams may look to use two-ways on rookies and players with higher potential, Uthoff would be a good option for teams looking for depth as he’s a forward that can do it all.
Jeremy Pargo - Santa Cruz Warriors
While he was recently mentioned in the “Five Veterans That Would Be A Good Fit On The G League Select Team” piece, I feel like the veteran guard deserves more props for the work that he did this year for Santa Cruz. A year after Kendrick Nunn shined during his rookie year before moving on to South Beach, the team needed a guard that can step in and be a great backcourt option. The 34-year-old showed that by averaging 17.2 points, 6 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals on 45% from the field and 33% from beyond the arc on 5.2 attempts per game.
Although those are definitely solid numbers, they don’t tell the full story as Jeremy was arguably the most entertaining players to watch in the G League when he was really on fire. That’s due to how he was a danger to just drain buckets in every spot on the court no matter if he was posting up, working from beyond the arc or slashing to the rim. His on-court electricity alone is why he’s one of the G Leaguers that you should appreciate.