Since the two-way contract was first implemented into the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement in the summer of 2017, players on those deals have stood as the biggest stars in the G League. In each of the last three seasons, those players have led the NBA’s minor league in points and rebounds while former Raptors two-way standouts Lorenzo Brown and Jordan Loyd won Ridiculous Upside’s MVP in 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively.
After looking at the statistics and impact that each of the five finalists had, it quickly became apparent that trend of naming two-way players as MVP’s would be coming to an end. In short time, that party of five was trimmed to two: Memphis Hustle guard Dusty Hannahs and Wisconsin Herd guard Jaylen Adams.
For Hannahs, the 2019-20 campaign marked a high point of what has been a three-year long run of progression with the Memphis Hustle. After starting his pro career in 2017-18 as a tryout player that was able to find a way to be a key part of the Hustle’s 2nd unit, the Arkansas alum has been able to develop his game to get to where he was during this past season.
In 37 games with the team, he averaged a team-best 21.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 47% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc on 7 attempts per game. Those averages allowed him to maintain a career-high 63% True Shooting Percentage. Hannahs’ level of offensive efficiency unsurprisingly had a huge impact on the Hustle’s play on that end of the court as they were ten points per 100 possessions when he was on the court (116.3 points per 100) compared to when he was sitting on the sidelines or up in the NBA with the Grizzlies (106 points per 100).
Despite the fantastic impact that he had on the Hustle’s offense, Hannahs will finish with the silver medal in our G League MVP award process. This decision comes from how Adams was a true two-way leader for a Wisconsin Herd team that finished the year with a league-best 33-10 record. Because along with averaging 21.5 points, 5.7 assists, and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 49% from the field and 41% from 3 on 6.8 attempts per game, Adams played at a great enough level on the other end of the court where this site listed him as a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year.
One metric to show his solid work on that end of the court is shown by how opponents were four points per 100 possessions worse when he was on the court (102 points per 100) compared to when he was resting on the bench (106.2 points per 100). Adams was able to be that much of a difference maker on that end of the court due to an ability to defend multiple positions effectively.
If you closely followed his play in the G League this year, you’d noticed that the 6’2 guard can defend Walt Lemon or Josh Gray on the perimeter while also being able to switch onto a stud forward like Paul Watson or BJ Johnson and be able to hold his own.
After a solid but inefficient rookie year with the Erie BayHawks when he was a two-way with Atlanta, it was surprising to see him perform at the level he did during his run with the Wisconsin. But yet, his status as an efficient all-around offensive weapon combined with being a great defender on a league-best Wisconsin Herd team are the reasons why Jaylen Adams is Ridiculous Upside’s NBA G League Most Valuable Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season.
G League MVP Runner-up: Dusty Hannahs - Memphis Hustle