Last year in the buildup to the start of NBA free agency, this site did a series breaking down the twenty G League prospects that could receive two-way contracts during that off-season. The project was a success as Jordan McLaughlin, Norvel Pelle both received two-ways during the summer while Mychal Mulder, Levi Randolph, and Dusty Hannahs spent time in the NBA during the season.
Due to the moderate success of last year and the need for content between now and whenever the off-season actually starts, it felt like a good idea to bring it back for the second straight year. As was the case last year, these prospects are listen in absolutely no particular order. While the next four articles are going to be breaking down G League guys, it’s going to be expanded in the future with looking at mid-major, high-major and international standouts. Until then, let’s start things out by looking at the first five G Leaguers.
Jaylen Adams - Wisconsin Herd: 21.5 points, 5.7 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.8 steals on 49% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc on 6.5 attempts per game
After writing about him in two separate pieces over the last month or so, it’s hard to say new things about our pick for the 2019-20 G League MVP. However in the context of him as a viable NBA prospect, the guard used this season to prove himself that he’s made gigantic strides since his rookie year as a two-way prospect with the Atlanta Hawks when he comes to his work as a facilitator, on-ball defender, and perimeter weapon.
Progression in those three areas have pushed him towards being the reliable point guard that an NBA team could have in their 2nd unit. With that thought in mind, Adams stands as an undeniable option for a team to sign to a two-way deal.
Andrew Rowsey - Lakeland Magic: 19.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists on 49% from the field and 48% from 3 on 6 attempts per game
If the NBA D-League Impact Player of the Year Award transferred into this current G League world, the former Marquette standout would’ve definitely won it because of his work with the Lakeland Magic. After taking a few weeks to get himself with how the G League works following getting acquired on December 10th, Rowsey used a 33-point performance against the Westchester Knicks to start an amazing run that lasted until a once-in-a-century pandemic put a premature end to the season.
The spectacular percentages that you see above allowed him to maintain a team-high 65% True Shooting Percentage. Rowsey’s mix of scoring volume and efficiency allowed him to be the most lethal 6th man in the G League during the 2019-20 campaign. In fact, you can have a legitimate argument that the guard’s performance during those twenty five games allowed him to have a better offensive season than tremendous offensive guards from years past like Jimmer Fredette.
The guard’s status as a dynamic and efficient scorer for the Lakeland Magic gives me optimism that he can play a similar role with an NBA squad. A path towards learning if that could come true would start with him signing to a two-way contract.
Simi Shittu - Windy City Bulls - 12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game on 56% from the field
After a forgettable freshman season for an awful Vanderbilt team that went winless in SEC play, five-star prospect Simi Shittu ended up not getting selected in the 2019 NBA Draft. A few months following that disappointment, the Chicago Bulls signed the 6’10 big to an exhibit 10 deal only to waive him a few days later. Of course, that move was meant to have him play with the Windy City Bulls, their G League affiliate.
Shittu’s G League career started on a forgettable note as the presence of Bol Bol, Daniel Gafford, and Darel Poireier only allowed him to play ten minutes per game during the month of November. As the season went on, his role with the team increased to the point where he started each of his team’s ten games in February. In that month, he averaged 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.8 steals per game on 51% from the field.
The rookie’s offensive success had a lot to do with his work as a roll man as the 6’10 big had the frame and mobility to be a great target for facilitators like Justin Simon or Milton Doyle. If he receives the ball at the top of the key, he’s still a target due to being comfortable with running towards the rim with the rock in his hand.
Although the big struggles on the offensive end, Shittu’s stance as a 6’10, 240 pound big that can move with and without the ball, facilitate, and snag offensive rebounds leaves some optimism that an NBA team will take a chance on the 20-year-old with a two-way deal.
Donta Hall - Grand Rapids Drive: 15.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1.4 blocks per game on 67% from the field
If I were to start this list last week, Donta Hall wouldn’t be eligible as he was in the middle of the longest 10-day deal with the Detroit Pistons. However with the recent report on players that were on 10-day deals being free agents when the season returned, Hall now stands as a player that can get signed to a two-way in the off-season if he isn’t picked up before the Disney World bubble season begins.
In terms of bigs that are available, Hall might one of the most intriguing candidates through being a strong 6’9 force that was able to shine on both ends of the court. From an offensive perspective, he stood as an unbelievable rebounder as the 22-year-old big snagged 5.2 offensive boards per 36 minutes. That average places him in the top-10 in the G League ahead of Rockets prospect Isaiah Hartenstein, Herd dynamo Jemerrio Jones, and the aforementioned Simi Shittu.
Hall’s knack as a veracious offensive rebounder combined with being a solid defender that averaged more than a steal and block per game allowed him to be one of the best available prospects in the G League before he got that 10-day with Detroit. Now that he’s once again a free agent, that elite status is back.
Bryce Brown - Maine Red Claws: 16 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists on 44% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc on 8.6 attempts per game
During the 2019-20 G League season, most of the eyes surrounding the Maine Red Claws was centered on Celtics two-way prospects Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters. That attention made sense due to Tacko’s amazing 7’6 frame while Waters was a phenomenal threat that can shine on both ends of the court. The guard’s knack allowed him to shine with Maine to the point where the G League recently named him as their Rookie of the Year.
Although their attention was warranted, a certain Auburn alum was able to use his rookie year to establish himself as an intriguing backcourt prospect. A lot of that is through how fantastic he was as a shooter as Brown was able to be an efficient weapon no matter if he’s working off the catch, maneuvering around screens, or simply pulling up from deep. His knack as a knockdown perimeter threat, being able to drive to the rim with both hands, and working hard on defense are the reasons why Brown was able to stand out as one of the best rookies in the G League.
With those traits combined with him only going to be 23-years-old whenever the next season begins allow Brown to stand as a guard that an NBA team can sign to a two-way deal to try to develop.