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Six Intriguing Players In The 2021 G League Draft Class

Dakota Schmidt writes about six players from the 2021 G League Draft class that he finds intriguing

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Wisonsin Herd v Delaware Blue Coats Photo by Mike Lawrence/NBAE via Getty Images

Jemerrio Jones - 6’5, 175 pound forward

In a usual year, a player like Jones wouldn’t be free to get selected in a G League Draft as he’d either be on an NBA team or already be on a G League roster. However, the effects that COVID-19 has had on the world as a whole and the NBA G League in itself has led to our current predicament where only seventeen of the twenty eight teams within the league will be heading to a bubble in Walt Disney World. One of the teams that decided to not make the trek are the Wisconsin Herd, who currently hold his G League rights

During his 2019-20 campaign with Wisconsin, Jones impressed being an outstanding rebounder that can also defend multiple positions and control the pace of the offense when pushing it up the floor in transition. Those traits allowed the New Mexico State alum to average 10.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and .9 blocks with a 60% True Shooting Percentage.

The mix of those skills and the phenomenal effort that is shown whenever he’s on the court honestly allows him to be a prospect that should be on an NBA roster. However, his struggles as a perimeter threat, that had him only shoot 22% from beyond the arc on 1.9 attempts per game, is unfortunately the one thing that is holding him back.

While his appeal as a draft prospect is limited due to him just being a loan option, Jones still should be drafted as his rebounding, effort, and knack as a facilitator allow him to be a premier role player for any team that drafts him or picks him up via free agency if he doesn’t get selected.

Admiral Schofield - 6’5, 241 pound wing

While Jones’ status as an appealing draft prospect is limited due to his G League rights belonging with another team, that won’t be the case for Admiral Schofield. As a rookie during the 2019-20 campaign, he spent a lot of time in the G League with the Capital Go-Go, due to being a member of the Wizards. In 33 games with the team, he impressed by averaging 16 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2 assists on 46% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc on 5.7 attempts per game.

However, that success at the G League level wasn’t enough for the Wizards as they traded him and the rights of Vit Krejci to the OKC Thunder for the draft rights of Cassius Winston and a 2024 2nd round pick. Unfortunately, his time with the Thunder was limited as the team waived him before the start of the NBA regular season. Those moves lead the Tennessee alum to be in the current position that he’s in.

Despite entering the G League Draft as a free agent, the 23-year-old forward shouldn’t wait long until he hears his name called. Along with no team having his G League rights, Schofield is just an intriguing prospect through being a strong wing that can create off the dribble that also shot 37% from beyond the arc from deep on 5.7 attempts while with the Capital City Go-Go. While it’s impossible to predict who will go #1 overall in a G League draft, don’t be surprised if Schofield becomes the man that holds that title.

Freddie Gillespie - 6’9, 245 pound forward

If you’ve been following the site for any period of time, the name Freddie Gillespie may be familiar to you as one of the prospects that was written about in the “Twenty High-Major Players That Could Get Two-Ways During the 2020 Offseason” series. As this piece goes way more in depth about his on-court play, I’m going to keep things brief within this article.

On a similar note to Mr. Schofield, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gillespie is one of the first prospects to get selected in te draft. A lot of that is due to the rookie’s skill set as a 6’9 forward with a 7’4 wingspan that can really move his feet well on defense with being able to hedge and switch on the perimeter, make rotations, and just do an outstanding job at defending the rim. Those traits combined with his tenacity on the offensive glass and work as a roll man honestly could make him this year’s version of former Grand Rapids Drive big Donta Hall.

Isaiah Briscoe - 6’3, 210 pound guard

Like a good amount of players that will be eligible to get selected in this draft, Isaiah Briscoe once stood as one of high school basketball’s elite standouts. In the high school class of 2015, the Kentucky recruit was positioned behind Malik Newman as the class’s 2nd best point guard prospect on 247sports’ rankings. In his two years with the WIldcats, he didn’t exactly reach expectations as his struggles from beyond the arc and free throw line were the keys behind him shooting 23% from beyond the arc and 55% from the free-throw line during his two-year college career.

In the few seasons since he turned pro in 2017, Briscoe has used separate stints in the VTB United League and German BBL, and Eurocup during the 2017-18 and 2019-20 seasons to progress in both areas. An example of that was seen last year where he put up 9.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists on 41% from the field, 37% from 3 on 2.1 attempts, and 73% from the free throw line in 20 minutes per game with Ratiopharm Ulm and King Wilki Mroskie Szczecin of the German BBL, EuroCup and Polish Total Basketball League.

With his progressions in those areas, his reputation as a former top prospect, and the fact that his G League rights don’t belong to anyone, don’t be surprised to see Briscoe get picked early in the G League Draft.

Justin Patton - 7’1, 241 pound center

Despite only being 23, Patton has dealt with as many setbacks as most players do over the course of a long career. A lot of those tribulations came early in his pro career as he broke both his left and right foot within 16 months of being picked 16th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Those injury issues has led to him being bounced around between four different organizations and has cut back on his time on the court. In regards to the second effect of his foot issues, Patton has only played 79 of a possible 150 G League games during his first three years as a pro.

During that time in the G League, he has been solid in limited minutes. With Iowa, Delaware, OKC, and Wisconsin, he’s averaged 11.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.1 blocks on 49% from the field and 30% from beyond the arc. Those numbers combined with his 69% career free-throw percentage has allowed him to maintain a 55% True Shooting Percentage.

Although his struggles with injuries combined with his rights being held by Wisconsin may make some tears wary to select him in the draft. However, Patton’s skill set would make him a perfect fit for a team running a spread offense by being able to dish it from the high post, hit the mid-range or occassional perimeter jumper, and drive the ball towards the rim. All of those traits should allow him to be a key player for a team no matter if he’s drafted or picked up off the waiver wire.

Michael Beasley - 6’9, 235 pound forward

Although the prior five players are all interesting in their own ways, they’re all players that either have been in the G League or you’d expect to see play in the league. However, that wouldn’t be the case for Beasley. The 2nd overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the former Kansas State standout spent a decade in the NBA playing for Miami, Minnesota, Phoenix, Houston, Milwaukee, New York, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

No matter where he’s been or if he’s a starter or on the bench, one constant has been his status as a straight up bucket-getter. He’s shown that as recently as the 2017-18 season with the New York Knicks, where he put up 13.2 points on 51% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc on 1.2 attempts per game. Although those numbers have coincided with a high 26.83 USG% to show that he needs the ball to really be able to shine as a scorer, Beasley should still get drafted. I mean, the ability to have a player on your team that has spent 10+ years in the NBA and can score in a variety of ways is a pair of skills that a team can’t pass up when they’re looking to finish their G League roster.