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Frequently Asked Questions: NBA G League

1. What is the NBA G League?

The NBA G League, formerly the NBA Development League or NBA D-League, is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers and front office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory.

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2. When was the NBA G League established?

The league began play as the NBA Development League beginning with the 2001-02 season. It enters its 17th season in 2017-18 after being renamed the NBA G League.

3. How many teams are in the NBA G League?

There are 26 NBA G League teams for the 2017-18 season, each singly affiliated with an NBA team.

They included: Agua Caliente Clippers (L.A. Clippers), Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs), Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers), Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers), Erie BayHawks (Atlanta Hawks), Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers), Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons), Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets), Iowa Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves), Lakeland Magic (Orlando Magic), Long Island Nets (Brooklyn Nets), Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics), Memphis Hustle (Memphis Grizzlies), Northern Arizona Suns (Phoenix Suns), Oklahoma City Blue (Oklahoma City Thunder), Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors), Reno Bighorns (Sacramento Kings), Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets), Salt Lake City Stars (Utah Jazz), Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors), Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami Heat), South Bay Lakers (Los Angeles Lakers), Texas Legends (Dallas Mavericks), Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks), Windy City Bulls (Chicago Bulls) and Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee Bucks).

Six NBA franchises purchased new NBA G League affiliates that will begin play next season:

  • The Milwaukee Bucks purchased an expansion team to begin play in Oshkosh, Wisc., as the Wisconsin Herd
  • The Memphis Grizzlies purchased an expansion team to begin play in Southaven, Miss., as the Memphis Hustle.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers purchased an expansion team to begin play in Ontario, Calif., as the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario.
  • The Orlando Magic purchased the Erie BayHawks. Their affiliate will debut as the Lakeland Magic in Lakeland, Fla.
  • The Atlanta Hawks purchased an NBA D-League affiliate that will begin play as the Erie BayHawks before relocating to College Park, Ga., in 2019-20.
  • The Minnesota Timberwolves purchased the Iowa Energy and renamed the team the Iowa Wolves.

The Washington Wizards have purchased an NBA G League affiliate that will begin play in D.C. during the 2018-19 season as the league’s 27th team.

4. How many games are in an NBA G League season?

Each teams play a 50-game schedule.

5. When do the regular season and playoffs begin and end?

The regular season begins in November and runs into April. In April, the playoffs consist of a four-round, 12-team playoff format.

6. How can I watch games?

All NBA G League games, with the exception of those that are televised nationally, will be streamed live on Facebook Live. Log on to Facebook.com/NBAGLeague before tip-off or find the link via the game page on NBAGLeague.com.

7. How can I follow the NBA G League?

The official website of the NBA G League is NBAGLeague.com. You can also download the NBA G League mobile app for iOs and Android devices. On social media, you can follow the NBA G League on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat (“nbagleague”).

8. How many NBA G League players have made it to the NBA?

An all-time high 135 players with NBA G League experience were on NBA rosters at the start of the 2016-17 regular season, representing 30 percent of the league.

This group includes both players who were assigned from the NBA to the NBA G League and players who were called up from the NBA D-League to the NBA at some point in their careers.

At least 30 NBA G League prospects have been called up to the NBA in each of the past five seasons. A record 92 NBA players were assigned to the NBA G League an all-time high 479 total times in 2016-17.

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9. Who are some of the best NBA players who have played in the NBA G League?

Top players who have been assigned to the NBA G League include Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Pistons guard Reggie Jackson and Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson.

Top players who were called up from the NBA G League include Spurs guard Danny Green, Heat guard Gerald Green, Hornets guard Jeremy Lin and Heat center Hassan Whiteside.

10. What is a Call-Up?

A Call-Up occurs when a player under contract with the NBA G League is signed by an NBA team to an NBA contract. More than 30 NBA G League prospects have received a GATORADE Call-Up in each of the past six seasons.

11. What is an assignment?

An assignment occurs when an NBA team sends a player to its NBA G League affiliate. That player remains under NBA contract and the assigning NBA team has the exclusive rights to recall that player at any time.

Over the past three seasons, an average of 62 NBA players have been assigned to the NBA G League an average total of 234 times (players with under three years of service can be assigned an unlimited number of times each season).

12. What is a two-way contract?

Beginning in the 2017 offseason, NBA rosters expanded from 15 to 17 players with the addition of two spots for players under “Two-Way Contracts.”

NBA teams may have up to two players under NBA Two-Way Contracts who will spend the bulk of the season in the NBA G League and not more than 45 days with their NBA team. Two-Way players are paid a corresponding daily amount based on the number of days they play in each league. Only players with four or fewer years of NBA service are able to sign Two-Way Contracts, which can be for either one or two seasons.

13. How many teams make the playoffs?

The playoff rules have changed as the league has expanded. In 2017, the team with the best regular-season record in each division automatically qualifies for the postseason as one of six “division winners.”  The additional six playoff berths will be filled by the three “wild card” teams in each conference with the best regular-season records, other than the division winners.

The conferences will be seeded one through six, with the division winners owning the first, second and third seeds and the wild card teams occupying the fourth, fifth and sixth seeds based on regular-season records.  The top two seeds in each conference will earn a bye into the second round.  The playoffs will begin with three single-elimination rounds before culminating with a best-of-three NBA G League Finals, which will be played in a one-one-one format.

14. Is there an NBA G League All-Star Game?

Yes, the NBA G League All-Star Game has been part of NBA All-Star Weekend since 2007. The league also puts on its own three-point and slam dunk contests.

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15. How are All-Stars selected?

The All-Stars are selected by a vote of all of the league’s head coaches. Players are eligible for All-Star voting if they play in at least half of their team’s games through a predetermined date in late January. Players must be on an active NBA G League roster at the time of the All-Star Game in order to compete and the league replaces any ineligible players.

16. Who coaches the All-Star teams?

The two spots go to the head coaches of the teams with the best record in each conference at the completion of All-Star voting in late January.

17. When is the NBA G League Draft?

The NBA G League Draft is typically held in the last week of October or the first week of November. This occurs after NBA start-of-season rosters are finalized.

18. Who is eligible to be drafted?

The league signs about 180 players each year to join the pool of draft-eligible prospects. They include college players who went undrafted in the NBA Draft, international prospects, and players who were recently waived by NBA teams following training camp. Players must be 18 years old to be eligible for the NBA G League Draft, as opposed to the NBA’s age minimum of 19.

19. How many players are on an NBA G League roster?

There are a minimum of 10 players on rosters, with two additional spots for players placed on the inactive/injury list. A team’s active roster may expand to up to 13 players if its parent club assigns players from the NBA roster.

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20. How do NBA G League contracts work?

NBA G League players sign standard one-year contracts with the league, not individual teams, according to three different salary scales. (This excludes players on assignment from the NBA, who remain under NBA contract.)

Beginning in the 2017 offseason, NBA rosters expanded from 15 to 17 players with the addition of two spots for players under “Two-Way Contracts.”

NBA teams may have up to two players under NBA Two-Way Contracts who will spend the bulk of the season in the NBA G League and not more than 45 days with their NBA team. Two-Way players are paid a corresponding daily amount based on the number of days they play in each league. Only players with four or fewer years of NBA service are able to sign Two-Way Contracts, which can be for either one or two seasons.

21. Where do NBA G League players come from?

There are nine different paths a player can take to the NBA D-League:

  • NBA teams can assign players to their NBA G League affiliate and recall them at any time.
  • NBA teams can sign players with four years of service or fewer to two-way contracts, allowing them to retain their rights while the player spends the bulk of the season in the NBA G League.
  • NBA teams can draft players and sign them to NBA G League contracts, thus retaining their rights through the “Draft Rights Player” rule.
  • NBA teams can designate up to four players that they cut during training camp as “affiliate players,” meaning those players will join that team’s NBA G League affiliate (should the players choose to sign into the NBA G League). These players are signed under contract with the league rather than the team, however, meaning they are technically free agents who can be called up to any of the 30 NBA teams.
  • NBA G League teams hold local tryouts each offseason and can invite up to five players from these tryouts to their training camps.
  • The NBA G League holds a draft every year consisting of nearly 200 players who have signed contracts with the league. In 2016, the draft consisted of six rounds.
  • Players who return to the NBA G League are, by rule, re-acquired by the teams that they played for within the last two seasons (Returning Players).
  • Once the NBA D-League season begins, players who sign NBA G League contracts are placed into a rotating waiver pool so that teams can claim them.
  • If a player from high school, college or overseas enters the NBA G League without ever having declared for the NBA Draft, he will also join the waiver pool. That player remains NBA Draft-eligible but is not eligible to be called up to the NBA.

When a new franchise joins the league, an expansion draft is held in which the new team selects 16 players from a pool of unprotected players among the league’s other teams. The expansion team will then hold that player’s NBA G League rights for two seasons. Each returning team can protect up to 12 of its players from being selected.

22. How long are the quarters in an NBA G League game?

Like in the NBA, each quarter lasts 12 minutes. Overtime periods are two minutes compared to the NBA’s five minutes.

23. How long is the shot clock?

Like in the NBA, the shot clock lasts 24 seconds.

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24. What are the measurements of the court and equipment?

The rims hang 10 feet from the floor, sitting on opposite ends of a court that’s 50 feet wide and 94 feet long.

Both ends of the floor feature a free throw line, 15 feet from the rim, and a 3-point arc that runs from 23 feet, 9 inches from the basket at the top of the perimeter to 22 feet at the baselines. The corner 3-pointer has become one of the league’s most popular shots because of the difference.

The basketball itself has a circumference within a maximum of 29 inches and a minimum of 28.5 inches and has a pressure between 7.5 and 8.6 pounds.

25. Are any of the rules in NBA G League games different from the rules in NBA games?

Yes. The NBA uses the NBA G League as a testing ground for new rules each season.

During the 2017-18 season, the following rules are in place in NBA G League games:

  • “Reset Timeouts: Each team will be entitled to a “Reset Timeout” in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and final two minutes of any overtime period.  “Reset Timeouts” do not allow teams to huddle, but otherwise mirror standard timeouts, allowing teams to advance the ball (when applicable) and make unlimited substitutions.  If either team huddles or prevents the ball from immediately being put back into play, it will result in a delay of game being issued to the offending team.  The “Reset Timeout” replaces the “Advance Rule” which had been used in the NBA G League the past two seasons.
  • Shot clock reset: The 24-second clock will reset to 14 seconds after an offensive rebound or when the offensive team otherwise is the first team to retain possession after the ball contacts the rim.
  • Instant replay triggers have been reduced to the following five circumstances:
    • Flagrant Fouls: Officials have doubt if a called foul meets the criteria for a Flagrant Foul at any point in the game.
    • Two-point/three-point field goal attempts or fouls: Officials are uncertain whether a made basket was correctly scored as a two- or three-pointer or if a fouled player was attempting a two- or three-point shot.
    • Made basket at the end of a period: A field goal is made with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any quarter.
    • Foul at the end of a period: A foul is called with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any quarter.
    • Altercation: Two or more players are engaged in an altercation. 
  • The coach’s challenge: The coach’s challenge has been revised so that teams receive only one challenge per game, to be used at any point during regulation or overtime periods.  Only fouls called, goaltending/basket interference and out-of-bounds calls may be challenged.
  • The away-from-the-play foul rule (also known as the rule that attempts to combat “Hack-a-Shaq”): An away-from-the-play foul is defined as any illegal contact by the defense which occurs either deliberately away from the immediate area of offensive action, prior to the ball being released on a throw-in, or both. If an away-from-the-play foul is committed at any point in the game, personal and team fouls will be assessed and one free throw attempt will be awarded to any player in the game at the time the personal foul was committed.
  • Team foul limits will be increased from four per period to five per period before free throws are rewarded.
  • Timeouts: Each team will be allocated seven timeouts per game and all timeouts will be known as “Team Timeouts,” with no distinction between full and 30-second timeouts.  The following timeout structure will be implemented:
    • All non-mandatory Team Timeouts will be 30 seconds.
    • Each period will have two 90-second mandatory Team Timeouts, occurring after the first stoppage under the seven- and three-minute marks.
    • Each team may enter the fourth quarter with up to four Team Timeouts.
    • Each team will be limited to a maximum two Team Timeouts after the later of the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter or the resumption of play following the second mandatory timeout of that quarter.
    • In overtime, each team will be allotted two Team Timeouts.

Two prior experimental rules will be discontinued and standard NBA rules will be resumed in both instances.  In the first change, technical fouls for flopping infractions will no longer be assessed in-game, and a postgame warning-and-fine policy similar to that of the NBA’s will be implemented.  In addition, the team penalty foul limit will be reduced from six to five fouls in a quarter before a penalty.

26. Where can I buy tickets to an NBA G League game?

Tickets for every team are available on each team’s website. Go to gleague.nba.com/tickets for more information.

27. Has an NBA G League player ever been drafted into the NBA?

Six players have been drafted into the NBA out of the NBA G League. These players entered the NBA G League either out of high school – the league’s age minimum is 18 rather than the NBA’s 19 – or as early entry college players.

They include: Mike Taylor (2008), Latavious Williams (2009), Chu Chu Maduabum (2011), Glen Rice Jr. (2013), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (2014, pictured) and P.J. Hairston (2014). In 2014, Hairston became the first first-round NBA Draft pick the NBA G League has ever produced, and Antetokounmpo became the first international prospect ever to be drafted out of the NBA G League.

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28. What do affiliations between NBA and NBA G Leagues entail?

There are two types of affiliations: one-to-one affiliation, in which the NBA team fully owns and operates its NBA G League team; and “hybrid” affiliation, in which the NBA team manages and funds the basketball operations while local ownership maintains control of the business and community relations aspects of the team.

Currently, 21 NBA teams fully own and operate their NBA G League affiliates: the Bucks, Bulls, Cavaliers, Clippers, Grizzlies, Hawks, Hornets, Jazz, KingsKnicks, Lakers, Nets, PacersRaptors, Sixers, Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Timberwolves, and Warriors. Five teams have hybrid affiliations with their NBA G League affiliates: the Celtics, Heat, Mavericks, Pistons and Rockets.

NBA teams primarily use their NBA G League affiliates as a place to develop their young talent. Players with three years of service or less can be sent, or “assigned,” to the NBA G League an unlimited number of times. The NBA team retains an assigned player’s rights and can recall that player at any time.

NBA teams often install the same offensive and defensive systems – including the same terminology and even some of the same plays – on their NBA G League affiliates. The staffs within the organization are in constant communication about the development of their major- and minor-league talent.

29. How do NBA franchises not affiliated with an NBA G League team assign players?

The NBA G League’s flexible assignment system which was instituted prior to the 2014-15 season  enables independent NBA teams to assign players to the NBA G League for development or rehabilitation from injury.

Upon receipt of an assignment from an independent NBA team, the NBA G League will identify any NBA G League team willing to accept the assigned player. The assigning independent NBA team will then choose the destination for assignment between those teams.  If no NBA G League team is willing to accept the assigned player, he will be assigned to one of the hybrid affiliate teams pursuant to a lottery.

30. What is the NBA G League Showcase?

NBA G League Showcase is the NBA G League’s annual in-season scouting event, when all of its teams converge in one city to play in front of NBA general managers and player personnel executives from all 30 NBA teams. The 2017 event — Jan. 18-22 in Mississauga, Ontario — marked the 13th Showcase.

Showcase traditionally coincides with the time when NBA teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts, since the majority of the players signed to 10-day contracts are GATORADE Call-Ups from the NBA G League.

31. How do 10-day NBA contracts work?

Each season, from early January to early April, NBA teams can sign free agents to 10-day contracts. A player can be signed to a maximum of two consecutive 10-day contracts before a team must either sign him for the remainder of the season or release him.

32. Which teams have won the most NBA G League titles?

The Asheville Altitude, Colorado 14ers and Rio Grande Valley Vipers are each tied for the most titles won with two. (Only the Vipers are still an active franchise.)

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33. Who is the NBA G League’s all-time leading scorer?

Renaldo Major, an eight-year veteran of the Dakota Wizards (now the Santa Cruz Warriors), Bakersfield Jam and Reno Bighorns, is the league’s all-time leading scorer with 5,058 points through the 2016-17 season.

34. How can I try out for the NBA G League?

The league holds a National Tryout once each year. Participants must fill out an application and make a $350 online payment. The event is limited to 220 players, and between 25 and 40 typically sign contracts and become eligible for the NBA G League Draft.

Two players from the NBA G League National Tryout have gone on to reach the NBA: Dennis Horner (Nets) and Dwight Buycks (Raptors, Lakers).

Additionally, each NBA G League team holds its own local tryout(s) prior to the start of the season and can invite up to five of the participants to its preseason training camp.