The NBA G League is filled with guys trying to make it to the big stage. Many players are already signed in some right to teams in the NBA. This year, NBA teams can now bring a player to their G League team even if they waive them from their NBA roster during training camp. These unsigned players are trying game by game to impress an NBA team to sign them to some sort of deal. They are hungry to do whatever it takes to make it to the top, and this season, there is already a list of impressive players. Here are some names to look out for:
Trey Burke – Westchester Knicks
He was the AP National Player of the Year in college basketball in 2013 and has had an up-and-down career so far. His challenge that he has been battling since turning pro, is showing consistency to an NBA team night in and night out. This season, he is in the G League playing with Westchester, and has finally begun to show scouts why he was hyped from his stud years at Michigan. In seven games, Burke is averaging 23.1 points and 5.8 assists.
Emeka Okafor – Delaware 87ers
Okafor is one of the better feel-good stories to keep your eye on this season in the G League. Playing for the 87ers, the veteran has seemingly dialed the clock back a bit as he has been productive at the early part of the season. In four games, Okafor is producing 14.3 points while shooting 64.9 percent from the field, and adding 11.3 rebounds. As a UCONN standout some years back, he has played in nine NBA seasons, although having not played in a game since 2013. He is a career 12.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game player and to see him producing after extensive time away makes you wonder if this is the year he finds himself playing for an NBA team again.
Amile Jefferson – Iowa Wolves
Jefferson, who played four seasons at Duke, has looked like a man among boys so far in the G League. Jefferson, who only stands at 6-foot-9, has always been a rebounding machine, and has continued to show that skill set as a pro. Through their 1-4 start to the year, Jefferson has been one of the bright spots on the team, having averaged 17.4 points and 14.6 rebounds.
Melo Trimble – Iowa Wolves
Joining forces with Jefferson, Trimble — the former Maryland star — has proved to be a legitimate scorer so far. Playing in four of teams five games, the lead guard is averaging 22.2 points and 5.8 assists. Trimble had NBA scouts salivating over his game is his early seasons at Maryland, however in his last two years didn’t quite live up to the hype which was surrounding him. So far this season, Trimble looks like he is playing with a chip on his shoulder, which just may bring him an NBA contract soon.
James Young – Wisconsin Herd
Young is another player hailing from Kentucky under Calipari. He was drafted in the first round to the Celtics in the 2015 draft, but never really fit into the system in Boston. This season however, things are starting to click for the talented shooting guard. In four games playing with Milwaukee’s affiliate team, Young is averaging 29.6 points, and 5.8 rebounds, including a 40 point night. Young has always had the talent, but was looking for the correct fit. This year in a different jersey, he might have finally found his groove back.
Christian Wood – Delaware 87ers
Wood, along with Okafor in Delaware, has been thoroughly impressive this season. At 6-foot-10, Wood has the ability to stretch the floor, as well as bringing it down low and being aggressive with the big men. Through 3 games played with the 76ers’ affiliate team, he is averaging 25.5 points, and 10.3 rebounds, while shooting 56.5 percent from the floor. Wood was highly touted out of college, so it is was only a matter of time before we saw him start to impress with his play.
Aaron Harrison – Reno Big Horns
The twin brother of NBA player Andrew Harrison, has been filling it up this season for the Kings’ affiliate team. He was a second round pick in the 2015 draft, but hasn’t found a home yet in his professional career. This season might change that. Through five games, he is averaging 23.6 points, and 4.6 rebounds per contest, and four of the five games, he has scored over 20 points.
Kennedy Meeks – Raptors 905
As one of the biggest reasons why North Carolina won the National Championship last year, Meeks now is playing pro ball with the defending G League champs. Meeks, who is a big-bodied Center, has been productive so far on the interior for 905. In five games played, he is averaging 11.2 points and 9.4 rebounds, while playing 28.9 minutes per game. Meeks will also be representing the USA as he made the 12-man Americup team, who will face Puerto Rico and Mexico this week.
Derek Willis – Grand Rapids Drive
A graduate from Kentucky, Willis was way over-shadowed his whole career. Kentucky notoriously brings in multiple of the nation’s top recruits every year, so the spotlight was always cast away from his game. It is impressive, however, that he was a solid contributor for his four years, with the extreme talent that cycles through Calipari’s program each year. So far through eight games playing with the Pistons affiliate team, Willis has done well averaging 12.8 points and 5.7 boards, while shooting 40 percent from behind the arc. With Willis’ frame, and ability to stretch the floor, he might prove himself worthy of an NBA contract in the future.
Rodney Purvis – Lakeland Magic
The talented guard hailing from UCONN is making waves in the G League this season. Purvis impressed scouts over the summer in some prospect camps, and now is playing for Orlando’s affiliate team. In seven games for Lakeland, Purvis has led his team in scoring (22.4 points per game), and in minutes (38.9 per game). At 6-foot-4, he has always excelled at filling the stat sheets despite giving up a few inches to a typical shooting guard. Keep an eye on Purvis as he will continue to score the ball in bunches with Lakeland.