Every NBA season, there are players that rise to the top from all different levels. The NBA G League is home to players who are trying to groom their talents to hopefully get an NBA opportunity down the road. Some players play the NBA G League season signed to a parent team, while others are playing each game essentially as free agents. Each week we will take a look at some of these notable unsigned prospects, that are making headlines around the league.
This week, we focus on 10 unsigned NBA G League prospects who are hoping to make an impression at the NBA G League Showcase, the league’s marquee annual event, which runs from Jan. 10-13 in Mississauga, Ontario. More than 50 players have signed NBA contracts during or immediately following the previous 13 Showcases, and these players are prime candidates to join that list:
Justin Dentmon – Texas Legends
Dentmon is one of the NBA G League veterans. At 32 years old, and playing in his 7th NBA G League season, the 6-foot guard is enjoying his most productive season yet. Through 22 games with the Texas Legends, he is second among qualifying NBA G League players in points per game (29.4), and shooting 45.7% from the field. He has been amazing to watch this season, as Dentmon continues to prove that he can flat-out score in the pros. Heading into the Showcase, Dentmon will look to do what he does best.
Trey Burke – Westchester Knicks
Trey Burke may be one of the most if not the most coveted free-agent prospects heading into the NBA G League Showcase. The former Michigan Wolverine, who entered the draft after winning AP Player of the Year in 2013, hadn’t quite lived up to his hype since turning pro, yet this season we have been watching a return to form. He is currently third in the league in scoring (27.1), shooting 49% from the floor, 41% from behind the arc, and 83% from the charity stripe. Burke was just deemed NBA G League Player of the Month for December, having led his Knicks to a 9-4 record for the month, and averaging 29.7 points per game through the stretch. It is encouraging to scouts around the league to see Burke playing his best ball of his career right before the Showcase.
Walter Lemon Jr. – Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Lemon has really elevated his level of play in his second NBA G League season. So far this year with the Mad Ants, he has jumped his points per game average up almost 10.0 points from his stats in 2015-16, his last stint in the NBA G League. Through 23 games, all starts, he is averaging 23.3 points per game, and has also dished out an impressive 6.6 assists per contest too. At 6 foot 3, Lemon is an intriguing wing-prospect for scouts at the next level. He is shooting 49.1% from the floor, and 76% from the free throw line, so he is a reliable scorer in many different ways on the court.
Christian Wood – Delaware 87ers
Wood may be the NBA G League’s best big man prospect heading into the Showcase this week. At 6 foot 10, Wood is a dominating presence for opponents to deal with on a nightly basis. At 21.5 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game, the former UNLV stretch-center wreaks havoc in a variety of ways on the court. He has increased his production over the course of his 3-year NBA G League career, and is averaging the most points, at the highest percentage (53.2%), since turning pro. Something that will make NBA scouts turn their heads is that Wood is connecting on 35% of his three-point attempts, up a whole 10% from his previous career-high.
Melo Trimble – Iowa Wolves
Trimble has been on a mission to prove himself as a legitimate guard at the NBA level since his time starring at the University of Maryland. This season with the Wolves, Trimble has been very impressive. Along with being a top-20 scorer (19.9 points per game), Trimble has been a good distributor, dishing out 6 assists per game.
Rodney Purvis – Lakeland Magic
Rodney Purvis has always been a known scorer even back in his days at college, and he has brought that same skill set to the NBA G League. In his first season as a pro, Purvis is averaging 20.3 points per game, and has appeared in 22 games, all starts. At 6 foot 4, Purvis can be a threat as a point guard and shooting guard, and so far this season for the Magic, he is really showing offensive consistency. Purvis will be a hot commodity throughout the rest of the NBA G League season, and with this production, should be on many NBA scouts’ lists for this Showcase.
Amile Jefferson – Iowa Wolves
The Duke University graduate and former national champion has enjoyed a tremendous year of basketball since leaving the NCAA last spring. Like a few others in the NBA G League, Jefferson was able to represent the USA during World Cup qualifying games. On the floor in the NBA G League this season, Jefferson has been absolutely filling up stat sheets. A top-35 scorer (17.6 points per game), and leading the league in rebounds (13.0 rebounds per game), he is a lot to handle for opponents each time he steps on the court. As a power forward standing 6-foot-9 and weighing 224 pounds, Jefferson plays bigger and more aggressive than what his size tells you on paper. The rebounds per game tells you that he will undoubtedly be on the radar for NBA scouts this week at the Showcase.
Tony Mitchell – Sioux Falls Sky Force
The 6-foot-6 wing has been a versatile scoring option for Sioux Falls this season, and with his size and length should be on the watch list for many NBA scouts who will be attending the Showcase. Scoring 22.7 points per game, and snatching down 7 rebounds per game, Mitchell has the body type and skill set that will be of value to an NBA team at some point. In nine games this season Mitchell has been over 25 points. Look for him to really try to show his full skill set this week with all the eyes watching.
Jameel Warney – Texas Legends
Warney had the great honor to represent the United States during the first rounds of the World Cup qualifying matches earlier this year. The 6 foot 7 forward received the USA Men’s Basketball Male Athlete of the Year award for his performances in the qualifying rounds. In the AmeriCup over the summer, Warney was tournament MVP, averaging 12.8 points per game and 8.6 rebounds. He has continued his success throughout the NBA G League season as well. In 19 games played, he is averaging 19.6 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game (4.3 offensive rebounds per game). Warney plays with a chip on his shoulder and can be valuable to teams at the NBA level at multiple positions.
Georges Niang – Santa Cruz Warriors
Niang has always been a jack-of-all-trades forward, even dating back to his years at Iowa State. At 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, Niang has the physicality to go down low and be effective with the big men, but has range to his jumper to stretch his defender outside the arc. So far this season in the NBA G League, he is averaging 18.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He has guard skills, allowing him to find open teammates and have the offense run through him. The versatility that he possesses in his offensive arsenal will be on full display for NBA scouts this week at the Showcase, allowing him to turn some heads, if he hasn’t already.