With the NBA G League postseason set to tip off, a plethora of talented prospects — from those fighting for an NBA Call-Up to Two-Way Players and NBA assignees — are all gearing up, ready to don their uniform and make a run toward some very memorable moments in the games that follow.
Here’s a look at 10 performers to keep an eye on as competition gets underway in the Western Conference.
Deonte Burton: (Thunder, NBA Assignee): Before receiving a full-time NBA promotion, Burton scored 16.9 points through 24 games with the Blue as a Two-Way Player. Along the way, his special efforts helped the squad rise up as one of the top teams in all of the NBA G League. This guard has hops and could easily excite the home crowd while serving as a human highlight reel. But Burton isn’t just someone who puts the ball in the basket. At 6’5″, he creates mismatches against opposing guards, having averaged 2.3 steals and 1 block on the campaign. After being assigned by the Thunder, he’ll rejoin the Blue for their first-round playoff matchup.
Damion Lee (Warriors, Two-Way Player): While he’s had some success with multiple double-digit scoring performances up with Golden State, Lee has shown no signs of fatigue when going back and forth and taking ownership of Santa Cruz’s offense whenever he comes to town. He averaged 20.3 points through 24 contests and especially made his mark by shooting just a shade under 40% from downtown on the year. After having spent time with the defending NBA champions this season, Santa Cruz undoubtedly hopes that such a winner’s mentality has rubbed off on the swing-man and he could raring to go as the minor league club chases a title of their own.
Kendrick Nunn (Santa Cruz Warriors): Nunn enters postseason competition fresh off hitting the game-winning shot that helped Santa Cruz clinch a first-round bye on the last night of the regular season. With just one start under his belt through 49 appearances, this fiery spark plug averaged 19.3 points and clearly understands what it means to provide his squad with an injection of life off the pine. He serves such a crucial role, as it relates to ensuring the Warriors maintain the same level of attack and continue their winning ways from start to finish.
Yuta Watanabe (Grizzlies, Two-Way Player): Just call Watanabe a good luck charm. The Hustle head into the postseason having won the last six contests in which this forward has played in. He has incredibly sound fundamentals, with a steady handle on the ball and a sweet mid-range jumper. When the defense gives him just the smallest bit of room, Watanabe has the skill to put the ball on the floor himself and drive in for an explosive dunk. He averaged 14.4 points on 44% shooting this season and could play an important role as the Hustle look to play the role of postseason underdog.
Troy Williams (Kings, Two-Way Player): A former NBA G League Slam Dunk champion, Williams is a thunderous high-flier with a number of unbelievable dunks in his repertoire. There’s no doubt his personal highlight reel can get the home crowd on its feet, roaring along the way to provide Stockton with a very special sixth man of sorts. But moreover than that, he’s made strides this season in becoming a valuable 3 and D commodity. In his last four regular season appearances, Williams averaged 28.5 points on 40% shooting from deep to go along with 3.3 steals.
Gary Clark (Rockets, NBA Assignee): Despite starting the year on a Two-Way contract, Clark spent more time with Houston early on and quickly saw his pact converted into a standard NBA deal. With the Rio Grande Valley Vipers now eyeing another minor league title, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Clark suit up in an attempt to help them seal the deal. Most recently, he appeared in three March games on assignment, averaging a versatile 10.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2 steals. It’s worth noting that RGV has won 6 out of 7 games in which the young gun played this season.
Grayson Allen (Jazz, NBA Assignee): Currently on assignment, Allen has deservedly become a Salt Lake City home crowd favorite this season. If he suits up for the Stars yet again, he’ll do so while hoping to help them overcome the steep challenge of taking down the Blue in the first-round. A fixture at the NBA G League Showcase this past winter, Allen was a first-round NBA draft choice last summer and has experienced his fair share of high-pressured moments after playing collegiate ball at Duke. In 12 games, Allen averaged 16.3 points on 46% from the field and 41% from deep.
Tyler Cavanaugh (Jazz, Two-Way Player): To say Cavanaugh is a driving force behind Salt Lake City’s success this season is an understatement. The team won 6 out of his last 8 appearances, and after securing the last Western Conference seed in the postseason, the team is gearing up for a true battle and he should be anxious to get started, especially given his late season success. In his last four games, the big man tallied 19.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per contest.
Jawun Evans (Thunder, Two-Way Player): It’ll be all hands on deck for the Blue’s postseason run. The Thunder made a crucial acquisition in the eleventh hour, claiming Two-Way Player Jawun Evans off waivers one day before their first-round playoff matchup tips off. It remains to be seen how (or if) Evans is utilized, but if one thing is for sure, it’s that he’s proven himself as a defensive hound and doesn’t need the ball in his hands at all times to make an impact. He averaged 1.6 steals for the Suns this season and could handle the burden of defending skillful offensive guards on the other team.
Michael Frazier, (Rio Grande Valley Vipers): Since representing USA Men’s Basketball midway through the campaign, Frazier has certainly carried that kind of winning momentum with him the rest of the way. He helped the team qualify for the World Cup and understands what it means to perform with much to brag home about on the line. In his last three games with RGV, the swingman scored 25 points or more in each one and continues to prove he relishes the opportunity to be the leading man on offense.