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2022-23 NBA G League Season Preview: Western Conference

Joe DiProsperos /November 1, 2022

G League basketball will be officially returning on Friday, Nov. 4. Prior to the 2022-23 season tipping off, here's a quick look at where every Western Conference team currently stands.

Austin Spurs

Head Coach: Petar Bozic 

Last Season: 13-19, Missed playoffs 

Two-Way Players: Dominick Barlow, Charles Bassey 

Key Additions: Alize Johnson, Stephen Zimmerman, Chaundee Brown Jr.

Key Subtractions: DJ Stewart, Jaylen Morris, Robert Woodard II

After missing the playoffs in 2021-22, the Austin Spurs look ready to compete behind a dominant frontcourt. All-Rookie and All-Defensive Team selection Charles Bassey was signed to a two-way contract by San Antonio and should see time at center for Austin, while USA Basketball veteran Stephen Zimmermman brings an experienced presence to the low post. Chaundee Brown Jr., who received two Call-Ups last season while with the South Bay Lakers, provides an added scoring touch and defensive presence at the wing.

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Birmingham Squadron

Head Coach: T.J. Saint 

Last Season: 18-14, Lost in First Round 

Two-Way Players: E.J. Liddell, Dereon Seabron

Key Additions: Kelan Martin, Javonte Smart, Sterling Manley 

Key Subtractions: Jared Harper, Joe Young, Zach Hankins 

Birmingham made the playoffs in its first season as the NBA affiliate of the New Orleans Pelicans, though they were unable to advance past the Legends in the First Round. The losses of top scorers Jared Harper (21.2 PTS, 7.5 AST) and Joe Young (18.9 PTS, 5.7 AST), key pieces of the Squadron’s third-ranked offense, will almost surely be felt. However, they did go out and add Javonte Smart, who put up 21.1 points per game last season in Sioux Falls and spent time on a two-way deal with the Heat, and former Timberwolve Kelan Martin. Rookie two-way wing Dereon Seabron, coming off of a breakout sophomore year at North Carolina State, also figures to play a major role this upcoming season, while returning big man Zylan Cheathem (14.0 PTS, 10.4 REB) looks to bring his electric energy back for year two in Birmingham.

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G League Ignite

Head Coach: Jason Hart

Last Season: 7-7 in Showcase Cup, Did Not Participate in Regular Season  

Two-Way Players: N/A

Key Additions: Leonard Miller, Sidy Cissoko, Mojave King 

Key Subtractions: Dyson Daniels, MarJon Beauchamp, Jaden Hardy

Ignite struggled at times while playing exclusively on the road during the Ignite Tour last season, but this year will play a full 50-game schedule alongside the rest of the league in their first season in Henderson, Nevada. After three players from last year’s prospect class were taken in the NBA Draft, Scoot Henderson (14.0 PTS, 3.6 AST) steps into the spotlight as a projected top-five pick in the upcoming Draft. He is joined by fellow projected First Round picks Leonard Miller and Sidy Cissoko, while Mojave King, Efe Abogidi, London Johnson, and Babacar Sane round out a deep and talented prospect class. Pooh Jeter (9.7 PTS, 3.2 AST) is the lone other returning player from last year’s squad, but will be joined by former USA Basketball representatives John Jenkins and Eric Mika as veterans expected to play big roles.

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Iowa Wolves

Head Coach: Jeff Newton 

Last Season: 15-17, Missed playoffs 

Two-Way Players: Luka Garza

Key Additions: PJ Dozier, DJ Carton, Emmanuel Mudiay

Key Subtractions: McKinley Wright IV, Isaiah Miller, Chris Silva

After a standout collegiate career, Luka Garza (20.6 PTS, 9.5 REB, 1.3 BLK) returns to Iowa as a two-way player for the Timberwolves following an All-Rookie Team nod with the Cruise last season. Garza will anchor the frontcourt while six-year NBA veteran and former lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay takes the reigns at the point. Isaiah Miller dropped one of the most jaw-dropping dunks in G League history last season for the Wolves, but his replacement in the backcourt in D.J. Carton might just manage to top it with his own insane bounce.

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Memphis Hustle

Head Coach: Jason March 

Last Season: 15-19, Missed playoffs 

Two-Way Players: Kenneth Lofton Jr., Vince Williams Jr. 

Key Additions: Justin Bean, Hassani Gravett, Dakota Mathias

Key Subtractions: Ahmad Caver, Shaq Buchanan, Freddie Gillespie

The Memphis Hustle just missed out on a playoff berth on the last day of the regular season, and look to rebound with a whole new cast of characters. Dynamic backcourt duo Ahmad Caver and Shaq Buchanan combined to produce 37.0 PTS and 12.3 AST for the Hustle last season but are not returning, leaving lots of open minutes for former Lakeland Magic point guard Hassani Gravett (13.9 PTS, 6.5 AST last season) to make his mark. Dynamic big men Kenneth Lofton Jr. and Vince Williams Jr. both made their mark during G League Elite Camp and will look to dominate in the post during their stints with the Hustle as two-way players.

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Mexico City Capitanes

Head Coach: Ramon Diaz

Last Season: 4-10 in Showcase Cup, Did Not Participate in Regular Season 

Two-Way Players: N/A 

Key Additions: Mason Jones, Shabazz Napier, Jahlil Okafor

Key Subtractions: Jordan Howard, Matt Mooney, Rigoberto Mendoza

The Capitanes played exclusively on the road during the Showcase Cup last season and did not participate in the regular season, which means their November 6th home opener will be the first official game played by a home team in Mexico in NBA affiliate history. For the first time since joining the G League two years ago, the Capitanes will play a full schedule alongside the rest of the league, traveling to and from their new home at Arena CDMX. To showcase their first home campaign, Mexico City went out and brought in some big names. All-G League First Team selection Mason Jones (25.5 PTS with South Bay) headlines the scoring, while NBA veterans Jahlil Okafor, Shabazz Napier, and Bruno Caboclo were all brought in to add to a talented team. Alfonzo McKinnie (24.1 PTS, 9.3 REB) and Gary Clark (14.4 PT, 6.8 REB) both return after earning NBA Call-Ups last season.

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Oklahoma City Blue

Head Coach: Kameron Woods 

Last Season: 15-20, Missed playoffs 

Two-Way Players: Lindy Waters III, Eugene Omoruyi

Key Additions: Jericole Hellems, Robert Woodard II, Abdul Gaddy 

Key Subtractions: Rob Edwards, Melvin Frazier Jr., Justin Jaworski

With another season of youth development on tap for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Blue will once again provide young players with an opportunity to earn NBA minutes. Sharpshooter Lindy Waters III returns as a two-way player to provide a perimeter scoring threat for the Blue, while first round G League Draft pick Jericole Hellems looks to provide a scoring punch after four years at NC State.

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Ontario Clippers

Head Coach: Paul Hewitt   

Last Season: 22-11, Lost in Conference Finals 

Two-Way Players: Moussa Diabate, Moses Brown 

Key Additions: Bryson Williams, Juwan Morgan, Malik Fitts

Key Subtractions: George King, Jordan Ford, Trevon Scott

The club now known as the Ontario Clippers after a rebrand from the Agua Caliente Clippers is coming off of a season that saw them make the first-ever playoff appearance in team history and advance all the way to the Western Conference Finals. Multiple core players of a squad that ranked in the top six in both offensive and defensive rating - which only the reigning champion Vipers can also say - are back for the 2022-23 season. That includes Xavier Moon, who was one of only ten eligible players in the league to average at least 18.7 points and 7.0 assists per game, as well as Keaton Wallace (18.1 PTS, 5.2 AST) and Nate Darling (17.1 PTS, 4.3 REB).

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Rio Grande Valley Vipers

Head Coach: Kevin Burleson

Last Season: 24-10, Won 4th G League Title  

Two-Way Players: Trevor Hudgins, Darius Days 

Key Additions: Willie Cauley-Stein, Louis King, Jalen Lecque

Key Subtractions: Trevelin Queen, Mfiondu Kabengele, Anthony Lamb

The 2021-22 season saw Rio Grande Valley post their best record in team history and ultimately take home a record fourth G League Championship. The title defense for first-year head coach Kevin Burleson and squad will take a hit with the departures of league MVP Trevelin Queen, leading rebounder Mfiondu Kabengele, and dynamic two-way threat Anthony Lamb. However, they will still be well-equipped. Seven-year NBA veteran Willie Cauley-Stein provides some rim-running and shot blocking, while Louis King (16.7 PTS, 1.8 STL) spent time on a two-way deal with the Kings. The addition of Jalen Lecque (16.0 PTS) means RGV now boasts the league’s most explosive dunker.

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Salt Lake City Stars

Head Coach: Scott Morrison

Last Season: 9-23, Missed playoffs 

Two-Way Players: Micah Potter, Johnny Juzang 

Key Additions: Paris Bass, Tyler Cook, Isaiah Miller

Key Subtractions: Carsen Edwards, Jared Wilson-Frame, Derrick Alston Jr.

2021-22 was a tough season in Salt Lake City, as the Stars finished the regular season at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. With a revamped team brought in, the Stars will look to rebound following the departure of Carsen Edwards, who is playing in Turkey this season after leading the G League in scoring last year with 26.8 points per game. Dynamic slashing guard Isaiah Miller brings supreme athleticism to the Stars’ backcourt, while All-Rookie team member Micah Potter and former South Bay Lakers big man Paris Bass will shore up the post. Former NBA guard Frank Jackson provides a steady presence running the point.

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Santa Cruz Warriors

Head Coach: Seth Cooper

Last Season: 15-17, Lost in First Round 

Two-Way Players: Anthony Lamb, Ty Jerome 

Key Additions: Patrick Baldwin Jr., Gui Santos, Pat Spencer 

Key Subtractions: L.J. Figueroa, Kendall Smith, Frankie Ferrari 

A good chunk of last season’s sixth seed in the Western Conference returns to Santa Cruz, with dynamic scorer and 2018 First Round NBA Draft pick Jerome Robinson (20.2 PTS, 4.1 REB) leading the way. Two-way wing Anthony Lamb (17.3 PTS, 8.0 REB, 4.6 AST) joins the Warriors after winning a title with Rio Grande Valley last season, and rookie Gui Santos will likely see plenty of minutes after Golden State selected him in the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft.

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Sioux Falls Skyforce

Head Coach: Kasib Powell 

Last Season: 14-21, Missed playoffs 

Two-Way Players: Dru Smith, Jamal Cain 

Key Additions: Kadeem Jack, Jon Elmore, Jamaree Bouyea

Key Subtractions: Javonte Smart, Micah Potter, Mario Chalmers

The Miami Heat have a tendency to produce key contributors to their rosters through their G League roster in Sioux Falls, and this season’s Skyforce team has plenty of young talent that could play its way onto an NBA court. DJ Stewart returns to run the offense for Sioux Falls after averaging 19.7 points and 3.3 assists in 22 games with the team last year and earning a two-way deal with the San Antonio Spurs. Rookie Jamaree Bouyea should see some run after going undrafted but impressing during NBA G League Elite Camp this summer.

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South Bay Lakers

Head Coach: Miles Simon  

Last Season: 21-11, Lost in Conference Semifinals 

Two-Way Players: Scotty Pippen Jr., Cole Swider 

Key Additions: Devin Cannady, LJ Figueroa, Shaquille Harrison

Key Subtractions: Mac McClung, Paris Bass, Mason Jones

The Lakers’ most successful season in six years saw them fall in the second round of the playoffs. To try and offset the losses of Mason Jones, who finished third in the league in scoring with 25.5 points per game, and Paris Bass (17.3 PTS, 7.0 REB), South Bay brought in sharpshooter Devin Cannady (46.5% from deep with Lakeland last yeas) and former Warrior LJ Figueroa (16.4 PTS, 8.8 REB). Jay Huff (15.7 PTS, 2.4 BLK) will look to fill in the vacated minutes in the post. They also shipped out G League Rookie of the Year Mac McClung for Defensive Player of the Year Shaq Harrison, who was one of three Blue Coats to make this past season’s All-Defensive Team. Harrison (12.7 PTS, 2.1 STL) should combine with Nate Pierre-Louis (9.2 PTS, 1.8 STL) to form one of the best defensive wing tandems in the G League.

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Stockton Kings

Head Coach: Bobby Jackson 

Last Season: 15-18, Missed playoffs 

Two-Way Players: Neemias Queta, Keon Ellis 

Key Additions: Jordan Ford, Deonte Burton, Wes Iwundu

Key Subtractions: Quinn Cook, Emanuel Terry, Sheldon Mac 

Stockton was in the playoff hunt until the final days of the regular season and now looks to make an impact during head coach Bobby Jackson’s second year at the helm. DJ Steward (14.6 PTS, 4.0 AST) returns for the Kings, and alongside Maine Celtics import Deonte Burton (15.1 PTS, 6.2 REB) will form one of the league’s most dangerous dunking tandems. Returning two-way player Neemias Queta (16.4 PTS, 1.9 BLK) became the first Portuguese player to score in the NBA last season and will look to continue to dominate during his G League stints in Stockton.

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Texas Legends

Head Coach: George Galanopoulos

Last Season: 19-15, Lost in Conference Semifinals 

Two-Way Players: Tyler Dorsey, McKinley Wright IV

Key Additions: Tyler Hall, Grant Riller, Taze Moore 

Key Subtractions: Carlik Jones, Moses Wright, Justin Jackson

Much of the team that earned the Legends their first-ever playoff berth last season has departed, with none more important than point guard and All-Rookie selection Carlik Jones. Olin Carter III (12.4 PTS) is the team’s leading returning scorer, but Texas brings in sharpshooters Grant Riller from Charlotte and Tyler Hall (41.7% from deep last season) from Westchester to provide an outside scoring punch. The Legends will also likely see plenty of minutes from former G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy while on assignment from Dallas, and his brother Amauri was selected by the team with the 10th overall pick in the G League Draft.

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