LAS VEGAS — The holiday season can be a time to celebrate the importance of togetherness and family, while the new year serves as a chance to count one’s blessings over the past twelve months. As he performed in front of NBA scouts at the Winter Showcase, that’s exactly what Magic Two-Way Player Troy Caupain did.
After getting his feet wet last season as a minor-league rookie with Lakeland, the 23-year-old is now able to embrace a leadership role in the G League, while eagerly awaiting an NBA debut that will eventually come. Such an opportunity is Caupain’s reward for impressing the Magic organization last season. It’s recognition he doesn’t take lightly.
“I’m staying calm because I know how the game works and our organization operates. I’m not coming in nervous. I’m not worried about how to do things for the first time,” he explained. “Now I can be a leader for my teammates and keep them calm, so that we can get as many wins as possible. I wanted to be here. I didn’t have to start over because I knew the Magic organization believed in me, from seeing me in Lakeland last year. They think I have some tools and that resulted in a Two-Way Contract, so I’m very thankful.”
And while Caupain experiences everything playing out this contract has to offer, he’s doing so with family. Jaylen Adams, currently on a Two-Way Contract with the Atlanta Hawks, is his cousin. The two have taken this road together, so it’s not surprising to see them compete at this level at the same time.
“As a kid, Jaylen lived in Maryland. Even though I lived in New York, my mom and I used to drive out to him so that I could play with his team on the weekends. He was the point guard and I was the center,” the former youth big man turned pro floor general said. “My uncle — his dad — trains us. We’ve talked about this for years. Now that we can meet in the NBA G League, we know that all the hard work we’ve put in is paying off. As Two-Way Players, we both know it’s only up from here.”
Caupain says that because he played in the NBA G League last season, Adams is able to lean on him as he adjusts and learns what to expect. It would appear as though the pair’s open line of communication may have even created the foundation for Adams’ 44-point explosion with Erie on November 16th. One game prior, he shot 1 of 12 from the field, but Caupain (who averaged 14.5 points and 5 assists while helping Lakeland secure two victories in Las Vegas) was there to pick him up.
“I’m a sounding board for him. He’s new to the NBA G League. When you’re not hitting shots, the game gets tough and you wonder if your coach still has faith in you. Who knows? He’s had a couple games where he’s needed to call me and I’ve told him to stay with it,” the Caupain said. “Jaylen’s the kind of guy who can bounce back after practice and next thing you know, he drops 40-something. I love it. I’m an only child, so my little cousin is like my brother. It means so much that we’re taking stepping stones together.”