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Five NBA G League Alums Taking Advantage of Fresh Starts At NBA Summer League

By Keith Schlosser | July 8, 2019

Part of building a culture as an organization includes finding young talent and nurturing it through the NBA G League, and sometimes carrying over the most impressive prospects into NBA Summer League to provide their first taste action donning an NBA jersey. Carryovers can help create continuity, but sometimes fresh starts are needed as well.

While some organizations are continuing to build bonds with familiar faces, others are rolling the dice on skilled up-and-comers who have previously donned different minor league uniforms. Here’s a look at five NBA Summer League participants hoping to make good impressions with brand new teams.

Naz Mitrou-Long, Cleveland Cavaliers

Mitrou-Long has truly risen up as one of the most impressive standouts in NBA Summer League. The “Sin City” heat and bright lights of UNLV suit him nicely. After boasting a 4.7 career assist average in two NBA G League seasons, the fiery guard’s 7 assists per game in Las Vegas are evidence he’s taken his game to another level. The young gun understands that in addition to scoring the ball (currently averaging 17.5 points), he’ll need to distribute at a high level to serve as a necessary complementary piece in the NBA. It’s safe to say his explosiveness and keen eye for catching teammates in transition is helping his cause.

Amida Brimah, Brooklyn Nets

Brimah has quite the resume: an NCAA Champion with UConn in 2014, an NBA G League Champion in 2018, and is a 2x All NBA G League Defensive Team member. Not only is this big man a proven winner, but he continues to demonstrate that he’s willing to do all the little things necessary to help his team rack up victories along the way. His lengthy and physical frame, paired up with a hunger to swarm opposing players inside, makes him an intimidating defensive presence. With so much star power and offensive fireworks joining forces in Brooklyn, Brimah could be a nice defensive stopper to toss in and help create a balanced attack.

Antonius Cleveland, Dallas Mavericks

Cleveland is an eye-popping force who can rattle the rim with ease, thanks to his high-flying acrobatics. Though, he’s much more than an impressive dunker. Averaging 17.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists thus far, this bouncy wing uses his speed and athleticism to beat defenders off the dribble or chase opposing floor generals around the court while diving for loose balls. He’s the kind of spark plug who can change the momentum of a game on either end. After averaging a modest 11.1 points per game for the Santa Cruz Warriors last season, the 25 year old is using his Las Vegas opportunity to pour in the points when needed as well.

Josh Magette, San Antonio Spurs

A well known commodity, Magette has proven himself as a reliable NBA G League leader. With four seasons under his belt, his trajectory is on the up. The savvy floor general spent three seasons with the South Bay Lakers before appearing with the Erie BayHawks as a Two-Way Player in 2017-18. It was in Erie that Magette averaged a career-high 10.1 assists. After playing internationally last season, he’s returned stateside to compete for the Spurs in NBA Summer League. Make no mistake, despite his unselfishness, the 29 year-old can still take it to the hole with an explosive first step and happens to be a defensive hound (see his 1.9 steal career average in the G League). There’s little denying he could provide a steadying presence off the bench in the NBA.

Josh Gray, Brooklyn Nets

A veteran of two NBA G League seasons, Gray earned a big league look from the Suns back in 2017-18, the season where he saw increases in every major category (points, rebounds, assists, and steals) as a second year player with Northern Arizona. After giving the organization all he could, the guard chose to play overseas last year. Now, he’s hoping that his continually improving scoring prowess (11 points per game for Brooklyn in Las Vegas) can catch the eyes of the Nets or another NBA team. Gray can shoot, drive, and his ability to cut through the lane draws double-teams, giving ways to open up teammates. His steady NBA numbers in modest playing time (6.4 points and 1.6 steals in 17.3 minutes per contest) may mean his skills could translate at the next level more consistently.

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