From Local Kid To Two-Way Player: Gabe Vincent’s Journey To Most Improved Player

By Keith Schlosser | June 22, 2020

Gabe Vincent had an exciting start to his professional career, living out a fairy tale beginning — a local kid’s dream. Born in Stockton, California, Vincent was fresh off putting the finishing touches on a collegiate career at UC Santa Barbara when he participated in a pre-draft workout with the Sacramento Kings. The local team liked what they saw from the hometown hero, enlisting him to play with the Stockton Kings of the NBA G League in 2018-19.

Vincent averaged 8.8 points on 38% shooting from the field in his rookie campaign, but upon coming back this past season, he proved he was hungry for more. Not content with simply being the toast of his town, the guard set his sights on the NBA in 2019-20 and absolutely made sure he had the proven results to warrant consideration in The Association.

The 24-year old returned with a vengeance, averaging 20.9 points on a 45/41/92 shooting clip, becoming especially lethal from all around the perimeter. Proving to keep the defense on its toes, Vincent earned an NBA Call-Up thanks to a Two-Way contract with the Miami Heat this season and demonstrated he was ready for his moment. For his elevated play, Vincent is an outstandingly deserving recipient of this year’s NBA G League Most Improved Player award.

Vincent’s confidence grew as the season went on. The sharpshooter became more consistent from long range, and looked comfortable in a variety of roles, whether that meant serving as the go-to guy or merely a spot-shooter to help his team spread the floor. In addition to his scoring prowess, Vincent also saw increases in his rebounding and steal averages on the campaign, averaging 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals. By the time he earned All-NBA G League Midseason Team honors, Vincent had already switched jerseys, trading in a Stockton one for that of Sioux Falls with his new Two-Way Player status.

The newly minted Most Improved Player was a scoring machine all season long. He tallied 23 points or more 15 times this season, even amassing the 30-point mark six times and scoring 35 points or more on three different occasions. He scored a pro career-high 37 points on December 10, knocking down six shots from deep along the way. Not to be outdone by his own progress, Vincent converted on nine long-range bombs on December 21 (good for 35 points), becoming a headlining attraction at this year’s Winter Showcase. It’s safe to say he put NBA teams on notice. Vincent also led his team(s) to two different winning streaks of at least five games this season.

Not everyone gets the opportunity, but Vincent’s progress and ability to rise up is what making a mark in the NBA G League is all about. He upped his game in tremendous fashion and the Miami Heat clearly appreciate his efforts, so now his next chance to shine may be with his minutes at the NBA level.

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