Last year, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet made their marks on the biggest stage under the brightest lights. Just two years after leading the Raptors 905 to a title, the duo duplicated their success at the NBA level and helped lead the Toronto Raptors to the franchise’s first title. If the basketball world wasn’t privy to their skills then, they are now.
Each and every year, a handful of NBA G League alums, just like the aforementioned pair, prove to be up to the challenge of leaving it all out on the floor during the NBA Finals. If they’re lucky, a championship follows. But more often than not, either way performing at this high of a level helps such alums etch their names into the minds of basketball decision-makers (and fans, too) for years to come.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some notable alums who could follow in their footsteps as the Heat take on the Lakers.
Alex Caruso (OKC Blue & South Bay Lakers alum)
The same grit and determination Caruso oozed out with during his minor league days has propelled him to the NBA Finals. It’s all about the little things for this fiery spark plug. He’s a momentum swinger, whether that means pestering an opposing ball handler, diving for a loose ball, or making the right cut and emerging as the open man under the basket. Caruso is seemingly still underestimated (even after his 2018 All-NBA G League Second Team selection) and the Lakers continue to reap the benefits of rolling the dice on him in key situations. All that, and more, have made him a fan favorite for the Lakers.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) September 29, 2020
Duncan Robinson (Sioux Falls Skyforce alum)
Robinson has been flexing the clutch gene since he shot 48% from deep and earned 2019 All-NBA G League Third Team honors in 2019. He started off as a Two-Way Player for Miami last season, and since earning a full-time gig with the Heat, he hasn’t looked back. He continues to make strides and will serve as the starting two-guard in the NBA Finals. The sharpshooter has averaged 11.3 points on 40% from long range this postseason. He can quietly wait on the wings, spreading the floor as some of the biggest offensive threats heat up. At the same time, once Robinson gets going, he can pour in the points and the Lakers could have to take notice.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) September 28, 2020
Danny Green (Erie BayHawks, Reno Bighorns, and Austin Spurs alum)
As the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis easily take center stage in Los Angeles, it may be easy to forget Green, but his gold shouldn’t be overlooked. Green is a two-time NBA champion, including last year with Toronto. He can hold his own on both ends of the floor, having made the 2017 NBA All-Defensive Second Team and setting a then-NBA Finals record with 27 three-point field goals in 2013. Green’s been on this stage before and has come a long way since his 19 minor league appearances, most recently in 2010-11.
Kendrick Nunn (Santa Cruz Warriors alum)
Nunn hasn’t received much playing time this postseason, but he had a highly impressive rookie campaign. He averaged 15.3 points, started all 67 of his appearances, and made the 2020 All-NBA Rookie First Team. Though he hasn’t seen the court much in recent weeks, that doesn’t mean Nunn won’t necessarily be a factor in The Finals. He averaged 19.3 points for Santa Cruz last season, all while opting to come off the bench like a sixth man because he thought it would better prepare him for a role in the NBA. If Miami needs him to provide points in a pinch, Nunn will be ready.