LAS VEGAS — As the 2018 NBA G League Winter Showcase came to a close on Saturday, NBA scouts prepared to leave town all the wiser about which prospects may be able to help their teams in the months and weeks that followed. Which two-way players have fine-tuned their games enough to make an impact at the next level? Which prospects will benefit from extra development time at the next level? Such questions were meant to be evaluated this week as the NBA G League hosted its annual event in Las Vegas for the first time.
With that in mind, here’s a closer look at three main takeaways after another successful event.
NBA Assignees: The NBA G League is the perfect place for up and coming prospects to strut their stuff and experience real game situations so that they can prepare for whenever their NBA team needs them most. Looking like a future star as he muscled up against fellow athletes, 2017 NBA first round draft pick Harry Giles averaged 20.5 points and 9 rebounds for the Stockton Kings. 2018 first rounder Donte Divincenzo scored 21 points in his NBA G League debut with the Wisconsin Herd and and his fellow draftee Grayson Allen reached double-figures twice for the Salt Lake City Stars. These youngsters might indeed have NBA gigs, but many of the players they competed against were as hungry as ever to prove themselves, and that provided them with a rather steep challenge along the way. Two-Way players like the Nets’ Alan Williams and the Clippers’ Johnathan Motley looked as ready as ever to assume roles at the next level and eat into some of their allocated NBA days. Such players have always been known as gritty rebounders at the next level, but their time in the NBA G League has allowed them to polish their games and become very capable finishers in the paint.
On The Cusp Of NBA Call-Ups: Dancing and prancing on the Winter Showcase stage allowed all NBA G League prospects the chance to show NBA teams what they were all about. Sometimes all it takes for a big league team to look one’s way is a single breakout performance. With a plethora of teams represented and at full attention throughout the week, their time scouting in Las Vegas could provide the necessary intel to make crucial decisions about their rosters, meaning more than a few up-and-comers could be on the cusp of reaching the next level sooner rather than later.
More Time To Evaluate: With NBA teams able to sign players to 10-Day Contracts on January 5 and two-way contracts becoming guaranteed on January 20, plenty of roster decisions are forthcoming. As squads head into the new year, they may be in need of a momentum swing to steer them towards the playoffs. As player injuries arise, teams may be in need of an injection of life in their rotation. Either way, the chance to take a peek at intriguing prospects while in Las Vegas could serve as a tipping point for scouts to do more homework in the weeks that follow, making their case to the front office that they’ve found a missing puzzle piece. This year’s event brought the Winter Showcase to Las Vegas for the first time, and now teams will have time over the rest of the holiday season to ponder who may help their near future.