The 2019 NBA G League Elite Camp is set to provide some very talented prospects with a chance of a lifetime: 40 NBA Draft hopefuls and 40 of the NBA G League’s top prospects from the 2018-19 season will strut their stuff in front of of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives, all hoping to bolster their stock for the special opportunities that could stem in the weeks (NBA Draft and NBA Summer League) and months (the upcoming season) that follow.
While searching for inspiration, these young guns need to look no further than some of last year’s participants. Naz Mitrou-Long went on to earn a Two-Way Contract with the Utah Jazz, and other players like Scott Machado (Lakers) and Billy Garrett (Knicks) also went on to earn NBA gigs this past season. It’s quite possible that NBA personnel first began to gain intimate familiarity with these players when they graced this stage last year.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the most intriguing NBA G League players set to compete.
Amida Brimah, Austin Spurs: If there’s one thing to know about Brimah, it’s that he knows how to win. An NCAA champion with UConn in 2014 and an NBA G League champion with Austin in 2018, his experiences are sure to add positive value to any team’s culture up at the next level. But his credentials don’t end there, as his play speaks for itself. The big man was among the league-leaders with 3.1 blocks and earned All-Defensive Team honors for the second straight year. He likes to do the dirty work, and his team reaps the benefits of relying upon him to do so.
Dakarai Tucker, Rio Grande Valley Vipers: Speaking of champions, Tucker graces the Elite Camp hardwood fresh off RGV’s 2019 title victory. After averaging just under 13 points on a 44/38/77 shooting clip during the regular season, the sharpshooter took things to another level in the playoffs. He played a pivotal role in the Vipers rising to the top, scoring 23 and 24 points, respectively, in each of his team’s Finals victories. This opportunity to shine could be his chance to prove there’s more fiery offense where that came from.
Norvel Pelle, Delaware Blue Coats: As the league-leader in field goal percentage at 70.3%, it was a banner campaign for the big man. Pelle was efficient around the rim, but it was his physicality and swarming presence on the defensive end that truly helped set him apart. An All-Defensive Team member this season, Pelle averaged 2.9 blocks and 8.3 rebounds. As the season progressed, he began to come alive more and more. In March, he had a streak of three straight 20+ point, 15+ rebound performances, as part of a separate streak of seven consecutive double-doubles. He was a top-three finisher in both Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player award voting.
Dusty Hannahs, Memphis Hustle: Hannahs was an ever so clutch spark plug off the bench this season, averaging 14.5 points on an even more impressive 48/42/93 shooting clip. He scored 20 points or more on 14 different occasions, and his ability to heat up off the pine could perhaps be indicative of his potential role up in the NBA. The guard was rewarded for his prowess this past season, signing a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies.
Thomas Wimbush, Long Island Nets: As NBA G League athletes know quite well, remaining patient (but always ready) is a key part of taking advantage of forthcoming opportunities. Averaging 9.1 points in the regular season, Wimbush contributed while sharing playing time with NBA assignees and Two-Way Players along the way. It was the postseason where he emerged as a hero. His 28 points and 12 rebounds in the Eastern Conference Finals catapulted Long Island to The Finals, where he went on to score 23 and 21 in games one and two. Like Tucker, he’ll aim to show consistency for scouts who are curious to see him continue to bask in the same scoring-filled glory.
Jaylen Morris, Erie BayHawks: Morris began the year as a Two-Way Player with Bucks/Herd, and finished with the Erie BayHawks. At 6’5″ and 190 pounds, he’s a floor general who uses his size and stature to gain a defensive advantage over his counterparts. Regardless of the uniform he donned, this young gun found success, averaging 14.7 points on 51% shooting to go along with 5.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 steals. Morris’ fingerprints could be found all over the box score each and every night, but there’s no doubt his highlight of the season was a game-winning shot that lifted Wisconsin over the Red Claws in triple-overtime on December 8.
Peter Jok, Northern Arizona Suns: Jok is a pure 3 and D swingman, averaging 14.3 points on 41% shooting from downtown to go along with 1.4 steals per contest. Whatever the challenge was, Jok appeared up to it this past season. From defending an opposing team’s top offensive wing, to helping spread the floor and knock down long range shots from the corners, Jok did whatever his team needed him to do. A consistent double-digit scorer, the 25 year old proved that he could he be depended on any given game.
Tahjere McCall, Long Island Nets: A second-place finisher in Defensive Player of the Year award voting, McCall was an absolute force on that end of the floor. With an endless motor and a hunger to keep up the hustle whenever he hits the hardwood, this guard’s impact goes well beyond the stat-sheet. Of course, he averaged 11.3 points and 1.4 steals, but even that does little justice for his infectious energy boost. He’s a team player with plenty of heart who hardly lets up chasing opposing floor generals around. After helping the Nets climb to The Finals (and also earning a 10-day contract with Brooklyn), he’ll have the chance to show scouts how he can impact a game up close and personal.
Johnny Hamilton, Grand Rapids Drive: Boasting a stat-line of 11.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks, Hamilton is another player whose impact still goes much further than his already impressive numbers. He’s a constant double-double threat. With just twenty starts in his 49 appearances for the season, this big man proved he needs little time to adjust. Whether he starts or serves as a reserve, he makes the kind of impact that can spark momentum swings on both ends of the floor. At 7’0″ and 230 pounds, his physical frame could provide an injection of life for any number of NBA teams.
Josh Adams, Raptors 905: A midseason acquisition by the Raptors 905, Adams exploded onto the scene and provided his team with a bundle of athleticism. Often sharing the court with two All-NBA G League First Team members (M.V.P. and DPOY Chris Boucher and Two-Way Player Jordan Loyd), this high-flyer still found ways to produce and connect with the crowd. His exciting finishes around the rim sent fans into a frenzy and his numbers provided the Raptors 905 with a continuous boost, averaging 15.6 points, 4.6 assists, and 4.2 rebounds.