As teams rise up in the standings over the course of a season, their winning ways can often be considered a positive reflection upon some of the more successful players who help spark the aforementioned ascensions. With that in mind, all five of this week’s NBA Call-Up Candidates hail from teams with records over .500. Moreover, three of them are currently donning uniforms from teams boasting the NBA G League’s two best records thus far. If they can win at this level, perhaps that is indicative of what they can do in the NBA, making contributions to winning environments.
Ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline — which is sure to cause moving and shaking across both leagues — here’s a look at five minor league prospects whose teams are riding their respective hot streaks to multiple victories.
Abdul Gaddy, OKC Blue: The OKC Blue sit atop of the NBA G League with a best record of 25-9, and Gaddy could arguably be seen as the glue that keeps this efficient scoring machine together. He’s averaging 8.2 assists — the third best mark in the league — and his 2.6 turnovers per game are the fewest among anyone else ranked in top 14 in assists per game. This prospect takes care of the ball and leads quite the charge in OKC. He’s remained a constant in the team’s lineup, appearing in all 34 games and helping OKC ascend to the top five in offensive categories like points per game, field goal percentage, and overall offensive rating, among others. The proof of his positive impact is in the pudding.
Raphiael Putney, Sioux Falls Skyforce: Putney is closing in on the NBA G League’s all-time leading blocks record, which is no surprise given his 2.3 average this season. Listed at 6’10” and 185 pounds, his unique frame gives him the length to match up with fellow front-court opponents under the hoop, but also the agility and evasiveness to perfect the chase-down rejection. Displaying quite the impressive motor, Putney has upped his game all around, tallying 3.2 blocks and 1.2 steals over his last six contests. The ability to use his physicality to his advantage consistently suggesting this forward is truly inching closer to the NBA, and don’t look now, but he’s on quite the offensive tear. Over the same span, Putney is averaging 23.8 points on 53% shooting and 40% from deep.
Deyonta Davis, Santa Cruz Warriors: As the first pick of the second round during the 2016 NBA Draft, Davis has long been recognized as the kind of young gun who can make an impact at the next level. Currently manning the middle for a successful squad out in Santa Cruz, the 22-year-old is a beast with a boatload of energy down low. A rather vocal defender, Davis is no stranger to sacrificing his body as means to crash the glass or do all he can to deflect shots underneath. He’s averaging 8.8 rebounds and 2 blocks in his last four games, and most recently exploded for a 20 point, 10 rebound effort against the league-leading Blue. Over the course of an NBA season, big men encounter plenty of bumps and bruises, and Davis is an experienced and capable body who can step right in and provide much needed relief.
Tra-Deon Hollins, Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Through 30 appearances, Hollins has continued to stand his ground amongst league-leaders in vital categories, currently ranking second in assists (8.5) and third in steals (2.6). What you see is what you get from this youngster, whose consistency suggests he should have a bright future ahead. In 12 games dating back to Jan. 4, Hollins has boasted no fewer than 7 assists in every contest. His objectives are clear: find his teammates in the right places and keep up a hard-nosed effort to chase down the ball and spark changes in possession. Though Hollins recently put together a 19 point, 10 assist outing in his team’s Feb. 4 win over the Nets, he’s certainly a guy who doesn’t need to score the ball to be successful. Doing all of the little things to help his team chug along, he should be garnering more attention as the season goes on.
Bryce Alford, OKC Blue: As mentioned earlier, Abdul Gaddy has been quite the X-Factor for the Blue. All the while, Alford has been on the receiving end of many of this floor general’s pinpoint passes and continues to cash in. Ranking third in the NBA G League with 99 total three-pointers made (36% overall), the sharpshooter has knocked down at least 4 long balls in four of his last five contests. Alford has averaged 17.4 points in that same span, with OKC winning their last four.