The NBA All-Star Weekend has officially come and gone. NBA teams will thrust fully into playoff push mode, meaning some squads merely on the cusp of squeaking into the postseason may crave that extra jolt to help catapult them to where they need to be.
With the second leg of the NBA G League season underway, the minor league’s prized prospects will have every opportunity to show why they may be that missing puzzle piece up at the next level. Here’s a look at five athletes who each had a stellar first half, and can only hope to carry that momentum with them these final few months.
Donta Hall, Grand Rapids Drive
Hall has emerged as one of the more physical and explosive athletes to grace the NBA G League hardwood all season long. Though his numbers (15.3 points on 66% shooting, paired with 10.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and 1 steal per game) are impressive on their own, Hall’s speed and strength are things that should especially endear him to NBA teams looking to make a late push. His pure physical gifts should be indicative of the fact that even if he’s not featured in the lineup to fill up the stat-sheet, he’ll still ooze with energy and find ways to make an impact. As an added bonus, Hall’s electrifying finishes to the rim have made him a staple on SportsCenter’s Top 10 rankings this season, proving that he has no problem igniting the crowd on a nightly basis.
Jaylen Adams, Wisconsin Herd
Adams is someone with the potential to drop 40+ on any given night. Over the course of his minor league career, he’s proven to do just that on multiple occasions. But this season, his game has continued to mature as he eyes an NBA future with more staying power. Averaging 21.8 points on the year, this stat — while respectable in its own right — may not put Adams in the conversation for the league’s highest volume scorers, but it’s worth noting that his buckets still come at the utmost clutch times. He’s a bonafide leader who unselfishly pushes the pace and uses his own offensive prowess to serve as a threat and get others involved. Adams is also averaging 5.5 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and is shooting 41% from deep. He’s doing a little bit of everything, and that includes leading the Herd to a league-best 27-8 record. **Adams is currently representing USA Basketball.**
Isaiah Canaan, Stockton Kings
Canaan is a familiar NBA veteran who is grinding away, hungry for another chance after an ankle injury in January 2018 sidelined him for quite a while. His resiliency is admirable and for what it’s worth, he’s been playing quite well. Following a 39-point outburst on day one to open up the Winter Showcase, things have only gotten better and better for the 28-year-old as the weeks have gone on. Averaging 22.9 points per game, he’s among the top offensive free agents competing in the league right now. Talk about efficiency, he boasts a 45/44/87 shooting clip and is dishing out 6.4 assists per contest on the campaign. What you see is what you get from Canaan, he’s a constant threat to provide an offensive spark. He’s increased motivation only adds to his value.
Jemerrio Jones, Wisconsin Herd
As the stars of the NBA continue to pour in the points, minor league athletes get noticed for doing all of the little things so that they can complement those at the next level. With that in mind, Jones should be at the top of most scouting reports of teams looking for an extra boost. As the league’s leading rebounder with 12 per contest, Jones has multiple 20+ rebound outings to his credit. At 6’5″ and 175 pounds, Jones may not look the part of someone who can absorb the grit and grind of physical contact matching up with some of the more imposing front-court players, but he continues to hold his own and is a pest defensively. In addition to uniquely averaging 4.4 assists, he’s also the only player in the league’s top 10 leading rebounders to also average 1.5 steals per game. Much like Adams, his contributions to a winning environment should pad his value even more.
Christ Koumadje, Delaware Blue Coats
This isn’t Koumadje’s first time on the Call-Up Candidates list, and with good reason. The league-leader in total blocks (113) has already set the Blue Coats’ franchise record for blocks in a single season. What’s more, he also owns the league’s top spot for blocks per game with 4 a night. For those keeping score, the only player to average that many last season was Defensive Player of the Year turned NBA champion Chris Boucher. At 7’3″ and a near 270 pounds, Koumadje is a force to be reckoned with down low, but interestingly enough, he’s flashed an efficient side on offense as well. Now averaging a double-double on the campaign, he’s shooting 63% from the field and his size and stature makes him difficult to contain every time he looks to cash in on second chance points.