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NBA Call-Up Candidates: Gary Payton II and Justin Anderson Garnering Early Attention

By Keith Schlosser | December 10, 2019

With the 2019-20 season in full swing, NBA G League players have had a decent amount of time to begin putting together a newly minted body of work to give big league teams a taste of what they can do.

As the campaign continues to unfold, a handful of players have stood out. Hoping to prove they deserve some time to shine in the NBA, athletes like Gary Payton II and Kenny Wooten have started to do all of the little things that may or may not always show up on the stat sheet. Dusty Hannahs and Justin Anderson are two other familiar faces who have shown leadership and maturity (among other special skills) as their teams rack up the victories. For Gabe Vincent, garnering NBA attention has been about demonstrating a very necessary skill set.

Here’s a greater look at the progress each special talent has made in the early goings.

Justin Anderson, Raptors 905

An NBA veteran of four NBA seasons, Justin Anderson is a well-known and well-respected pro commodity. Since joining the Raptors 905 shortly after the season began, he’s gotten off to a hot start. Providing value on both ends of the floor, Anderson is averaging a versatile stat-line of 24.3 points on 50% from the field and 40% from deep, 6.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 1.3 steals. He scored 40 points in front of Raptors head coach Nick Nurse on December 5, certainly making his mark on the court. But interestingly enough, his impact has already gone well beyond the numbers. Despite being just 26 years old, Anderson has assumed leadership duties while serving as a steady presence for a budding Raptors 905 group.

Gary Payton II, South Bay Lakers

Payton II is a reigning NBA G League champion, so there’s no denying he’s already demonstrated an ability to contribute to a winning environment. He’s continued to mature over the years, and since rejoining the South Bay Lakers this season has allowed the little things to help him make big impacts. He’s currently leading the minor league in steals at 3.4 per game, while also averaging 9.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists. Averaging a near double-double (with a 17.5 point per game average as well) should be considered a special feat for the 6’3″, 195-pound floor general. He’s shown a great deal of athleticism, truly making him an impressive talent.

Dusty Hannahs, Memphis Hustle

Speaking of players embodying a winning mentality, such a concept has Dusty Hannahs’ name written all over it. He’s been an integral part of the Hustle’s 11-1 start to the season (they initially won 10 straight), and Hannahs’ contributions have already earned him an early NBA G League Player of the Week award. He’s scored at least 28 points in four of his last five contests and is connecting at a red hot 50/48/85 shooting clip to begin the campaign. Hannahs can score at will, regardless of how or when he enters a given contest.

Kenny Wooten, Westchester Knicks

As big league teams scour the NBA G League for players to complement or elevate their already existent efforts, necessary contributions usually go well beyond putting the ball in the basket. With that in mind, Kenny Wooten is the kind of player who oozes out endless effort and heavy hustle. Currently the league’s leading shot blocker at 3.5 per game (headlined by an eight-block outing on November 20), the big man is also averaging 1.1 steals and shooting 62% from the field. Wooten doesn’t need the ball in his hands to succeed, but he’s more than capable of pouring in the points upon cleaning up on the offensive glass.

Gabe Vincent, Stockton Kings

Gabe Vincent has served as a centralized figure of the Stockton Kings’ offense, tallying five games of 28 points or more. The way in which he’s continued to pour in the points should undoubtedly endear him to NBA teams. This sharpshooter is as efficient as they come, boasting a 46/41/91 shooting clip. He’s currently riding a streak of nine consecutive games with at least three 3-point field goals, demonstrating an ability to help spread opposing defenses thin. His 23.4 points per game ranks in the top 10, placing him alongside many of the best Two-Way and NBA assignee performers to hit the floor this season.

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