The 2018-19 NBA G League season is set to tip off on Friday. In anticipation of Season No. 18, here are 10 things fans should know as they tune in to the action.
New Teams and New Names In New Places: A record 27 teams will hit the hardwood, including the new Capital City Go-Go, an expansion team owned by the Washington Wizards. The Philadelphia 76ers’ affiliate is now known as the Delaware Blue Coats and is moving to the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, and the Stockton Kings (formerly the Reno Bighorns) will now be playing in a new city under a new name.
The NBA G League Is Headed to Las Vegas: The 2018 MGM Resorts NBA G League Winter Showcase, the minor league’s premier in-season scouting event, will be played in Las Vegas from Dec. 19-22 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The four-day, 27-game event is moving to December and will feature all 27 teams each playing two regular-season games in front of scouts and representatives from all 30 NBA teams. With all eyes on them, this is the perfect time for prospects to shine in hopes of earning a GATORADE Call-Up. In fact, the Winter Showcase was moved up to December for the first time, in advance of the 10-day signing period and two-way guarantee deadline.
Alumni Becoming Household NBA Names: A record 40 percent of NBA players on this season’s opening night rosters had NBA G League experience at some point in their careers. Notable alumni to find success in the Association include Clint Capela, Rudy Gobert, Danny Green and Hassan Whiteside.
Two-Way Contracts: Prior to the 2017-18 season, NBA rosters expanded from 15 to 17 players. These two additional players are permitted to spend up to 45 days in the NBA, while playing the rest of the season with an NBA G League affiliate. This year’s crop of two-way players includes exciting young talent like Kostas Antetokounmpo (Texas Legends) and Tyler Ulis (Windy City Bulls). To meet all 55 players currently on two-way contracts, click here.
Potential NBA Call-Ups: Last season, Andre Ingram made national headlines with the Los Angeles Lakers by scoring 19 points in his NBA debut at the age of 32. As he returns for his 11th season in the NBA G League, will he earn himself another NBA Call-Up? Who will follow in his footsteps? More than 30 prospects have been called up to the NBA in each of the past seven seasons.
The Professional Path: Beginning with the 2019-20 season, Select Contracts will be available elite prospects who are eligible to play in the NBA G League but not yet eligible for the NBA Draft. The contracts will introduce opportunities for development and continuing education as prospects earn $125,000 for the five-month season. How will this new professional path take shape off the floor as the action takes place on the floor?
Representing the USA: The USA World Cup Qualifying Team will once again feature a number of NBA G League alumni. Past players to participate include South Bay Lakers guard Alex Caruso, Westchester Knicks forward Isaiah Hicks and Texas Legends forward Jameel Warney. USA Basketball will play on Nov. 29 & Dec. 2 and Feb. 22 & 25 as second-round action continues ahead of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
A Competitive Quest: Each team will play a 50-game schedule during the regular season. Twelve teams will make the postseason, beginning with three single-elimination rounds before the two top dogs battle it out in a best-of-3 Finals. The Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs) are the defending champions after defeating Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors) in the 2018 NBA G League Finals.
Exploring New Rules: Two new rules will be experimented with in the NBA G League in 2018-19. The shot clock will be reset to 14 seconds in advanced situations. In addition, the “transition take foul” will be introduced. Other rule experiments will return, including the coach’s challenge and two minute overtimes. For more on the transition take foul and other rule changes, click here.
Continued Expansion: While 27 teams will compete in 2018-19, a 28th is not far behind. The New Orleans Pelicans recently acquired the right to own and operate an NBA G League affiliate. The team will begin play next season in Erie, Pennsylvania — as the Erie BayHawks — with plans to move to Birmingham, Alabama, in the 2022-23 season.