Rising up from their NBA G League roots, many alumni are making a splash at the NBA level in big ways. Some are setting records, others are hitting game-winning shots, and two more are simply holding their own as their teams look to maintain winning ways — which is also by no means an easy task.
Here’s a look at five alumni who have boasted meaningful, big league contributions after coming from humble beginnings.
Clint Capela, Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers Alum)
Capela made major headlines this week, with his five consecutive games of 20 + rebounds, standing tall as the third-longest streak by any player since the 1983-84 season. He was the first player to do so since Ben Wallace in March of 2003. He was the first Rockets player since Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes in the 1970-71 season to have that kind of streak. Moreover, he is just the second player (after NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman) to have at least 19 rebounds in seven consecutive games after grabbing 22 rebounds on Sunday. Needless to say, he’s taken his game to another level since averaging 16.1 points and 9.7 rebounds through 38 games with the RGV Vipers in 2014-15.
Alex Caruso, Los Angeles Lakers (South Bay Lakers & OKC Blue Alum)
Even at 6’5″ and 186 pounds, Caruso early on became known for his high-flying heroics and that in of itself hasn’t changed. At the same time, however, this fiery floor general is proving to be much more than your favorite human highlight reel. At 13-2, the Lakers continue to roll and Caruso represents a steady piece of the puzzle. A reliable rotation player, this former Two-Way Player is averaging 8.4 points and 1.4 steals over his last five games. He’s a spark on offense and a pest on the other end, undoubtedly making his mark alongside the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Caruso has made quite a jump from earning All NBA G League Second Team honors in 2018.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 9, 2019
Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Hornets (Greensboro Swarm Alum)
Appearing on the Alumni Report for the second week in a row, Graham continues to make a major impact at the next level. Hitting nine three-point field goals en route to 29 points against the Knicks on November 16 wasn’t enough, as the guard had to put a special exclamation on his efforts with a game-winning shot. In his last five games, Graham has helped push the pace at an efficient rate for Charlotte, averaging 18.8 points and 6 assists. His initial role as playmaker and leader for the Swarm last season is quickly translating in the NBA and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down at all.
— NBA (@NBA) November 17, 2019
Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce Alum)
Kendrick Nunn isn’t the only NBA G League alum making it rain in Miami. Robinson has taken on a more centralized role in the NBA after coming up last season as a Two-Way Player, starting in 10 of 15 contests for the Heat. He’s averaging 10.5 points on the year and took things a step further on November 20 with a performance that etched his name into the franchise’s record books. Amid scoring 29 points in a win over Cleveland, the sharpshooter’s eight three-pointers were the most by a Heat player in a half. Seven of the eight were hit in the second quarter alone, which marked a separate individual high for the team.
✅ Most 3PM by a @MiamiHEAT player in a half (8)
✅ Most 3PM by a @MiamiHEAT player in a quarter (7)#GLeagueAlum @D_Bo20 was on 🔥 Wednesday and etched his name in the record books. pic.twitter.com/aXhqhX6jX2
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 21, 2019
Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards (South Bay Lakers and Capital City Go-Go Alum)
At just 22 years old, Bryant has quickly emerged as an efficient offensive weapon in the NBA. He’s shooting 56% from the field on career-high numbers of 14.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season. His impressive spread includes four games of 20 points or more and four double-doubles. On November 23, he had his best game of the still young season, tallying 21 points and 11 rebounds in Washington’s win over Charlotte. Such a performance may suggest that the best is yet to come in what has been an already promising campaign.