The new year is often a opportunity for people to embrace new beginnings, and there’s no doubt a handful of NBA G League alumni have taken the bull by the horns as it relates to carving out NBA roles for themselves. Some have their eyes on potential big league awards and various honors, while a select few others are getting their first taste of meaningful success at the next level.
Here’s a look at five alumni making headlines for special reasons.
Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers (Rio Grande Valley Vipers alum)
Harrell’s come a long way from cutting his teeth as an NBA assignee with the RGV Vipers back in 2015-16. Since averaging 24.3 points in 12 minor league contests as a pro rookie, Harrell has transformed into a perennial Sixth Man of the Year award candidate while confidently representing a championship contender. As if such a leap wasn’t great enough, it would appear as though Harrell is now knocking on the door of even grander stardom. In his last three games, the big man has averaged 28.3 points, leading the Clippers in scoring through each contest.
Sekou Doumbouya, Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive alum)
Still just 19 years old, Doumbouya has appeared in fifteen games for the Drive this season as means of getting more seasoning necessary for the next level. He’s already receiving an opportunity to put his experience to good use, as the new year has treated him well. In the early goings, the youngster has started five games for the Pistons with solid success. Averaging 12 points on 49% shooting and 39% from deep to go with 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals, Doumbouya has quickly demonstrated an ability to contribute up in the NBA so it’ll be interesting to see how soon he returns to Grand Rapids at this point.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) January 8, 2020
Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Hornets (Greensboro Swarm alum)
As the season continues to progress, Graham is looking like a runaway candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. He’s tallied a points/assists double-double in five of his last eight games, proving that garnering more attention from the defense has helped him become an even better facilitator in the process. Overall, Graham is posting very respectable numbers on the campaign, averaging 18.9 points and 7.8 assists. Given his most recent success, there seems to be more where that came from for the former Swarm assignee.
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) January 7, 2020
Jordan McRae, Washington Wizards (Delaware Blue Coats, Canton Charge, and Capital City Go-Go alum)
A plethora of injuries and various roster moves have given way to more opportunities for a bevy of up and coming athletes on the Wizards, and Jordan McRae has clearly taken full advantage. The sharpshooter made a splash last season as a Two-Way Player, breaking the record for consecutive 30+ point games with nine. He led the NBA G League in 40+ point games and had a season-high of 54, to boot. All that said, it seems only natural that pouring in the points for Washington is merely second nature for him. Averaging 19.7 points over a stretch of seven recent games, McRae is becoming someone opposing teams need to plan ahead for, and with good reason.
Svi Mykhailiuk, Detroit Pistons (South Bay Lakers and Grand Rapids Drive alum)
Speaking of high-scoring performances, Svi Mykhailiuk caught eyes last season after scoring 47 points for the South Bay Lakers on December 29. Just over one year following his big time performance in the minor league, it’s safe to say this talented marksman has comfortably settled into a steady NBA role. In five games to start the new year, Mykhailiuk has averaged 11.8 points, helping spread the floor for an eager Pistons offense. Shooting the lights out is nothing new for the swingman, who currently ranks 11th in the league in three-point shooting at 43.1%