Over the course of the last week, a bevy of NBA G League alums experienced their fair shares of firsts, featuring moments they’ll likely never forget. From a first minor league alum turned NBA All-Star, to a player who made his first start in the Association, and two more who made their long-awaited NBA debuts (while another joins a new club), here’s a look at how some alums began to write the next chapters in their professional storybooks.
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks (Fort Wayne Mad Ants alum): Set to suit up in Charlotte during NBA All-Star 2019, Middleton will make history and become the first NBA G League alum to do so in the annual midseason contest. Averaging 17.4 points on a 44/38/84 shooting clip, Middleton’s offensive firepower has helped the Bucks hold steady as the top dog in the Eastern Conference. As he began laying down the building blocks that eventually helped him earn such an honor, Middleton appeared in three contests for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants back in 2012-13, averaging 11 points and 7.7 boards.
NOTE: Antoine Walker (1998, 2002, 2003) and Josh Howard (2007) played in the NBA G League after they were NBA All-Stars.
Trey Burke, Dallas Mavericks (Westchester Knicks alum): The 26-year-old guard heads to Dallas after being traded by the Knicks, and his new team receives a player on quite a hot streak. Burke is averaging 14 points on 46.7% shooting from the field in his last four contests, suggesting that he’s ready and able to provide quite a spark in any role that Dallas may bestow upon him. He found success in New York after getting acclimated beforehand in the affiliated Westchester last season, so it’ll be interesting to see how he hits the ground running with a new squad to embrace the next phase of his NBA journey.
Alfonzo McKinnie, Golden State Warriors (Windy City Bulls and Raptors 905 alum): This swingman has officially transformed from NBA G League open tryout participant, into an NBA starter for the NBA champions. McKinnie received his first start for Golden State on Thursday night, and put up 11 points while on national TV. McKinnie’s numbers aren’t explosive, but there’s no denying that he’s always been ready when his number’s been called. Shooting 48% from the field and 36% from downtown, he’s developed into quite the ‘3 & D’ threat, while rebounding the ball well and earning minutes in Golden State each and every night.
Mitchell Creek, Brooklyn Nets (Long Island Nets alum): Currently on a 10-day contract with the Nets, Creek was thrust into action during his first night in an NBA uniform. Sinking one free-throw against the Knicks was all it took to throw his teammates and fans alike into a frenzy, as this recent ascension to the next level — the culmination of a journey that’s already seen him play eight pro season in Europe and Australia — is truly a feel-good story. As far as Brooklyn is concerned, Creek’s presence on the court does much more than simply make those around him feel warm and fuzzy. He followed up his debut by adding 6 points and 5 rebounds in 19 minutes against the Celtics on Monday. Creek’s time in Long Island should aid his learning curve and allow him to make additional contributions for his new big league club when given more opportunities.
This team is a family, 1-15. So when @CreekMitchell got his first NBA point in his first NBA game, it was all love 🖤 pic.twitter.com/joxtWnjJEX
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 26, 2019
Emanuel Terry, Phoenix Suns (Sioux Falls Skyforce and Canton Charge alum): Another player still riding high from the joy of a 10-day contract, Terry has been praised early on for his hustle and defensive hunger during his still brief time in the NBA. The athletic forward is adjusting to his new surroundings in Phoenix quite well, averaging 4.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.5 steals through 10 minutes in his first two games. Tweaking his game to fit his new team’s needs, Terry is no longer a primary option on offense. Instead, he’s thrived early on by diving for loose balls, sacrificing his body, and keeping hope alive for tough rebounds. He’s doing all of the little things, fulfilling the common prophecy for minor leaguers to achieve their dreams at the next level.
"I try to play at the highest level each time."
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 29, 2019