With the NBA season about a quarter of the way through, the grit and grind of the campaign is starting to settle in. As key players suffer injuries or become fatigued, the need for a deep roster is crucial. With that in mind, there are more than a handful of NBA G League alums currently gracing big league benches, primed and ready to fill in and make contributions when necessary. Here’s a look at which alums came up in the clutch this past week.
Quinn Cook, Golden State Warriors (Canton Charge and Santa Cruz Warriors alum)
Cook’s basketball journey has already seen him transform from the 2016 G League Rookie of the Year with Canton, to an NBA Champion with Golden State. In place of an injured Stephen Curry, Cook made his mark during the postseason last year. With the two-time NBA M.V.P. once again sidelined, Cook is benefitting from extra playing time. He’s a smart player who doesn’t force it offensively, resulting in high efficiency from the perimeter. Over his last five games, the guard is averaging 12.6 points.
Quinn Cook was the 2016 #NBAGLeague R.O.Y. with the @CantonCharge in 2016 and the 2017 #NBAGLeague A.S.G. MVP@QCook323 played 111 career games in the #NBAGLeague, averaging 23.3 PPG, 6.6 APG & 4.2 APG with the @CantonCharge & @GLeagueWarriors. He also made 2 All-NBAGL 1st Teams pic.twitter.com/UZgL8r5Gnx
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 14, 2018
Trey Burke, New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks alum)
Following four seasons as an NBA pro, Burke, a former lottery pick, used last season’s stint with the Westchester Knicks as his redemption road back to The Association. Playing in the minor league and becoming familiar with the organization has helped Burke find his fit in New York. Now in his second season in the Big Apple, Burke is slowly earning the trust of head coach David Fizdale as the Knicks search for a steady starting point guard. Burke is an explosive scorer who enjoys the bright lights. His recent 29 point, 11 assist outing recently helped the Knicks defeat Kyrie Irving and the Celtics on Thanksgiving Eve. The fiery spark is averaging 22 points over his last five contests.
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 22, 2018
Josh Richardson, Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce alum)
Players like Cook and Burke have had to wait for their turn, but Richardson was conversely thrusted into a headlining role from season’s start. As the rising star in Miami, this former 3 and D specialist has really elevated his offensive game, now averaging 20.5 points per contest. The swingman’s stint in Sioux Falls was short and sweet back in 2015-16, but the opportunity to see action with the trusted affiliate has become common practice for Miami’s young players. With a 7.6 point per game increase from last season, Richardson is an early Most Improved Player candidate.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 21, 2018
Damian Jones, Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors alum)
With so much offensive firepower in Golden State, complementary players are known to do all of the little things. This is exactly why Jones fits in so well. The organization was smart to keep his development in the forefront, playing 76 games in Santa Cruz the previous two seasons. Fast-forward to his third year as a pro, and the big man has often served as starting center for the defending NBA champions, currently averaging a respectable 1.1 blocks while maintaining a physical presence.
Jeremy Lin, Atlanta Hawks (Reno Bighorns and Erie BayHawks alum)
Before “Linsanity” made him a household name in the NBA, Lin hit the minor league hardwood while patiently waiting for his moment on the national stage. Since then, he’s become a poster child for NBA G League prospects hoping to make it at the next level. Now in his ninth NBA season, the point guard is providing veteran leadership for a young Hawks squad. Still proving his on-the-court value as well, Lin has averaged 16.8 points per contest in his last five games.