With the Winter Showcase near, NBA teams are gearing up to head to Las Vegas and get a closer look at the top prospects from the NBA G League. At this point in the season, teams have had an opportunity to evaluate their progress and identify areas of improvement.
Player injuries may call for an acquisition of a specific position. Other teams may crave a certain skill-set, whether that be pinpoint three-point shooting, physical rebounding, swarming defense, or perhaps something different all together. Either way, there are many players with a variety of talents, all hungry for their shot at the next level.
Here’s a look at five Call-Up candidates currently strutting their stuff.
NBA G League 101: How Call-Ups Work
Travis Trice, Wisconsin Herd: Trice recently returned from a stint with USA Basketball. Based upon his selection among the best the NBA G League has to offer, many are taking notice of his skills. Could he get the call from an NBA team next?
The guard played a central role in Wisconsin’s triple overtime victory over Maine on Saturday, tallying 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. It was proof of the strides this young gun has made in his minor league career. Well known for his sharpshooting prowess, Trice has continued to take responsibility as a leader who can penetrate, draw defenders in, and the dish out the ball to open teammates. He’s averaging 15.3 points, 5.8 assists, and 1.3 steals on the campaign.
Jarnell Stokes, Sioux Falls Skyforce: Anytime a former MVP comes to town, it’s time to take notice. Stokes won the 2016 NBA G League MVP and led the Skyforce to a championship in the same year. He was downright dominant, scoring the ball in a number of different ways. He returned to Sioux Falls this weekend, grabbing 11 rebounds off the bench in his familiar squad’s victory over Texas. Once known as a bruising big man, Stokes has developed a long range shot over time, impressive for a 6’7″, 260-pounder. Now that he’s back, he could provide a scoring boost and create mismatches for NBA teams in need of an injection of life.
Jemerrio Jones, South Bay Lakers: Currently in his first pro season, Jones has found his way to NBA G League success alongside NBA pros, Two-Way Players and affiliate players. He’s made his mark by doing all of the little things big-league teams look for in complementary players. Jones’ calling card includes crashing the boards, diving for loose balls, and leaving everything out on the floor. With averages of 10.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 1.5 blocks, Jones is proof that his 6’5″, 175-pound frame puts no limitations on what he can do on the defensive end. He seamlessly matches up with a variety of position players.
Tra-Deon Hollins, Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Hollins’ 7.9 assists and 2.7 steals both represent second-best marks among NBA G League players. He keeps it simple, oozing out hustle on both ends of the floor with very little let-up. Much like Jones, Hollins’ ability to defer and make those around him better make him a more appealing athlete. His hard nose for chasing down opponents usually leads to transition buckets for his team on the other end.
Anthony Bennett, Agua Caliente Clippers: Bennett is supplying the Clippers with a reliable long-range shooter this season. His 50% from deep is second best in the league and he’s had four games of 23 points or more. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, the 25-year-old is coming into his own after identifying a key niche. His prowess from beyond the arc pays dividends, as opposing big men are forced to come out along the perimeter to chase him down. Averaging 15.5 points on 62% (seventh-best in the NBA G League) in just 21.9 minutes, he’s been as efficient as they come.