NBA G League Alumni in NBA Summer League Recap: July 3

By John Bauman | July 4, 2018

After an exciting opening night of NBA Summer League action, four more games tipped off Wednesday night in Sacramento and Utah.

NBA G League alumni continued making an impact. Here are a few of the best performances from Tuesday night’s game action.

Georges Niang, Utah Jazz

On Tuesday night in the Utah Summer League, playing next to Tony Bradley, his running partner with the Salt Lake City Stars, Niang had a strong night. He finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Niang was a member of the 2017-18 All-NBA G League First Team for his work with Stars. Niang was also called up to the big league as a two-way player for the Jazz.

Niang is at his best right around the basket, finding a way to blend efficiency with production. In 41 G League games this past season, Niang averaged 4.1 field goals made per game from 0-5 feet from the basket. He was also very efficient on those shots, shooting 70.6% from that area. At 6-8, he doesn’t physically dominate opponents, but 138 career games at Iowa State and 47 career G League games have provided him with quite the education in slashing and playmaking.

Jeff Ledbetter, Spurs

Ledbetter scored 16 points in the closeout game of the NBA G League Finals back on April 10, so he knows what it takes to make an impact in big games. The Austin Spurs alum and 2018 G League champion scored 15 points and had five assists on Tuesday night to help the Spurs beat the Hawks 103-81 at the Utah Summer League.

His strong Summer League performance follows a solid postseason with the Austin Spurs. In four games, Ledbetter averaged 15 minutes played, 6.8 points and 2.5 assists. The crown jewel of his playoffs came in the aforementioned closeout game, when he helped the Spurs defeat Raptors 905 to clinch the title. Ledbetter had 16 points on 6-8 shooting, including going 4-6 from beyond the arc.

Ledbetter will look to add a NnBA Summer League championship to the trophy case later on this summer.

Naz Mitrou-Long, Jazz

It’s always a good sign when you impress Donovan Mitchell. After a long assist in the third quarter to lead a cutting teammate, Georges Niang, in transition, Mitchell stood up and cheered his teammate, Naz Mitrou-Long.

Mitrou-Long was a two-way player for the Jazz last season and earned a number of Gatorade Call-Ups, the last of which came on February 24. He played 40 games in the G League for the Salt Lake City Stars and filled up the stat sheet, averaging 18 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 steals.

On Wednesday night, Mitrou-Long led the Jazz in scoring with 19 points on 7-12 shooting from the field. He also dished eight assists and hauled in six boards. Mitrou-Long always has his head up, scanning the court for cutters or other options. He also can turn the corner in pick-and-rolls and really attack the basket with vigor. His Jazz teammates were on the receiving end of a number of clean looks that came all thanks to Mitrou-Long’s playmaking ability.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Lakers

Rathan-Mayes has earned a shoutout thanks to two strong performances in his first two games of the NBA Summer League. Playing for the Lakers in the Sacramento Summer League, he’s been able to showcase some of the trademark vision and passing skills he honed with the Westchester Knicks this past season.

He had nine points, five assists and two rebounds on Tuesday night. That followed up the clinic he ran on Monday night, when he dished out 12 assists. That doesn’t beat his G League season-high of 14 assists, which came on November 14, 2017 when Westchester beat Raptors 905, but it was still a great night.

On March 5, Rathan-Mayes earned a Gatorade Call-Up to the Memphis Grizzlies from the Westchester Knicks. In the G League, Rathan-Mayes averaged 16.7 points and 7.2 assists.

Derrick Jones Jr. , Heat

Jones Jr. messed around and got a double-double on his first night of the NBA Summer League, scoring 24 points and snatching 11 boards. One night later, he filled the stat sheet even further: 21 points, five rebounds, four blocks and three steals. Another solid night’s work for the veteran of the Northern Arizona Suns and the Sioux Falls Skyforce shows “Airplane Mode” is gaining the consistency required of an NBA wing.

On New Year’s Eve last year, Jones Jr. got the call that he’d be joining the Miami Heat on a two-way contract. He’s flashed the ability to go for big games before, like when he went for 32 points and 11 rebounds against Delaware last November. Don’t be surprised if Jones Jr. touches 30 points at some point this summer season.

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