The NBA G League is the NBA’s minor league and their mission is to prepare players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA. This season, the league has grown to 26 teams, all with one-to-one affiliations with NBA franchises, up from eight when the league began in 2001.
It’s time for the league’s big in-season scouting event, the annual NBA G League Showcase. In its 14th year, it will take place in Mississauga, Ontario. General Managers and executives from all 30 NBA teams will be there to see these rising young stars shine. For the first time, the NBA G League Showcase will be played across two courts: the Hershey Centre, home of the Raptors 905 G League franchise, and the adjoining Mississauga SportZone complex. Fans and scouts will have plenty of action to take in over four days as 26 games will be played.
This event will give the approximately 250 players on NBA G League rosters, the majority of whom are free agents, a shot to land an NBA contract. Showcase takes place within the period of the season when NBA teams can sign free agents to 10-day contracts. Nearly 40% of players on NBA rosters at the start of the season had played in the G League. Past Showcases have featured talent like Heat center Hassan Whiteside, Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Rockets center Clint Capela, Sixers wing Robert Covington, Magic wing Jonathon Simmons, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, Nets guard Jeremy Lin, Rockets wing Gerald Green, and Mavericks guards Seth Curry and JJ Barea. It is not surprising that more than 50 players have been called by NBA teams during or immediately after the past 13 Showcases.
All eyes will be on the league’s new “Two-Way Players” at this year’s Showcase. Beginning in the 2017 offseason, NBA rosters expanded from 15 to 17 players with the addition of two spots for players under G League “Two-Way Contracts.” NBA teams may have up to two players under NBA Two-Way Contracts who will spend the bulk of the season in the NBA G League and not more than 45 days with their NBA team. Only players with four or fewer years of NBA service are able to sign these new contracts, which can be for either one or two seasons. Antonio Blakeney of Windy City and Quinn Cook of Santa Cruz are Two-Way players and regular season points leaders to watch this week. This is another opportunity for these players to prove themselves.
You can catch all the NBA G League Showcase games on Facebook Live, ESPNU and NBA TV beginning Wednesday, January 10th.
Max Bonstetter is a reporter for Sports Illustrated Kids and the Jr. NBA. You can follow him on Twitter @MaxHoopsSports.