Looking back at the top performers of the 2019 NBA G League Winter Showcase, here’s a day by day breakdown of who stood out with some of the best stat-lines and memorable moments.
Isaiah Canaan, Stockton Kings: A veteran of six NBA seasons with an 8.1 points per game average, it’s safe to say Canaan is a well known commodity at the next level with a decent success rate. Still, the Winter Showcase provides the perfect chance for him to remind big league teams what he’s all about. The guard is clawing his way back from last year’s leg injury, and on Day 1, he proved there was plenty of spring in his step. Canaan was the high-scorer following one day of competition, scoring 39 points off the bench to help the Kings secure a victory.
Gary Payton II, South Bay Lakers: Tallying double-doubles is becoming a regular thing for this guard. He’s attacking the boards and playing with the kind of aggressiveness and hunger that often leads to NBA Call-Ups. Adding 21 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and three steals, he was a stat-sheet stuffer. Payton II is a flashy player who, despite boasting tremendous athleticism, knows how and when to slow things down and make smart decisions for his team. He’s a skillful leader.
filling up the stat-sheet is now a regular thing for Gary Payton II 👀 #GLeagueShowcase
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) December 20, 2019
Malik Newman, Canton Charge: Talk about making a statement when it matters most. As the Winter Showcase tipped off, Newman led a comeback victory during the first game of Day 1 to spark a strong start for the Charge. He hit five shots from deep en route to scoring 29 points, while also coming up in the clutch with time dwindling down. In a league filled with established Two-Way Players and NBA assignees, Newman’s quality of play suggested he shouldn’t be considered far behind at all.
Johnathan Motley (Two-Way Player), Agua Caliente Clippers: Motley is a Two-Way Player who has experienced success at both levels. When he’s getting his reps in the minor league, he asserts his dominance on both ends of the floor to help rack up victories, and Day 1 of the Winter Showcase was no different. Logging 32 points on the offensive end and five blocks on the defensive end, this big man was explosive around the rim and scored with ease. Defensively, he served as an intimating force that caused his opponent to opt for lower-percentage looks around the perimeter.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) December 20, 2019
Amile Jefferson (NBA Assignee), Lakeland Magic: What a difference a year makes. This time last season, Jefferson was a Two-Way Player hoping to show the Orlando Magic exactly why he deserved a full-time big league gig. Fast-forward 12 months and he’s more than earned the well-deserved promotion that followed. Jefferson has returned to Las Vegas to strut his stuff as an NBA assignee and he’s clearly just getting reps in so that he can return to Orlando and make necessary contributions sooner than later. The big man added 22 points and 15 rebounds in Lakeland’s Day 1 win.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) December 20, 2019
Rayjon Tucker, Wisconsin Herd: This high-powered athlete has truly exploded onto the scene during the most crucial time of his pro career and he’s been putting on quite the show. He’s been clutch with impressive physicality, getting to the rim and devouring high-percentage looks inside every chance he gets. Scoring (at least) 34 points for the fourth straight game, Tucker’s been on an absolute tear. He gets better with each passing game, and lucky for him, everyone from around the NBA is watching this week.
Alize Johnson (NBA Assignment), Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Johnson is someone who continues to show special growth. He’s used his time on the minor league hardwood to develop immense versatility. He’s a beast down low, scoring at will and fighting his way inside to scoop up every rebound opportunity. He creates second chance opportunities, and when teams swarm him, he becomes an unselfish teammate who finds those around him. All of this and more was evident in his 24-point, 13-rebound, six assist effort as the Mad Ants got the win.
24 PTS | 13 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL pic.twitter.com/g5yvB1efM0
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) December 21, 2019
Justin Anderson, Raptors 905: Anderson craves another chance in the NBA and it shows. Knocking down six shots from deep en route to scoring 30 points, he’s arguably becoming more of a 3 and D threat than he’s ever been before. Of course, demonstrating an ability to spread the floor and serve as a complementary player is something that should bode well for his staying power in The Association the next time around. It’s also worth noting that every time the 26 year old takes the floor, he can be seen mentoring the various prospects around him. Anderson may be ready to take that next step as a notable veteran.
Alen Smailagic (NBA Assignment), Santa Cruz Warriors: Yet to appear in an NBA game, Smailagic has used his more recent time with Santa Cruz as means for rehab. The longer he stays, the better he plays, and Las Vegas is the perfect place to shine. Scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, the young gun asserted his physicality and muscled his way down low as he poured in a bevy of interior buckets. Playing center, he’s seemingly putting his agility to good use to evade bulkier defenders. Nevertheless, he’s able to succeed amid major contact, and this time it resulted in a win for the Warriors.
Lamar Peters, Westchester Knicks: This NBA prospect is proving to be quite an intriguing player, especially for NBA teams looking for some help in the backcourt. Peters is a speedy floor general who can race around and seemingly hit shots from just about anywhere on the court. Keeping the defense honest, he connected on seven daggers from deep and dished out six assists, proving he can push the pace and beat the defense in a variety of ways.
— Westchester Knicks (@wcknicks) December 20, 2019
Gabe Vincent, Stockton Kings: This sharpshooter put on one of the greatest scoring displays seen thus far at the Winter Showcase. He deserves all the recognition in the world after pouring in 35 points on nine three-point field goals made, all while helping Stockton secure a win. He was bouncy, active, and moved around the perimeter with enthusiasm, making it nearly impossible for the defense to plan and cover him accordingly. Craving an NBA Call-Up, this latest performance is further evidence that he could contribute at the next level. But make no mistake, this game was by no means a mirage: Vincent is shooting 41% from deep on the year.
Drew Eubanks (Two-Way Player), Austin Spurs: It’s special to watch players make meaningful strides from one year to the next. Eubanks is undoubtedly an up-and-coming player who has taken the next step. He was downright dominant, attacking the rim and asserting his physicality to get the highest percentage looks inside as possible. He’s playing as confident as ever and doesn’t shy away from seeking out his own offense. The big man tallied 31 points and 12 rebounds, all while still maintaining the belief that good defense can spark increased offensive opportunities. Eubanks often changed the momentum of the game in his team’s favor by also coming up with three blocks and three steals.
Devontae Cacok (Two-Way Player), South Bay Lakers: Cacok recently got rewarded for his continued efforts with the Lakers signing him to a Two-Way contract. One could think the pressure would be off, but he’s only turned things up with each passing contest. This new promotion has seemingly given Cacok added confidence, as he’s been oozing with hustle and energy on both ends of the floor as of late. He boasted a big line on day three with 32 points and 15 rebounds, using his athleticism to keep the defense on its toes and pour in the points down low.
Nate Mason, Texas Legends: Mason is a sneaky but savvy finisher around the rim. He dizzies his opponents with agility along the perimeter to work his way inside. Boasting a game complete with step-backs, pump-fakes, and a steady long-range jumper, he spent day three fooling the defense into giving him exactly what he wanted. Adding 22 points and 12 assists, Mason cashed in on looks down low and found teammates in transition. His unselfish nature should suggest that he’d be willing to do whatever it takes to make those around him better.
PJ Dozier (Two-Way Player), Windy City Bulls: Efficient scorers are often known as walking buckets. In that interest, Dozier should be known as a walking triple-double (threat). Tallying an impressive line of 21 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists, he finished just shy of the skilled feat. Nevertheless, there’s no denying that his ability to leave his fingerprints all over the stat-sheet often means a successful result for Windy City and day three was different as they emerged victorious.
Juwan Morgan (NBA Assignment), Salt Lake City Stars: NBA assignee Morgan will carry a special winning mentality back with him to Utah after suiting up for Salt Lake City and leading them to the coveted Winter Showcase championship. The big man spearheaded his team’s effort with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was physical around the rim, yet demonstrated a certain level of fitness when it came to scoring along the perimeter as well. First and foremost, he was a fearless leader whose contributions led to two big victories in Las Vegas.
🗣 “I will remember this forever”
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) December 23, 2019
Alize Johnson (NBA Assignment), Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Already a special performer from earlier in the week, Johnson accomplished an all the more impressive feat on day four. Putting a wild exclamation point on his experience, Johnson became the only player in Las Vegas to tally a triple-double when his 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists led the Mad Ants to a key win. He and Morgan have a couple of things in common. They’re both All NBA G League Showcase First Team selections and following some extra pro seasoning, are now as poised as ever to return to the NBA and make big league contributions for their clubs.
John Konchar (Two-Way Player), Memphis Hustle: The Hustle boast an NBA G league-leading 14 wins on the campaign, and Konchar is a big reason why. On day four, he demonstrated just how valuable he is with a stat-line of 33 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Konchar can shoot the three-ball, post up down low, but still isn’t afraid to fight for rebounds or dive for loose balls. He’s a rugged physical force who attracts attention from the defense, and therefore, his mere presence alone helps open the floor for those around him.
Kyle Alexander, Sioux Falls Skyforce: At first glance, Alexander’s stat-line may not be all that imposing, but he’s the kind of player the Winter Showcase is all about. At just 23 years old, he’s a pro rookie who’s averaging 11.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.1 blocks. These numbers aren’t flashy, but Alexander is undeniably a reliable big man with plenty of potential. He boasts athleticism for days and can rise up to slam home a bevy of ferocious dunks with the best of them. He scored 16 points and 11 rebounds on day four, undoubtedly jumping on the radar of many NBA scouts while leading the Skyforce to a win.
Jalen Adams, Erie BayHawks: Better late than never, Adams put a close to his Showcase with style. Exploding for the second-highest scoring effort by an individual all week long, Adams scored 37 points en route to leading the BayHawks to a win and it was a beautiful thing to watch. The hotter he became from the field, the more panicked the defense became and he simply let the game come to him. Also dishing out nine assists, he was the prime time floor general to watch as competition inched closer to its conclusion, but there’s little doubt he left a lasting impression that should leave NBA teams thinking in the weeks that follow.