With the addition of Two-Way Contracts, the way NBA organizations can use the NBA G League has changed dramatically. Rosters have now expanded to 17, with the final two spots available for Two-Way Players who can spend the majority of the season in the NBA G League and a maximum of 45 days in the NBA.
(For more on how Two-Way Contracts work, click here.)
For NBA G League prospects who’ve traditionally battled for NBA Call-Ups, that means 60 additional roster spots up for grabs — and nearly all 60 spots are filled entering the 2017-18 NBA G League season.
Here are 12 standouts to watch in the minor league:
Marcus Paige, Guard, Swarm (Hornets)
Marcus Paige is coming into the season with a big opportunity after signing a two-way contract with the Charlotte Hornets. The former UNC star is returning to the state of North Carolina, and will be playing for the Greensboro Swarm of the G League in the Hornets’ system. Since Paige and the Tar Heels fell in the 2016 NCAA national championship game, Paige has started for the Salt Lake Stars in the 2016-17 season and played for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ NBA Summer League team. Paige has already seen action in his first NBA game, as he played three minutes of the Hornets’ win over the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 25.
Demetrius Jackson, Guard, Vipers (Rockets)
Demetrius Jackson was signed to a two-way contract by the Houston Rockets after being part of the Boston Celtics’ system in 2016-17. The former Notre Dame guard has already played in five regular-season games for the Rockets, including logging 17 minutes with four points, five rebounds and two assists in the Rockets’ win over the Mavericks on Oct. 21. He will look to play at a high level for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers while making the most of his opportunities in Houston. He has gotten early chances in the NBA after Chris Paul suffered an early-season injury.
C.J. Williams, Wing, Clippers
After being part of Team USA’s AmeriCup Gold Medal team, Williams looks to break through with a big year in 2017-18. Williams has bounced around the G League and various leagues in Europe since he became a pro in 2012. He was originally signed to a training camp deal, but was later converted to a two-way player by the Clippers. Last season, Williams averaged 12.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 29.3 minutes for the Texas Legends.
James Michael McAdoo, Forward, 87ers (Sixers)
After being in the Golden State Warriors’ system in both Santa Cruz and Oakland, James Michael McAdoo will bring his two NBA championship rings to the Philadelphia 76ers and Delaware 87ers on a two-way contract this season. McAdoo averaged 2.8 points and 1.7 rebounds at the NBA level last season in 52 appearances.
Quinn Cook, Guard, Warriors
After getting his shot in the NBA in short stints with both the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans in 2016-17, Quinn Cook has been brought on by the Warriors as a two-way player in the system with Golden State and Santa Cruz. The former G League Rookie of the Year (2016) and All-Star Game MVP (2017) will look to make his name with the defending champions this season. Although the Warriors have won two of the past three NBA titles, they have used young talent, even coming from the G League, as shown by the usage of McAdoo in the playoffs last year. He should get a shot to showcase his talent with the league’s best.
Josh Magette, Guard, BayHawks (Hawks)
Josh Magette will be an interesting story to follow throughout the season, as he was signed to a two-way contract by the Atlanta Hawks. Magette played college ball at Division II Alabama-Huntsville and went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, but has bounced around the G League and leagues in Europe. With the Los Angeles D-Fenders last season, Magette averaged 15.8 points, 9.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 35.3 minutes. He led the entire league in assists during each of the past two seasons, and was named to the All-G League Second Team in 2016-17. Magette has already seen time on the floor in five of the Hawks’ seven games this year, and drained a 3-pointer in his first NBA action against the Mavericks on Oct. 18.
Jack Cooley, Forward, Bighorns (Kings)
Jack Cooley will look to solidify his inside presence with a big year in the G League, as he has been given a two-way contract from the Sacramento Kings. The former Notre Dame standout has seen time with teams around the G League and Europe, and played 16 games as part of the Utah Jazz in 2015. Cooley, who has the G League record for rebounds in a game with 29, started the year with the Kings before being sent down to the Reno Bighorns. Cooley averaged 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game with MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany last season.
Jabari Bird, Wing, Red Claws (Celtics)
Jabari Bird will be going back-and-forth through the Boston Celtics’ organization this year, as he is a two-way player with the Celtics and the Maine Red Claws of the G League. Bird saw action in two games for the Celtics before being sent back down to the Red Claws for the start of the G League season. In his first action in the NBA, Bird was put into a close game, and he scored three points while helping Boston lock down sharpshooter J.J. Redick in a comeback victory. Bird will now have the chance to be a leader of the Red Claws, while possibly getting more looks in Boston.
Yakuba Ouattara, Guard, Nets
Yakuba Ouattara will be part of the Nets’ system this year after becoming the first international player in NBA history to sign a two-way contract. The Ghana-born, French guard has spent the past six seasons playing professionally in Europe, but will have the chance to make a name for himself with the Long Island Nets of the G League this year. Ouattara averaged 10.9 points and three rebounds and shot 48 percent from the field (38 percent on 3-pointers) in 23.8 minutes per game with Monaco last season.
Chris Boucher, Forward, Warriors
Chris Boucher is another talented player that will be in the Warriors’ system this year. The former Oregon star, who has an incredible 7-foot-4 wingspan and a build like Kevin Durant, averaged 12 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 69 games during his two years as a Duck. After injuring his ACL during last year’s PAC-12 Tournament, he slid out of the 2017 NBA Draft and was signed by the Warriors alongside his college teammate, Warriors 2nd-round pick Jordan Bell.
Gary Payton II, Guard, Herd (Bucks)
Gary Payton II, the son of NBA great Gary Payton, will be in his dad’s former team’s system this year after signing a two-way contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. He will be spending most of his time with the team’s new G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, but has already seen time with the Bucks in one game. Last season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the former Oregon State star averaged 14.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 49 games.
Alex Caruso, Guard, Lakers
Although Los Angeles Lakers fans had several reasons to be excited during NBA Summer League with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and more, Alex Caruso also showed great signs in Las Vegas. Caruso averaged 6.5 points, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals in four games in Summer League, including an 18-point performance against the Kings. The 6-foot-5 guard spent the 2016-17 season with the Oklahoma City Blue of the G League, averaging 11.9 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 50 games. Caruso showed enough to the Lakers that they signed him to a contract before he even left Vegas after competing in Summer League.
Briante Weber, Guard, Vipers (Rockets)
Briante Weber has seen action in the NBA with five different teams, and will have the chance to break in with his two-way contract with the Houston Rockets and RGV Vipers of the G League. Last season with the G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce, Weber averaged a terrific 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists. After playing with the Skyforce, along with stints in the NBA during the past two seasons, he will look to make a name for himself in Texas.