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Two-Way Tracker: Antetokounmpo, McLaughlin Lead Familiar Faces In New Places

By Keith Schlosser | July 25, 2019

As NBA teams roll the dice on undrafted rookies with Two-Way Contracts, such a gamble comes with the uncertainty of how these youngsters will fare at the professional level. The alternative, however, is to reward intriguing prospects who showed promise last season in the NBA G League. They’ve graced the professional stage before and are arguably more ready and able to contribute at both the big and minor league levels, having tasted the pro level and experienced some of the necessary growing pains.

With that in mind, here are six NBA G League alums who will join new clubs as part of Two-Way Contracts next season.

 

Norvel Pelle, Philadelphia 76ers

Finishing third in Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player voting should be considered a banner year for anyone, and Pelle is no exception. The big man is an imposing physical presence with a throwback set of skills. He prides himself on doing the dirty work by fighting for boards and staying alert on defense. His 8.6 rebound-per-game and 3 block-per-game averages last season were impressive, and it’s clear that kind of gritty effort is his calling card. Ironically enough, Pelle led the NBA G League in field goal percentage last season at 70%, proving he can pour in the points with ease upon cleaning the glass. Now he’ll get the chance to see how his skills translate at the next level. Things look promising, thanks to 6.8 rebound and 2.8 block averages in 19.1 minutes per game at NBA Summer League.

Jordan McLaughlin, Minnesota Timberwolves

A proven winner, McLaughlin is fresh off two different Finals runs — the 2019 NBA G League Finals with the Long Island Nets, and the 2019 NBA Summer League Finals with the Timberwolves. To the victor goes the spoils, and that’s evident following Minnesota’s latest reward to the guard. With averages of 15 points, 4.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game last season for Long Island, McLaughlin displayed his versatile talents. He can push the pace, shoot the three, and chase around opposing floor generals. He logged similar numbers during NBA Summer League, so that’s the first sign that he could very well hold his own in the NBA. It’ll be interesting to see which set of skills prevails more often — McLaughlin’s unselfish nature, or his ability to make it rain from deep.

Kostas Antetokounmpo, Los Angeles Lakers

Claimed off waivers by the Lakers, Antetokounmpo will now get his first taste of Showtime. His athletic prowess and physical frame are sure to excite the Hollywood crowd every time he comes flying in to swat a shot into orbit. He averaged 1.4 blocks per game with the Texas Legends last season, but offensively there’s room to grow. Perhaps that’s where forthcoming time with the South Bay Lakers will come in. After shooting 53% from the field last season, there’s promise to suggest he’s just scratching the surface for an all-around effort.

Brandon Goodwin, Atlanta Hawks

With averages of 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game last season while splitting time with the Memphis Hustle and Iowa Wolves, Goodwin was much more of a triple threat than his numbers may indicate. He can do it all — fill it up offensively, get his teammates involved, and crash the boards like a hungry wolf in an attempt to get his hands on the ball and run down the floor. He opened even more eyes with 18.5 points per game during NBA Summer League, and it was enough to convince the Hawks that his ability to put the ball in the basket will be a key asset.

Josh Magette, Orlando Magic

This floor general is in a unique position as a Two-Way Player. With a leg up on the competition, Magette boasts impressive experience both overseas and in the NBA G League. During his most recent minor league stint, he reached double-digits with 10.1 assists per game in 2017-18 for the Erie BayHawks. He’s a natural leader, and at 29 years old, his maturity and strong habits will be an asset to the other up-and-comers around him. This will give him the chance to make an impact both on and off the court.

Josh Gray, New Orleans Pelicans

Through two seasons with the Northern Arizona Suns, Gray showed improvement, with his scoring average rising from 13.7 points per game in 2016-17 to 19.4 in 2017-18. Someone with steady instincts and an explosive first step, Gray can finish at the rim or dish it out upon drawing the double-team. His skills will continue to flourish with the Erie BayHawks, and he could very well provide an offensive spark in New Orleans when called upon.

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