With the 19th NBA G League season set to tip off Friday, we take a look at intriguing two-way players to keep an eye on this season.
NBAGLeague.com’s Two-Way Tracker will provide weekly updates on the development of players signed to two-way NBA contracts throughout the 2019-20 season.
Tacko Fall, Maine Red Claws
Already a fan favorite in Boston, Fall’s size and stature alone are sure to raise excitement levels in Maine. At 7’5″ and 311 pounds, Fall uses his towering physicality to his advantage. As a senior at UCF, he averaged 11.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. As evidenced by his 75% field goal percentage last season, he was well accustomed to pouring in the points with ease down low. Now facing elevated professional competition, it’s up to Fall to get the reps he needs with the Red Claws to help prepare him for the added intensity (and attention) at the next level.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 4, 2019
Kostas Antetokounmpo, South Bay Lakers
Antetokounmpo got his feet wet last year during his rookie season. Heading into year two, he’s ready for Showtime. The intimidating defensive force has joined the South Bay Lakers this season. It’s well known that Antetokounmpo is a gifted athlete who can use his length and speed to fight for boards and come up with a slew of blocked shots. As he continues to grow, the young gun will be tasked with adding to his offensive repertoire, perhaps with more aggressiveness around the rim and a budding perimeter game.
Bol Bol, TBD
Bol is in a unique situation, with the Nuggets able to flex-assign him to another NBA G League club as Denver does not have their own singly-affiliated NBA G League franchise.. It’s up to the big man to gain experience with a different squad, all while staying focused on the skills and values his NBA club wants him to develop along the way. Communication is key and the ceiling is high. Bol will be inching his way back to the court after injuries plagued him as a college freshman. Still, what he did demonstrate was promising: he averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks through 9 games with Oregon last season.
Antonius Cleveland, Texas Legends
An NBA G League veteran with two seasons under his belt, Cleveland has long been known as a human highlight reel of sorts. His energy and electric finishes around the rim are often guaranteed to ignite the home crowd on a nightly basis. With Santa Cruz last season, he even started to add a long-range shot to his game (36%). Now, he’ll have a decent amount of time at the NBA level to prove he can maintain that level of pizzazz while donning a Mavericks uniform.
Damion Lee, Santa Cruz Warriors
Lee has been preparing for his moment for quite a while now, averaging 17.6 points through 78 games with the Red Claws and Santa Cruz Warriors over the last three seasons. As a more centralized figure of Santa Cruz’s offense last season, he became a steady 3 and D weapon with much more of a killer instinct. With Golden State dealing with a number of key injuries at the moment, they’ve already called upon Lee to help bridge the gap. Averaging 11.9 points through his first eight games, Lee’s NBA clock is ticking and it’ll be interesting to see if he returns to the G League or ends up earning a full-time gig with the parent club.
Michael Frazier, Rio Grande Valley Vipers
The champ is here. Frazier assumes Two-Way Player status after helping lead the RGV Vipers to the NBA G League title last season, averaging 21 points per game (and shooting 49% from deep) throughout his team’s playoff run. This was merely icing on the cake, as Frazier had also earned Most Improved Player award honors for the regular season. At 25 years old, Frazier’s pro career has already been met with bumps and bruises, but he’s overcome such injuries like a champ. This could have been foreshadowing for what was to come. His reward will be some added time with the Rockets this season.
Chris Silva, Sioux Falls Skyforce
This big man has been spending time with his NBA team early on, and is already showing flashes of special play. He’s proving to be reliable on defense, even in small spurts; much in the mold of longtime Heat big man (and Silva’s current teammate) Udonis Haslem. Such early promise shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Silva was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 for South Carolina. This bruising big man is sure to frustrate opponents down low… if he eventually suits up for Sioux Falls.
Yuta Watanabe, Memphis Hustle
The second Japanese-born player to play in an NBA game, Watanabe returns for his second season as a Two-Way Player. Averaging 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season, the forward has a nice perimeter game. Can he make the jump from a complementary player to more of a headlining attraction for the Hustle? Doing so could help him develop the confidence necessary to make meaningful contributions at the next level, but he’s definitely one to keep an eye on as he attempts to make that transition.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) October 7, 2019
Kyle Guy, Stockton Kings
This sharpshooter can push the pace and spread the defense thin. A 43% long-range shooter through three collegiate seasons with Virginia, Guy strung together a number of memorable performances throughout his team’s NCAA tournament run before helping secure a national title. His style of play should bode well for the NBA G League, where teams are often looking to run and gun.
Chris Clemons, Rio Grande Valley Vipers
This young gun can pour in the points and there’s plenty of proof in the pudding. In addition to standing tall as the all-time leading scorer in Big South history, he was also the NCAA’s season-scoring leader in 2019. For Clemons, what he can do on the court is quite clear. It’s merely a point of waiting for his time to shine. That said, he put together a 16-point NBA debut on November 3 for Houston. When suiting up for RGV, expect Clemons to raise his game even higher.