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Two-Way Tracker: Five Players To Watch In The NBA G League Playoffs

By Alex Busch | March 27, 2018

As we end the regular season and head into the NBA G League Playoffs, a handful of two-way players get a chance to extend their minor-league campaigns. Here are six players to watch out for in this year’s playoffs.

NBAGLeague.com’s Two-Way Tracker will provide weekly updates on the development of players signed to two-way NBA contracts throughout the 2017-18 season.

Click here for Two-Way Contracts 101 & to see the full list of Two-Way Players

Josh Magette, Erie BayHawks (Atlanta Hawks)

The NBA G League’s assist leader (10.2 per game) for the third consecutive season rolls into the postseason with the third-seeded BayHawks, looking to pick up their first playoff win in franchise history. The BayHawks, who take on No. 6 Lakeland, have been partially led by Syracuse product John Gillon during Magette’s stints with Atlanta.

Magette last played with Erie on March 15, and is coming off six straight 10-plus assist games, including five double-doubles. Magette, who is averaging 15.1 points per game, has led the offense in Erie with his pass-first mentality, but has still been able to score the ball as well.

Magette — who has experience in the NBA G League Playoffs, having gone to the Finals with the then-Los Angeles D-Fenders in 2016 — could be a game-changer in the Eastern Conference.

Lorenzo Brown, Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors)

Brown, who missed the middle of the season due to injury, has remained one of the top point guards in the NBA G League this season. Behind Magette, Brown is averaging 8.9 assists per game but has also found his scoring touch, pouring in 18.8 points per contest.

The NC State product has earned valuable minutes with the big club in Toronto, but will surely look to help lead the Raptors 905 to a second consecutive NBA G League title. The fourth-seeded 905 will be hosting the Grand Rapids Drive in the first round of the playoffs. Brown played in two of the 905’s three contests vs. the Drive this season (1-2 record), where he averaged  18.5 points, 7.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals. In the first contest this season, a 112-106 Drive victory, Brown led the 905 with 24 points, eight assists and five steals.

Brown, along with fellow Raptors two-way player Malcolm Miller, will be key to helping the 905 defend its NBA G League title.

Gary Payton II, South Bay Lakers (Los Angeles Lakers)

Since coming over to the Lakers on a two-way contract with Los Angeles in January, Payton has proven to be a reliable all-around player for South Bay. The Oregon State product is averaging 17.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in 20 contests at the NBA G League level.

Payton could be a huge factor for South Bay, who was been up and down to finish the regular season. The Lakers are led at point by fellow two-way player Alex Caruso, and the versatility and slashing ability from Payton could come in handy come clutch time.

Isaiah Hicks & Luke Kornet, Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks)

Both Hicks and Kornet have been able to gain valuable experience playing up with the New York Knicks, even on road trips, as the Knicks have needed size and versatility with the injury to Kristaps Porzingis. But come NBA G League Playoffs time, the two players will be able to add different skills and leadership to the top overall seed Westchester Knicks.

Westchester, who saw players like Trey Burke and Nigel Hayes earn Gatorade Call-Ups this season (Hayes has since been re-acquired by Westchester), will be looking to solidify its place as the East’s No. 1 seed.

Hicks has averaged 15.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks this season, while Kornet has paced the regular season at 16.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Kornet has become a threat from anywhere on the court, with his size above the rim paired with a 43.8 percent clip from 3-point range. Hicks, on the other hand, has lend a hand defensively when with Westchester, throwing back numerous highlight reel blocks with Westchester this season.

Daniel Hamilton, Oklahoma City Blue (Oklahoma City Thunder)

You might as well rename Daniel Hamilton “Mr. Triple Double” after his play for the Blue during the regular season. The UConn product is averaging 16.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game this season in 45 games, and has racked up 10 triple-doubles.

Hamilton, who is a part of the third-seeded Blue, will be helping host the South Bay Lakers, aiming to earn a date with the Reno Bighorns in the second round. Hamilton has shown that he can lead an offense and that when needed, he can score the ball on the drive with ease.

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