At this point in the NBA G League season, it feels like like Groundhog’s Day. A case of deja vu occurs as some familiar top performers continue to assert their dominance, signaling that they could be spending more time up at the NBA level sooner than later.
Some players, however, have just begun to really hit their stride, meaning that midseason form is the best form. With an elevation in production, these prospects are standing as they take the lead and help their teams string together some victories as the new year approaches.
Here’s a look at how two MVP candidates and a rising star have stood out over the last few games, while another finds comfort in the NBA.
NBAGLeague.com’s Two-Way Tracker will provide weekly updates on the development of players signed to two-way NBA contracts throughout the 2018-19 season.
Chris Boucher, Raptors / Raptors 905: Will the Real MVP Candidate Please Stand Up?
For weeks now, Boucher has stood tall as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate due to his place atop the league’s leaders in blocked shots. He’s an intimating rim-protector with impressive length and the physicality to reject and alter shots. His prowess on that end of the floor has been well documented.
Yet slowly but surely, Boucher has emerged as a dominating scoring presence as well. He can do it all, cleaning up on second-chance points or stepping out to hit the three ball. Getting a close look at Kevin Durant’s work ethic while serving as a Two-Way Player for the Golden State Warriors last season must have paid off for Boucher, because his unicorn-like versatility is helping him rise. He earned Player of the Month honors for November and more substantial awards could be in his future if he keeps this up.
Yante Maten, Heat / Skyforce: Watch Out Boucher, Here Comes Maten
If Boucher is cementing himself as a legitimate MVP candidate, Maten can’t be too far behind. After a dominant start to the season, Maten quieted down some. But make no mistake, he’s roaring back.
While chasing Jaylen Adams’ NBA G League scoring high of 44 points this past Saturday (Maten’s 42 points led Sioux Falls to a victory), he’s averaged 34.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2 blocks over his last four contests. Though not as aggressive inside as Boucher, Maten has quite an impressive perimeter game. For a 6’8″ forward, he has a terrific handle of the ball and can beat defenders off the dribble before creating space and fading away for jumpers. With awards up for grabs, Maten is on the prowl.
Troy Caupain, Orlando / Lakeland Magic: Caupain Is Leaving His Fingerprints All Over The Place
Whereas Boucher and Maten have gained prominence for their offensive explosions as of late, Caupain has come into clear focus thanks to his versatility. He’s flirted with a triple-double on more than one occasion this season, currently logging 18 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists over his last six contests. At 6’4″, this combo guard is learning what it means to be a leader. When he’s not looking for teammates in the post, Caupain is letting his own shots fly. When he plays off the ball, he crashes the boards. For him, staying active has been key.
SHINING AT THE NEXT LEVEL
Troy Williams, Sacramento / Stockton Kings: A High-Flyer With So Much More To Give
Williams first gained fanfare after becoming an NBA G League Slam Dunk Champion in 2017. But as a member of Sacramento’s rotation, Williams is proving there’s more to his game than the ability to awe the crowd. Yet to make his way to Stockton, Williams is averaging 7.2 points on 53% from the field, and has already tallied two double-digit outings this week. He’s using his athleticism to finish strong at the perimeter, keeping the opposing defense on its toes. For this youngster, serving as a reliable wing off the bench has helped keep him at the NBA level.
TWO-WAY PLAY OF THE WEEK
Theo Pinson and Alan Williams, Brooklyn Nets / Long Island Nets: Two-Way Connection As Pinson Tries His Hand at QB
Earlier this week, Theo Pinson and Alan Williams teamed up to give fans the true full-court experience. Usually known for his deep shooting range, this time Pinson hailed up a pass across the hardwood that found his fellow Two-Way Player for an easy bucket.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) December 4, 2018