What You Need to Know Heading Into The 2019 NBA G League Playoffs

By Keith Schlosser | March 25, 2019

When the NBA G League Playoffs tip off Tuesday, some of the league’s most talented players will look to translate their success into postseason glory. Even better, leading one’s team to the minor league promised land could very well mean a much brighter future at the next level.

Here’s a look at what’s at stake and which prospects are set to shine.

Explaining The Playoff Format

Playoffs for each conference will consist of three division winners and three wild card teams. Seeding will consist of overall record. The top two seeds in each conference earned a bye into the second round. As the top two seeds from the East and West, respectively, the Long Island Nets, Lakeland Magic, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and Santa Cruz Warriors are all awaiting each of their second round postseason opponent to be revealed.

The playoffs begin with three single-elimination rounds, with the first round starting on Tuesday, March 26 with two matchups: Drive vs. Raptors 905 (8 PM ET on ESPNU) and Stars vs. Blue (8 PM ET, Twitch). The postseason will conclude with a best-of-three NBA G League Finals, which will be played in a one-one-one format. For the full schedule, click here. 

Succeeding In the NBA G League Postseason Could Create Foreshadowing For the Next Level

Securing an NBA G League title surely means pride is on the line for the top contenders. What’s more, performing well during a period with such high stakes could also help top prospects win favor with NBA teams. This is their time to shine.

From Two-Way Players like Grizzlies / Hustle forward Yuta Watanabe and Raptors / Raptors 905 guard Jordan Loyd, to potential NBA assignees like Dzanan Musa, who appeared in 36 games for the Long Island Nets this season, and Deonte Burton, who played in 24 games for the Blue, there will be a lot of talent on display.

While such prospects may be receiving sporadic playing time up at the next level, the chance to take the reins and lead their club’s minor-league affiliate to memorable and meaningful victories could very well pay dividends toward earning them credibility for more opportunities. Before he truly exploded onto the scene this season as a bonafide Most Improved Player candidate in the NBA, Pascal Siakam first made his mark by averaging 18 points in seven postseason games and leading the Raptors 905 to the NBA G League title back in 2017. Stories like Siakam’s provide paths for current prospects to follow.

League-Leaders Ready To Hit The Floor

Many of the NBA G League’s leaders in major stat categories will be hitting the postseason hardwood over the next few weeks. While the second-leading rebounder Alan Williams (12.9 per game) and Long Island await their second-round opponent, the postseason will kick off as fifth-leading scorer Jordan Loyd (22.5 points per game) and the Raptors 905 take on the Drive, who feature the ninth and tenth leading scorers in Kalin Lucas (21.8) and Marcus Thornton (21.5), on Tuesday in the East.

Meanwhile, in the West, Abdul Gaddy (the league’s fourth-leading assist man with 7.2 per game) and the Blue will host the Stars, who feature the eighth-leading shot-blocker in Stephaun Branch (67 total). Other league-leaders ready to grace the floor include the Kings’ Marcus Williams and Bulls’ Walter Lemon Jr. (who rank first and second with 9.6 and 8.4 assists per game) and Magic Two-Way Player Amile Jefferson and Derek Cooke Jr. of the Raptors 905, who rank fourth and sixth in rebounds per game with 11.3 and 10, respectively.

After very successful campaigns in the stat categories, these talented young guns will now look to bring home some team-oriented hardware.

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