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With the recent news of top high school basketball recruits Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd choosing to bypass college, fans have begun to discuss how the G League will be instrumental to the NBA’s future as well as its on impact college basketball. But what fans don’t know is how the G League is already playing a huge factor in the NBA’s success.

The G League had been primarily used for players who were not drafted or young players that needed to develop and adjust to the NBA climate (hence the former name the Development League/D League). Compared to other professional leagues such as the MLB and NHL, the G League was underutilized. Very few of those players saw success in the NBA with the exception of Shaun Livingston and Rafer Alston. In the early portion of the decade, few NBA teams saw the potential this minor league had to offer.

Two players who swayed entire front offices to begin to use the minor league more were San Antonio Spurs Shooting Guard Danny Green and New York Knicks Point Guard Jeremy Lin. Green was a starter on a legit contender in the league and helped bring the Spurs two championships. Meanwhile, Jeremy Lin came out of nowhere and had the whole league watching him after dropping 38 points on Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers during the “Linsanity” era.

Soon after, many teams began to utilize the G League as a true developmental league for their young players, setting up the minor league’s huge accomplishments this past season.

Entering the 2019-2020 NBA season, 272 out of the 525 (52%) NBA players are G League alumni. Many teams featured G League veterans on their current roster. Last year in the NBA finals, there was a record of 16 G League alums. At the end of this current season, three G League alums have been named NBA All-Stars which are Pascal Siakam, Kris Middleton, and Rudy Gobert.

Other notable players who have played in the G League are:

  • Hassan Whiteside
  • Eric Bledsoe
  • Clint Capela
  • Spencer Dinwiddie
  • Montrezl Harrell
  • Devontae Graham
  • Patrick Beverly
  • Dejounte Murray
  • Fred Vanvleet
  • Josh Richardson
  • Robert Covington
  • Terry Rozier
  • Derrick Jones Jr
  • Derrick White
  • Seth Curry
  • J.J. Barea
  • Chris Boucher
  • Terence Davis Jr

As you can see, these are 22 key players on NBA teams with some elevating to All-Star status.

Now, with more high school stars electing to join the G League in the future, more of these undiscovered talents will emerge and the league will continue to develop players at a high level.


Photo: SportsNet