The NBA G League regular season won’t start for another month, but all 30 NBAGL teams are currently competing in the Showcase Cup, a round-robin tournament that culminates in a knockout tournament at the G League’s Winter Showcase. from December 19 to 22.
We’re only halfway through the 16-game Showcase Cup, with each NBAGL team having played between seven and 10 games so far, but a number of standout performers are making their mark.
Some of these top players, like Luka Garza Iowa wolves or jade hardy of the Texas Legends, are already under contract with NBA teams and are not free agents. But many head-turning G League players are free to sign with any NBA club at any time.
Below are five G League standouts who make strong arguments to consider for NBA call-ups at some point this season. This isn’t a complete list of the best NBAGL players – it’s a safe bet that many more will be considered by the NBA in the days, weeks or months to come, especially when the 10-day signing period will begin in January. But these five players are worth crediting for their early season play.
Let’s dive in…
Sharif CooperG, Cleveland Charge
A two-way player with the Hawks last season, Cooper accepted a two-way qualifying offer from Atlanta in July, but was waived soon after and spent training camp with the Cavaliers, becoming a player. affiliated with Cleveland.
In 10 games so far for the Charge, Cooper has been one of the most dynamic offensive players in the G League, putting up 25.3 points per game on .489/.433/.811 shooting while recording 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6. flies by night.
Cooper isn’t a consistent defender, but his offensive ability will intrigue NBA evaluators. He is the reigning G League Performer of the Week after posting consecutive 40-point games on November 15 and 17 and helped lead the Charge to a 6-4 record.
carlik jonesG, Windy City Bulls
Jones, 25 next month, got a brief glimpse of NBA action last winter as a 10-day struggling signee for the Mavericks and Nuggets, appearing in five games overall for both teams . After spending training camp with the Bulls, he’s back in the G League this season for the Windy City Bulls, whose 6-2 record puts them atop Central.
Jones was a big reason for Windy City’s early success, leading the team with 17.5 PPG and 8.1 APG. After struggling to consistently make his three-pointers in his first professional season in 2021/22, the former Louisville standout hits 41.9% of his treys so far this season and makes 1.6 per match.
Jay HuffF/C, South Bay Lakers
Huff started the 2021/22 season on a two-way contract with the Lakers and made brief appearances in four NBA games before being waived in January. The 24-year-old is still in the South Bay organization and has become one of the most formidable rim protectors in the G League – he has blocked 35 shots in his first eight games this season and comfortably leads the league with 4.4 BPG.
Huff’s impact went beyond his ability to block shots. He is also one of South Bay’s top scorers, averaging 17.9 PPG on 68.1% shooting; he leads the club with 8.9 RPG; and he even showed some ability to play, averaging 3.1 APG.
If Huff can increase his three-pointer rate by a few points (currently 29.4 percent), he will become an even more attractive target for NBA teams looking to develop a frontline prospect.
James AkinjoG, Westchester Knicks
Although Akinjo earned a spot on the All-Big 12 first team in his final college season in 2021/22, the Baylor guard struggled mightily with his shooting, making just 38.3% attempts from the field. and 29.5% beyond the arc. So it was heartening to see him increase those averages to 46.4% and 46.7% in his first seven G League games.
The Westchester Knicks are just 1-6 so far, but Akinjo has been a bright spot, registering 19.9 points per night and tying the G League lead with an impressive 11.1 assists per game.
Jontay PorterF/C, Wisconsin Herd
The younger brother of Michael Porter Jr., Jontay Porter is a former five-star recruit whose college career was derailed by a pair of ACL tears. He is only 23, however, and has been healthy in the first 10 games for the Herd.
Despite only playing 26.2 minutes per game and mostly coming off the bench, Porter filled in the scoring at Wisconsin, averaging 16.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.9 APG and 1.8 BPG while making 3.1 three-pointers per game at a rate of 46.3%. .
The Grizzlies took a flyer on Porter in the 2020/21 season and played him in 11 games – it may only be a matter of time before he gets another shot at NBA level .