The NBA sources out most of its talent via the NBA Draft. But not all players are drafted and not all drafted players are assured of playing at the highest level. Players who don’t make it to the NBA either end up playing overseas or in the G League.
The G League is the NBA’s minor league which serves as a developmental league for potential NBA players. While most of the players who are successful in the NBA came directly from the NBA Draft, some used the G League as their springboard.
When it comes to G League alumni who made it big in the NBA, the list starts with the likes of Hassan Whiteside, Danny Green, Quinn Cook, and J.J. Barea. These players began their careers in the G League but are now very successful in the NBA.
Here are the best players in the G League 2020 who are ready to play in the NBA:
1. B.J. Johnson
B.J. Johnson was undrafted in 2018 but was able to play a total of seven regular-season games during the 2019 NBA season for the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings. After he was waived by Sacramento, he signed a two-way contract with the Orlando Magic and played for their G League affiliate Lakeside Magic.
Johnson averaged 22.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.1 steals per game in 28 games played. The 6-7 guard finished fourth in the G League in scoring while shooting a very high 42.3% from behind the three-point area.
2. Marial Shayok
Marial Shayok was the 2019 Big 12 Tournament MVP and a 2019 First Team All-Big 12 selection who was drafted 54th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2019 NBA draft. He signed a two-way deal with the team and ended up playing for the Delaware Blue Coats.
He had a sensational rookie season in the G League after putting up 23 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game in 35 games played. Shayok shot 45.4% from the floor and ranked second in the league in total points scored. One of the best scorers in the G League, Shayok looks ready to leap to the NBA.
3. Jonathan Motley
Jonathan Motley played three seasons at Baylor where he was was the recipient of the 2017 Karl Malone Award as the top power forward in college basketball and was a consensus 2nd team All-American in 2017. After he was undrafted, he became the first two-way player in the history of the Dallas Mavericks. He was traded to the Clippers in 2018 and played in 22 games but has since been assigned to the Agua Caliente Clippers of the G League.
Motley was named to the All G League Second Team in 2018. This season, he averaged 24 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game for the AC Clippers. He had a torrid February run where he put up at least 30 points in five consecutive ball games.
4. Kyle Guy
Kyle Guy was a decorated collegiate player. He was the ACC Tournament MVP in 2018 and was a two-time Second Team All-American at Virginia. In 2019, he was the Final Four MVP after helping the Cavaliers win the 2019 NCAA title. After three seasons, he applied for the NBA and was picked by the New York Knicks with the 55th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft.
He was traded to the Kings and he signed a two-way deal with Sacramento. Guy was an excellent outside shooter for the Stockton Kings as he averaged 21.5 points and 4.8 assists while shooting 40% from the three-point area. He ranked third in the G League in three-point baskets made this season.
5. Frank Mason
We’ve seen Frank Mason play in the NBA before but the 34th pick of the 2017 NBA draft has been in the G-League after signing a two-way contract with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2019. Mason was the consensus National Player of the Year in 2017 and the MVP of the World University Games in 2015.
This season, Mason led the G League in scoring with an average of 26.4 points per game while playing 23 games for the Wisconsin Herd. He put up at least 30 points in five out of his last six games and scored his G-League high of 44 points against the Grand Rapids Drive last February 19, 2020.
6. Josh Gray
Josh Gray was Ben Simmons’ teammate at LSU but unlike Simmons who was picked first overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, Gray went undrafted. He signed with the North Arizona Suns in the G League and had a ten-day stint in the NBA with the Suns in 2018. He left the country to play for the Changwon LG Sakers in the Korean Basketball League. He returned to sign a two-way deal with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019.
Gray was the best scorer in the G League this season as he outscored Marial Shayok 831 to 805 total points to win the Scoring title. He averaged 22.5 points in 37 games played this season and was one of only three players who had at least two 40-point games in 2020.
7. Jaylen Adams
Jaylen Adams was the co-winner of the 2018 Atlantic 10 Conference of the Year award. He went undrafted in 2018 after playing four seasons at St. Bonaventure. He was signed by the Atlanta Hawks to a two-way contract and he ended up playing in a total of 34 games for the Hawks in 2019. Adams signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Milwaukee Bucks in August 2019 and he currently plays for the Wisconsin Herd.
He was the G League Player of January 202 after recording six 20-point games during the month. He helped the Wisconsin Herd to the top of the G League standings and averaged 21.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.8 steals per game.
8. Isaiah Canaan
Isaiah Canaan was a two-time OVC Player of the Year winner and a consensus Second Team All-American in 2012. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 34th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. Canaan has played a total of 235 NBA games from 2014-2019 but since re-signing with the Sacramento Kings, Canaan has been assigned to the Stockton Kings.
Canaan averaged 21.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He shot 41.5% from behind the three-point area and made 3.7 three-pointers per game in a total of 17 games played for tor the Kings. With his shooting and playmaking skills, Canaan is ready to return to the big league.
9. Josh Magette
Josh Magette was undrafted in 2012 and he played in the Netherlands after an unsuccessful NBA bid. He returned for a stint with the Lakers’ D League affiliate in 2013 but ended up returning to Europe and playing in Greece. He bounced back and forth until signing a two-way deal with the Orlando Magic in 2019. Magette was assigned to the Lakeland Magic of the G League.
He played in a total of 21 games for Lakeland and averaged 21.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 10.6 assists per game. He finished 13th in the G League in scoring and finished as the league’s assist leader for the second time in his G League career. He was named as Midseason All-NBA G League for the Eastern Conference.
10. Caleb Martin
Caleb Martin was the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year in 2018 but he was undrafted in the 2019 NBA draft. He signed a two-way deal with the Charlotte Hornets in 2019 and was assigned to Charlotte’s G League affiliate Greensboro Swarm.
Martin played in a total of 28 games during the 2019-20 G League season and averaged 21.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He was called up by the Hornets in March and scored a career-high 23 points last March 9th. No question, Caleb Martin has proved that he is ready for the next level and his time at the G League helped him prepare for it.
11. Dusty Hannahs – Hannahs finished 9th in the G League in scoring and averaged 21.4 points per game for the Memphis Hustle.
12. Jaylen Nowell – Nowell averaged 21.6 points per game and shot 43.6% from deep in 26 G League games this before he was called up by the Minnesota Timberwolves in March.
13. Tremont Waters – As one of the top guards in the G League, Waters ranked 6th in the G League in passing and was a strong performer for the Maine Red Claws.
14. Henry Ellenson – Ellenson was the 16th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He averaged 21.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3 assists per game in 27 games played for the Long Island Nets and Raptors 905.
15. Josh Jackson – Jackson played 26 games during the 2019-20 G League Season and he averaged 20.3 points per game for the Memphis Hustle. Jackson is the former 4th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns.