Gregory Payan / Associated Press
There are many paths to the NBA after school, and top rookie Jalen Green is trying a new one. He will be the first major hope in the NBA to bypass university or foreign leagues for the G League, an unprecedented move that has sparked debates over scouting, player development, the stock project and the financial implications.
Green is considered a potential top three pick in the 2021 draft. We interviewed a panel of NBA staff and G League coaches to see what this decision means for Green.
- “I love it from an evaluation point of view,” an NBA scout told Bleacher Report. “I think he will be solid in the G League. I guess the percentage of three points will not be great, probably a high turnover rate, but obviously it will be very good in transition. It will really show where he is as a playmaker, defender and IQ guy. ”
- “I don’t know,” said another NBA recruiter. “I always believed that college was the best place for these guys to improve, but maybe I’m old-school. It’s hard to say how he’s going to do in the G League. We’ve never seen anyone of Green’s caliber go this route. I’m sure he’ll do well. But what makes a team release him completely or put him in the spotlight? Ticket sales, of course. What else? ”
- “Personally, as a G League coach, I would love to have one of these kids for a year to work with him and help him improve and prepare to become an NBA player,” said said longtime G League coach Bob MacKinnon Jr. “As a G League coach, I never worried about the length of a guy with me. We have always focused on player development and improvement every day. It’s a transitional league, and you want the guys to progress as quickly as possible. »Possible. “
- “Regarding coaching, I think the discussions between the player, the agent and the organization should be transparent and honest from the start, so everyone is on the same wavelength with development and minutes, “said Chris Taylor, deputy general manager of Fort Wayne Mad Ants. “I’m sure there will be increasing pain for the first player to jump, but I think it can be very beneficial for the young players, who are entirely dependent on the team and the situation. It’s exciting to think about the possibility of a talented young adult [like Green] do this step. ”
- “I think with all the uncertainty in college athletics and all the improvements in the G League, this is now more than ever a reasonable alternative for kids who will be anyway,” said MacKinnon.
Gregory Payan / Associated Press
How it will work
According to Evan Daniels of 247Sports, Ligue G may be willing to offer more than the one-year starting salary of $ 125,000 that its program originally used to attract the best high school seniors.
While the new offer would make the G League more attractive to Green, an explosive goalkeeper who turns 19 next February, is how he will behave in a league loaded with former NBA pros and recent draft picks.
Could weaker statistics or ineffectiveness (compared to the NCAA outlook) affect his stock plan and his first NBA contract? In the long run, is there more to lose than to win a season in the G League by playing with these former pros and final draft picks who are fighting for their careers?
Green also chooses to refuse the overseas route that has grown in popularity. Last season, high-level prospects LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton chose the Australian NBL, an attractive route for American prospects because there are no language barriers and the league adopted unique perspectives by creating the initiative Next Stars for youth with immediate NBA aspirations.
Before the NBL’s first game for Ball and Hampton, we expected the two to make the top 10 in 2020, and nothing has changed in their post-season draft stocks.
But Green does not follow Ball and Hampton in Australia. He could set his own trend in the United States during the global coronavirus pandemic, which could also influence the attractiveness of the G League for his overseas departure.
Meanwhile, the possibility that games could be played without fans could make the college less attractive to prospects who were excited to open an arena full of classmates.
The level of competition in League G will be more rigid than that of the NCAA. It is more difficult to compare it to a league like the NBL. The first scout described the NBL as “more robust and physical, even if it changes” and the G League being “more open to freelancing”.
Although there has not been a high school player who went straight to League G (without first declaring the draft), we have seen players at similar ages succeed.
The Los Angeles Lakers second-round pick of 2019, Talen Horton-Tucker, averaged 18.1 points and 3.9 assists at 19. Jalen Lecque, who was eligible for the 2019 draft after leaving college because he was a fifth-year high school student, averaged 13.4 points and 3.4 assists for the Northern Arizona Suns.
Horton-Tucker was the No. 46 choice and Lecque was not drafted.
Green, however, is currently the # 2 choice on our 2021 chart. At 6’5 “, he has elite athletics to attack and finish, and he has made encouraging progress with his creation, play and his long distance shooting.
The perception among scouts, coaches and managers is that Green will be fine. However, not all high school students are as special as the star wing of Prolific Prep.
Will League G be a viable option for all high school graduates? Probably not for those looking to maximize their draft stock.
But the G League has still done a good job in strengthening its reputation, and between the new financial incentives announced, the implications of the coronavirus and the arrival of Green, the prospects for the future could quickly become more open to the choice of development system of the NBA rather than university or international leagues.
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