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During the week before Christmas, the NBA world descended upon Orlando. This time it was a more-welcomed trip, as opposed to arriving in the summer of 2020 to complete the season in the Walt Disney World bubble.

The NBA showed up in Orlando this time for the 2023 G League Showcase. The Westchester Knicks took home the Showcase Cup, but the main reason for the event was for NBA front office to mingle together. It’s considered the cousin to Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings, as a space where NBA trade talks take off in full. It’s not clear if being together at the Showcase sparked the New Year’s weekend trade between the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors, but it’s highly likely trade talks did take place in Orlando.

The other purpose of the event is for G League players to show out for NBA front office personnel. Many rostered players have stood out during the first part of the G League season. This includes players on standard contracts and players signed to two-way deals. But it’s the other guys, the free agents, who need the Showcase to earn an NBA callup.

These callups could occur via a 10-day contract. Teams are allowed to sign players to 10-day deals starting on January 5. The other option is further shuffling of two-way contracts.

As it stands, as of this writing, nine teams have an open standard roster spot:

In addition, the New York Knicks have an open Two-way spot. Other roster spots will open up as teams make trades (the trade deadline is February 8) or if teams waive players (the last day to waive players before contracts guarantee is January 7).

The following players have stood out, both in the early part of the G League season and at the Showcase event in Orlando. A handful were also players mentioned regularly by NBA scouts and front office executives as players who might garner a callup from the G League.

(Note: This list is presented in no particular order. It is not a ranking of any kind!)

All stats as of January 1, 2024 and provided by RealGM’s G League Database


Mac McClung – Osceola Magic, PG, 6’2’’, 25 years old

McClung has dominated as a scorer on the G League level. His quickness stands out, as minor league defenders have trouble staying in front of McClung. His efficiency is down a bit from deep, but McClung is taking 8.8 three-pointers per game and still hitting 37% of them. He’s also averaging 6.1 assists per game. If he were a bit bigger, McClung would be on an NBA roster already. As it stands, he should be very high on the list of guys teams look at who need a ballhandler/playmaker at the lead guard spot.

Jason Preston – Memphis Hustle, PG, 6’3’’, 24 years old

Preston is probably too good for the minors, sort of the equivalent to an MLB 4 A player. He may be the best pure playmaker in the league. He’s averaging 8.9 assists per game and consistently generates good looks for his teammates. The thing that holds Preston back is that he’s hitting just 27% from behind the arc. He’s still an interesting guy if a team needs an additional guard in the second half of the season.

Scotty Pippen Jr. – South Bay Lakers, PG, 6’1’’, 23 years old

Pippen has been one of the best scorers in the G League this season. He’s averaging 21 points per game on 51/39/84 shooting splits. He’s also snagging a couple of steals per game, and handing out six assists a night. Pippen can get a little wild with the ball, as his 3.6 turnovers per game will attest to. And his size works against him some. But Pippen is worth a look for a team that needs some juice in the backcourt.

Jalen Crutcher – Birmingham Squadron, PG, 6’1’’, 24 years old

Crutcher is a third-year G League player. His experience shows, as he’s done a nice job as a scorer and playmaker. Crutcher is averaging 19.7 points, 5.1 assists and 1.1 steals. What’s really exciting is that Crutcher has shot 42.7% on 8.7 three-point attempts per game. That’s a third consecutive year over 40% from deep on increasing volume each season. If he was only a bit bigger, Crutcher would be on an NBA roster already.

Javonte Smart – Delaware Blue Coats, PG/SG, 6’4’’, 24 years old

Smart has been stuffing the stat sheet in the G League. He was recently waived from his two-way contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, but that seemed more about the Sixers getting Kenneth Lofton Jr. than anything to do with Smart’s play. The third-year player has averaged 21.1 points, 5.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds. Smart has also put up 48/43/95 shooting splits, on an impressive 8.1 three-point attempts per game. That’s NBA-level stuff.

Brandon Goodwin – Westchester Knicks, PG, 6’0’’, 28 years old

Goodwin has four years of NBA experience, so he’s leading off the veteran section here. As Westchester rolled to the Showcase Cup championship, Goodwin led the way. He’s averaged 19.1 points and 8.6 assists this season. Even more impressive? Goodwin is grabbing 5.3 rebounds per game, despite being just 6-feet tall. But it’s that lack of size on the defensive end, plus a lack of a consistent shot, that has Goodwin on the fringes of the NBA. He’s also out of two-way eligibility. But Goodwin can help a team immediately on a 10-day. Perhaps more than most on this list.

Shaquille Harrison – South Bay Lakers, PG/SG, 6’4’’, 30 years old

Harrison has already logged some NBA time on a hardship callup with the Memphis Grizzlies this season. Teams keep calling Harrison, because he’s an NBA-level guy. He knows his role is to defend and keep the ball moving. If Harrison shot it a little better, he’d be signed to a standard contract. As it is, he’s probably the most “plug-and-play” option on this list for a callup.

Elfrid Payton – Indiana Mad Ants, PG, 6’3’’, 29 years old

Payton is one of the more recognizable names on this list, as a former lottery pick. The same issue remains for Payton as always: He’s not a consistent shooter. But he’s a proven NBA-level playmaker and he can hold up defensively against most point guards. Payton has averaged 10.6 points, 8.6 assists and 1.8 steals in the G League this season. If a team needs an experienced ballhandler, Payton could handle some NBA action immediately.


Ethan Thompson – Mexico City Capitanes, SG/SF, 6’5’’, 24 years old

Thompson has been one of the G League’s best scorers this season. He’s averaging 23.1 points on 45% shooting. Thompson has also hit 39% of his 7.2 three-point attempts per game. It looks like Thompson has been a more active and competitive defender than during his first couple of professional seasons too. And he’s getting on the glass more, with 5.6 rebounds per game. Thompson could be a candidate for a two-way deal, for a team looking for some organizational wing depth.

Quenton Jackson – Windy City Bulls, SG/SF, 6’5’’, 25 years old

Jackson saw some limited NBA run with the Washington Wizards last season. He’s parlayed that into a strong start in the G League this season. Jackson has averaged 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He’s a very competitive defender. Unfortunately, Jackson is hitting only 24% from behind the arc. If he were a more consistent shooter, Jackson would already be on an NBA roster.

Matthew Hurt – Memphis Hustle, SF/PF, 6’9’’, 23 years old

Hurt showed signs in his G League run a year ago, but has really broken out this season. He’s got good size for a wing, and he’s strong enough to guard up at the four. Hurt has been an improved finisher this season, as he’s averaging 13.2 points on 54% shooting. He’s also hit 39% of his 4.9 three-point attempts per game. The best thing? Hurt is one of the better help defenders in the G League, as he’s averaged 2.3 blocks per game.

Adonis Arms – Memphis Hustle, SF/SG, 6’6’’, 25 years old

As his name might suggest, Arms is a strong defender. He’s been one of the best defensive wings in the G League this season. He’s also flashed an improved shot, as he’s at 40% from behind the arc on 3.9 attempts per game. In addition, Arms is a stronger rebounder for a wing at 5.3 boards per game. He’s another candidate for a potential two-way contract for a team that needs a defensive-minded wing.

Maozinha Periera – Mexico City Capitanes, SF, 6’8’’, 23 years old

Periera is an under-the-radar guy, but he flashes when you catch Mexico City play. He’s a bouncy athlete who can really finish around the basket. He’s also an active rebounder at 10.3 boards per game. Most of his defense seems to be on instinct, but those instincts are good ones. Pereira averages 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. He’s someone NBA teams should be looking to snag as a two-way project.

Darius Bazley – Delaware Blue Coats, SF/PF, 6’9’’, 23 years old

Bazley hasn’t been in the G League very long, but he’s already made a major impact. He’s averaging 21.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 3.0 blocks per game for Delaware. It’s clear that Bazley’s athleticism is NBA-level. He’s too quick and too strong for most G League players to defend. The challenge is that Bazley is still a shaky shooter, as witnessed by 27.6% on 6.4 three-pointers per game. If that improves, Bazley could be a late-bloomer (third draft?) callup for an NBA team.

Jaylen Nowell – Stockton Kings, SG, 6’4’’, 24 years old

Nowell is an NBA veteran. He’s also already played in the NBA this season, as he joined the Memphis Grizzlies on a hardship callup. Because of that, Nowell has played only five games in the G League. Those games have been enough to show he should be in the NBA. Nowell has scored with relative ease in the minors. The only thing holding him back remains an inconsistent jumper. Nowell fell from 39% from deep two seasons ago to 29% last season. And he hasn’t hit threes in the G League or NBA this year. If that corrects, Nowell will be back on an NBA roster for good.


Trey Jemison – Birmingham Squadron, PF, 6’10’’, 24 years old

Jemison has the look of an NBA player. He’s big, quick, athletic and fairly smooth. He’s also a smart player who plays to his strengths and stays close to the basket. The scoring stats won’t jump out at you, but the G League is a guard’s league. Jemison is a solid enough finisher. Where he really shines is on defense. Jemison has grabbed 11.2 rebounds and blocked 1.8 shots per game. If a team needs an emergency big, Jemison should get a call. He’d be a sneaky addition a two-way project too.

Ruan Miranda – Mexico City Capitanes, PF/C, 6’9’’, 22 years old

Miranda is a capital “P” project, but he might be worth it. He’s extremely raw, but Miranda has the athletic tools. In just 15.5 minutes per game, he’s grabbing 4.8 rebounds and has been a terror on the offensive glass. The jumper is non-existent, but Miranda’s free throw form is alright. A big challenge will be teaching him how to use his athleticism without fouling. If a team has room for a two-way project, Miranda might be worth it.

Mouhamadou Gueye – Raptors 905, PF, 6’9’’, 25 years old

Gueye is a little older than some others on this list and his game is pretty old-school too. But he’s a player. This season, Gueye has flashed improved finishing around the basket. He’s up to 61% from the floor, which has led to 15.4 points per game. He’s also grabbing 7.4 rebounds. But what’s really stood out is Gueye is a natural shot blocker. The big man is at an impressive 2.9 rejections per game. He’s both good in straight-up defense and coming over from the weakside. Gueye might be ready to step in and help an NBA team with his energy and shot-blocking ability right away.

Chris Silva – College Park Skyhawks, PF, 6’8’’, 27 years old

Silva has been around the fringes of the NBA for years now. He’s undersized and a bit ground-bound to play on the interior in the NBA, and Silva can’t really step out and shoot it. But he’s incredibly strong and a solid screener, in a league where that’s a lost art. Silva is averaging 17.4 points on 61% shooting. He’s also grabbing 9.2 rebounds per game and handing out three assists. If an NBA team needs someone to come in and play a few frontcourt minutes per night on a 10-day deal, Silva is more than ready.

Jordan Bell – Indiana Mad Ants, PF, 6’7’’, 29 years old

The prospect shine is long-since gone from Bell, but he’s a better player now than during his NBA time. Bell has vacillated between starting and coming off the bench for the Mad Ants. In either role, he’s brought great energy to the floor. Bell is averaging only 11.1 points, but he’s mostly focused on defending, screening and moving the ball. Bell has pulled down 7.9 rebounds, blocked 2.6 shots and dished out 3.6 assists per game. He’s not two-way eligible, but Bell could help a team on a 10-day callup.

Non-G League Veterans to Watch

DeMarcus Cousins – Taiwan Beer Leopards, C, 6’11’’, 33 years old

Cousins signed on to play in Taiwan for a series of games. Following his initial contract, the team and Cousins will decide if he’ll sign a longer deal or not. If all goes well, Cousins could find his way back to the NBA. Last summer, in 19 games in Puerto Rico, Cousins averaged 19 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.4 blocks in 24.9 minutes per game. He still wants to play and could potentially help an NBA team as a backup center. The way back will come through proving he belongs in the league via a 10-day contract or two.

Austin Rivers – Free Agent, SG, 6’4’’, 31 years old

Rivers was good enough to appear in 52 games last season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He averaged 4.9 points and hit 35% of his three-pointers for the Wolves, but Rivers rarely played after the trade deadline. He recently worked out for teams in Orlando and many came away feeling he looked good physically. Keep an eye on Rivers getting a 10-day deal or two to prove he deserves another NBA contract.

John Wall – Free Agent, PG, 6’3’’, 33 years old

Wall was traded from the LA Clippers at least season’s trade deadline, and subsequently waived. About a month prior to that, Wall had lost his rotation spot for the Clippers. He also worked out for NBA teams in Orlando. Some were surprised at how quick Wall looked, with a handful remarking he looked physically good enough to play in the NBA. Like Cousins and Rivers, Wall’s path to the league is via taking a 10-day deal or two and proving he can still contribute.