Breaking down the 2021 NBA G League Draft

Breaking down the 2021 NBA G League Draft

The NBA G League held its annual draft ahead of a condensed 2021 bubble season that's scheduled to tip-off in early February. The first selection by the Greensboro Swarm -- the Charlotte Hornets' affiliiate -- was Admiral Schofield, who was the No. 42 pick of the 2019 NBA Draft.

Each round consisted of 19 available draft picks. However, because a G League roster can only have 10 designated G League players, only 22 players were selected. 

Round One:

1. Greensboro Swarm: Admiral Schofield

A 6-foot-5 shooting guard/small forward from the University of Tennessee, Schofield last played for the Washington Wizards and their affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, before being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and waived immediately.

2. Memphis Hustle (from Erie BayHawks): Freddie Gillespie

A 6-foot-9 power forward from Baylor University who went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft.

3. Canton Charge (from Rio Grande Valley Vipers): Antonio Blakeney

A 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Louisiana State University who signed a two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls after going undrafted in 2017. He is the 2018 NBA G League Rookie of the Year, and last played for the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association.

4. Iowa Wolves (from Windy City Bulls via Lakeland Magic): Allonzo Trier

A 6-foot-4 shooting guard from the University of Arizona, who spent two years with the New York and Westchester Knicks after going undrafted in 2018. Trier was waived by the Knicks on June 26, 2020.

5. Lakeland Magic (from Westchester Knicks): Tahjere McCall

A 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Tennessee State University. Undrafted in 2017, McCall has spent the last three seasons in the G League with the Long Island Nets and the College Park Skyhawks.

6. Canton Charge (from South Bay Lakers): Anthony Lamb

A 6-foot-6 small forward from the University of Vermont who went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft.

7. Oklahoma City Blue (from Iowa Wolves): No selection.

8. Lakeland Magic (from Long Island Nets): DJ Hogg

A 6-foot-9 small forward from Texas A&M University, who spent the last two seasons in the G League with the Delaware Blue Coats and Wisconsin Herd after going undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft.

9. Westchester Knicks (from Oklahoma City Blue via Canton Charge): Justin Patton

A 6-foot-11 center from Creighton University, Patton was taken No. 16 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Since then, he has spent time with Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma CIty Thunder and all of their G League affiliates. He spent the 2019-20 season with the Wisconsin Herd before signing a training camp deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.

10. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (from Agua Caliente Clippers via Oklahoma City Blue, Canton Charge, Santa Cruz Warriors): Armoni Brooks

A 6-foot-3 shooting guard from the University of Houston who spent his rookie season with the College Park Skyhawks after going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft.

11. Raptors 905: Kevon Harris

A 6-foot-6 shooting guard from Stephen F. Austin University who went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft.

12. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (from Delaware Blue Coats): Jarron Cumberland

A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from the University of Cincinnati who went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft.

13. Oklahoma City Blue (from Stockton Kings via Greensboro Swarm): Vincent Edwards

A 6-foot-8 small forward out of Purdue University who last played for the Oklahoma City Blue. Drafted by the Utah Jazz with the No. 52 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Edwards was immediately traded to the Houston Rockets and assigned to their G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers; he averaged nearly 10 points per game to bring the Vipers a G League championship in the 2018-19 season.

14. Austin Spurs: Jonathan Kasibabu

A 6-foot-8 small forward from Fairfield University who last played for the Long Island Nets.

15. Raptors 905 (from Lakeland Magic): Gary Payton II

A 6-foot-3 point guard from Oregon State University who has spent the last four seasons on two-way contracts throughout the NBA while trying to find stability with one team. He last played for the Washington Wizards.

16. Memphis Hustle: Anthony Cowan Jr. 

A 6-foot point guard from the University of Maryland who went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft.

17. Iowa Wolves (from Canton Charge via Oklahoma City Blue): Dakarai Tucker 

A 6-foot-5 shooting guard/small forward from the University of Utah. Tucker spent the 2018-19 season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers before heading overseas.

18. Salt Lake City Stars (could not make pick)

19. N/A

Round Two:

1. Delaware Blue Coats (from Rio Grande Valley Vipers): Jemmerio Jones

A 6-foot-5 small forward from New Mexico State University. Jones went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft before spending time with both the Los Angeles and South Bay Lakers. Jones was traded from the Lakers to the Washington Wizards in 2019 before spending the 2019-20 season with the Wisconsin Herd.

2. Fort Wayne Mad Ants (from Windy City Bulls): Oshae Brissett

A 6-foot-7 shooting guard/small forward from Syracuse University. Brissett signed a two-way contract with the Toronto Raptors after going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Raptors waived Brissett ahead of the 2020-21 season after signing a partially guaranteed contract.

3. Westchester Knicks (could not make pick)

4. Iowa Wolves (could not make pick)

5. Long Island Nets (could not make pick)

6. Agua Caliente Clippers (from Oklahoma City Blue; could not make pick)

7. Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Quincy McKnight

A 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Seton Hall University who went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft.

8. Agua Caliente Clippers (could not make pick)

9. Santa Cruz Warriors: Selom Mawugbe

A 6-foot-10 power forward from Azusa Pacific University who went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft.

10. Raptors 905 (could not make pick)

11. Memphis Hustle (from Capital City Go-Go via Agua Caliente Clippers; could not make pick)

12. Austin Spurs (from Delaware Blue Coats): No selection.

13. Erie BayHawks (via Sioux Falls Skyforce; could not make pick)

14. Greensboro Swarm (from Texas Legends; could not make pick)

15. Austin Spurs (from Stockton Kings): Kaleb Johnson

A 6-foot-6 shooting guard/small forward from Georgetown University whose most recent season was marred due to injuries. He is the younger brother of San Antonio Spurs shooting guard/small forward Keldon Johnson.

16. Santa Cruz Warriors (from Austin Spurs; could not make pick)

17. Memphis Hustle (could not make pick)

18. Oklahoma City Blue (from Canton Charge): Rob Edwards

A 6-foot-4 shooting guard from the University of Arizona who went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft.

19. Salt Lake City Stars (could not make pick)

Round Three:

1. Greensboro Swarm (could not make pick) 

2. Erie BayHawks (could not make pick) 

3. Westchester Knicks (could not make pick)

4. Delaware Blue Coats (from South Bay Lakers via Agua Caliente Clippers): Braxton Key

A 6-foot-8 forward from the University of Virginia who went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft. Key was the final pick of the G League Draft.

5. Iowa Wolves (could not make pick)

6. Long Island Nets (could not make pick)

7. Oklahoma City Blue (could not make pick)

8. Fort Wayne Mad Ants (could not make pick)

9. Canton Charge (from Santa Cruz Warriors; could not make pick)

10. Raptors 905 (could not make pick)

11. Delaware Blue Coats (could not make pick)

12. Lakeland Magic (could not make pick)

13. Memphis Hustle (could not make pick)

14. Canton Charge (could not make pick)

15. Raptors 905 (from Salt Lake City Stars; could not make pick)

16. N/A

17. N/A

18. N/A

19. N/A

TRANSACTIONS

G League Transactions are a lot harder to follow and to find, particularly when the season was abruptly cut short with no decided future. Below are the most notable transactions in the days leading up to the draft.

South Bay Lakers 

  • Acquire 2021-22 first-round pick from Santa Cruz Warriors in exchange for the returning rights to Dusty Hannahs.

Raptors 905

  • Acquired the returning rights to Ben Moore from Fort Wayne Mad Ants in exchange for the returning rights to Devin Robinson.
  • Traded the returning rights to Ben Moore to the Memphis Hustle in exchange for the returning rights to Matt Mooney.
  • Traded future second-round pick to the Lakeland Magic in exchange for the No. 15 pick in the 2021 G League Draft (Gary Payton II).

ROSTER CONSTRUCTION

In prior seasons, G League teams held open tryouts and training camps before trimming their rosters. Because of COVID regulations and the uncertainty surrounding the season, this was not possible this year. 

Each participating G League team is allowed a roster of 10 G League-specific players. These players will earn a base salary of $35,000. Players traded in the G League will earn the same salary, as will returning players, G League draft picks and designated veteran players. Any player in the G League is eligible to be called up by any team at any point during the season.

AFFILIATE PLAYERS

NBA teams are allowed to sign no more than four “affiliate players” who were with the team during training camp. These include training camp contracts and Exhibit-10 contracts, and can include a $50,000 signing bonus. 

RETURNING PLAYERS

In the G League, rights are held to players no matter the situation for two years. This means that players who have decided to return to the G League after spending time overseas will return to their previous team, barring trades. 

DESIGNATED VETERAN PLAYERS (THE JEREMY LIN RULE)

New this season, G League teams are allowed to circumvent the draft and sign players with more than five years of NBA experience. Rights to these players will not be held upon completion of the season.

TWO-WAY PLAYERS

Two-way players are eligible to spend 50 games with their NBA parent team and unlimited time with their G League team. Teams who have two-way players but are not participating in the bubble are allowed to assign their players to teams that are participating in the bubble. Two-way players do not count against the total roster and are not included on the 10-man G League roster.

ASSIGNMENT PLAYERS

Teams are still allowed to send players down to the G League, as long as those players have not played more than three NBA seasons. There are exceptions, including injury rehabilitation and exceeding the maximum number of dressed players on a bench. It’s likely that assignment players will be sent down for significant amounts of time if they are sent down at all, due to COVID regulations and quarantine protocol.

With the final rosters in the process of being constructed, the NBA G League is set to tip-off in early-mid February at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

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