Over the years, many young hoopers have joined the developmental league instead of going to college due to various reasons. Many of these players cannot afford to pay university fees as well.
There are several advantages to choosing the G League over college. It gives the teenagers media training, a steady income and access to NBA games. They play against NBA-level talent instead of college players and can pursue endorsement opportunities that they may not be able to in college.
Several alumni of the developmental league have become high-level NBA players. This includes two-way contract players and those sent down to the G League to improve their gameplay.
Not many athletes get the coveted phone call to the major leagues, so the following five players really put in the hard yards:
#5 Seth Curry
While there are former champions and many high-level role players who have been a part of the G League, Seth Curry deserves a special mention.
Many of those role players played just a handful of games in the developmental league, while Curry spent years in the league. The G League was all he knew during the initial stages of his career and he wasn't ever sure if he would get the opportunity to play for an NBA team.
His older brother Steph Curry, a two-time NBA MVP and four-time champion, has consistently lauded him for his determination and talked about his tough journey.
Seth Curry recently told Basketball Forever:
"It was really tough. When you’re undrafted, it’s hard to get that opportunity. I kept working at it, kept grinding. It was a rocky journey at first but I wouldn’t change it for anything."
Seth Curry played 38 games for the Santa Cruz Warriors, the G League affiliate of the Golden State Warriors, in the 2013-14 season. He averaged 19.7 points, 5.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game on 43/37/85 shooting splits.
Curry then played 43 games for the Erie BayHawks in the 2014-15 season (now known as the Birmingham Squadron), the G League affiliate of the New Orleans Pelicans. He took his game up a notch and averaged 23.8 points per game on incredible 48/46/92 shooting splits.
He is now one of the premier sharpshooters in the NBA and has been a starter on three different title-contending teams so far. Curry is currently with the Brooklyn Nets alongside Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and other stars.
#4 Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam is one of the best success stories to come out of the G League.
He was drafted 27th overall in the 2016 NBA draft and the Toronto Raptors assigned him to their G League affiliate, Raptors 905. He played five games for the 905, averaging 18.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game on 54/50/65 shooting splits.
Siakam then averaged 18.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game in seven G League playoff games. He led the Raptors 905 to the championship, while earning the Finals MVP award.
Siakam won the NBA Most Improved Player award in 2019 and was a crucial piece of the Toronto Raptors' title team. He was named an All-Star in 2020 and has two All-NBA Team selections so far.
Siakam is now one of the core pieces on the Raptors' roster and the franchise is building around the 28-year-old.
#3 Khris Middleton
The Detroit Pistons selected Khris Middleton as the 39th overall pick in 2012 and then assigned him to the G League shortly thereafter.
He played just three games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the G League affiliate of the Indiana Pacers. Middleton averaged 11.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game on subpar 34/14/0 shooting splits.
However, he was recalled to the major leagues a week later and traded to the Milwaukee Bucks a few months later.
In 2019, Khris Middleton became the first G League alumni to be named an NBA All-Star. He is now a three-time All-Star and one of the biggest pieces of the Milwaukee Bucks. Middleton's clutch shooting and stellar defense played a massive role in the Bucks winning the 2020-21 NBA championship.
#2 Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert was picked late in the draft and then sent to the NBA G League to improve his skills and get playing time.
He was selected as the 27th overall pick by the Denver Nuggets in the 2013 NBA draft and then immediately traded to the Utah Jazz. The Jazz, in turn, sent him to the G League.
Gobert played eight games for the Bakersfield Jam (now known as the Motor City Cruise), the G League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, in the 2013-14 season. He averaged 13.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game for the Jam on 74% shooting from the field.
Gobert is now a superstar in the NBA with three Defensive Player of the Year awards and three All-Star selections. He has six All-Defensive selections, four All-NBA selections and is a one-time rebounding and blocks leader.
Gobert is the 12th-highest paid player in the league with a salary of $38.1 million for the 2022-23 season. The Minnesota Timberwolves gave up a fortune to acquire him this offseason.
#1 Danny Green
Arguably the most accomplished G League alum, Danny Green is the poster boy for the developmental league.
He played four years in college with North Carolina and was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the 46th overall pick in 2009. Green was then sent to the G League to play for the Erie BayHawks. He played two games for them, averaging 25.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game on 41/50/76 shooting splits.
Green then played 16 games for the Reno Bighorns (now known as the Stockton Kings), the G League affiliate of the Sacramento Kings in the 2010-11 season. He averaged 20.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game on 45/43/79 shooting splits.
He also played one game for the Austin Toros, a Spurs affiliate, and dropped 19 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Green is now a three-time NBA champion and only the fourth player in league history to win titles with three different teams. He was a starter on all the championship teams he has been on and is also an All-Defensive team member. Green is one of the best sharpshooters in the game as well.