The NBA G-League officially held its draft for the 2021-22 season today. There were a variety of notable names that were expected to be in the pool of players to select from. For those that don't know, the G-League consists of 28 teams that are affiliated with NBA organizations. Two of the other teams, the G-League Ignite and the newly formed Mexico City Capitanes, sat out the draft.
The first pick of the G-League draft this year belonged to the Delaware Blue Coats, who are the Philadelphia 76ers affiliate. Delaware would go on to make Shamorie Ponds the first overall selection this year. Ponds went undrafted during the 2019 NBA Draft after an impressive collegiate career at St. Johns. During his three-year career in college, Ponds finished his junior year averaging 19.7 points per game while shooting 45.3% from the field. He spent the majority of his rookie season in the NBA G-League playing for the Raptors 905 and went on to average 14.4 points per game. Ponds has the potential to be a scoring asset out of the backcourt, but will need to show that he can become a more consistent threat from the outside.
The NBA G-League has continued to be one of the most valuable assets that NBA organizations can have at their disposal. It's become a crucial part of developing young talent. The popularity and skill level of the league has continued to blossom each and every year. Teams use the G-League as a tool to give some of their young talent an opportunity to gain some confidence and work on their craft. The harsh reality is that some young players simply aren't ready to earn consistent minutes on an NBA roster.
The G-League gives those players an opportunity to go down and get valuable playing time compared to just sitting on the bench night after night. Each year, the NBA continues to see a rise of players on active rosters who have some prior experience in the G-League. It's no surprise, as it gives organizations an opportunity to get an extended look at players that could potentially help their team down the road.
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A couple of other notable names were selected during the G-League draft as well. Zaire Wade went on to be selected 10th overall by the Salt Lake City Stars, who are an affiliate of the Utah Jazz. NBA veterans such as Lance Stephenson and Brandon Knight have put their names into the G-League draft pool as they both look to prove that they can still provide some value for a potential NBA roster spot. Stephenson went on to be selected 13th overall by Grand Rapids Gold. Brandon Knight was selected sixth overall by the Sioux Falls Skyforce. One of the most popular names in the discussion as of late was LiAngelo Ball, who was eventually selected 14th overall by the Greensboro Swarm, as expected.