Postponement is an all too familiar word during COVID. A reminder of the state of the world and the fluidity of our circumstances. It would make sense to see the pause in the G League season as another one of these reminders, but G League players have taken the unique opportunity to highlight a different ‘p’ word: potential.
With a staggering 95 NBA Call-Ups in December alone, the G League has demonstrated its full potential that many of us already knew was there.
As frustrating as all the rosters moves have been to NBA fans and front offices alike, these are the opportunities that G League players have been waiting for.
“I think the pause has been obviously not the best for that from a league standpoint, but from a player standpoint, the reason it’s being paused is because all our guys are called up. We’ve had five guys called up to various NBA teams, which is awesome opportunity for them” said Charge General Manager, Brendon Yu.
Yu added, “And, you know, to see guy like Tre Scott score first NBA points or Malik Newman get his first NBA bucket or Kyle Guy right now, balling in Miami, that’s what the G league is for. That’s what we’re here for.”
The story of Charge forward and Cavaliers call-up, Tre Scott, is one echoed throughout the league. Scott played with the Charge in Cleveland on December 17, flew to Las Vegas for the AT&T NBA G League Winter Showcase on December 18, received the call up from the Cavaliers on December 22 after clearing protocols, and was with the team in Boston that night for the game.
“I flew straight from Vegas to Boston and met the team and the coaches and everyone,” added Scott.
“I checked in for towards the end of the game and it was my first experience in the NBA. Ever. It was such a hype game at the garden with Joe Johnson coming back in his first game and all the energy in the gym.”
“The last 10 days that I was up there, it was one of the best times of my life. And again, my heart goes out to the Cavaliers organization for allowing me to have my first stint in the NBA. No matter how long it was or how much I played, I’m grateful for the opportunity. And it just kind of made me, you know, motivated to keep going.”
Multiple cities in just as many days is a standard tune for G League players.
This has always been the rhythm of the G League. Training camp begins about two weeks before the season starts, with rosters being finalized a couple of days before the first tip-off.
Throughout the season, players come and go through call ups and assignments, never leaving coaches 100% certain what their personnel will look before each game.
As the NBA, G League, and the world continue to navigate these next few weeks, we will continue to see G League players flying all over, filling the gaps in rosters and taking advantage of every opportunity given. Players must be ready at any moment for their chance.
Keeping the players ready that have remained in market is no easy task. Head Coach Dan Geriot and his staff have ways to keep guys ready for whatever may come, whether it’s through workouts in person or virtually.
“When we’re going through how to keep these guys in shape, for me, it’s more of the off-court conditioning,” comments Geriot.
“It’s hard to emulate five-on-five when you don’t have enough players, so our trainer Kevin Kamlowsky and strength and conditioning coach Juan Aquino, they kind of take the lead on it. And then what we do is our player development staff of Tyler Neil, Kendall Chones, Chris Darnell, Austin Peterson, they basically have to emulate on-court situations.”
“Then the other piece is that we use is a little bit of virtual reality. Austin Peterson takes them through, we work with a company that does virtual reality situations. We try and put them through situations, and we call it V reps. That’s what the company’s called cause they’re virtual repetitions for in-game scenarios. And the cool part is we customize it so that these are scenarios that our players have already been in.”
As we come out of the holidays and games resume, rosters across the G League and NBA will continue to stay fluid. The Charge return to action this Friday against the Capital City Go-Go and when asked about guys returning from their call-ups, Geriot chuckled and said, ‘I hope they never do.”