The NBA G League has begun fan voting for the Next Up Game, where the best young players compete in an all-star-type fashion. The G League boasts some of the best young professional basketball talents, with some having the ability to potentially thrive in the NBA.
With some of these players with NBA hopes, the Next Up game is a great way to show who has the best talent. The fans get to decide who has that talent, and the roster looks incredible.
The top guards in the fan vote go as follows:
- Sharife Cooper, Cleveland Charge
- Didi Louzada, Cleveland Charge
- Scotty Pippen Jr., South Bay Lakers
Sharife Cooper is 5th in the fan vote, and rightfully so. He leads all of the guards in fan votes with his flashy play and elite scoring ability. He upped his stats by almost 10 points per game, hitting a mark of 27 with 6 assists and 4 rebounds. One of the best slashers in the game, he makes his opportunities on all parts of the floor. His three-point percentage is below average, but he makes up for it with aggressiveness.
Didi Louzada is not the guy who puts up incredible G League stats, but he made waves in the NBA for playing fairly well over a seven-game stretch. Not finding much playing time in the G League and going on to average almost 20 minutes with good shooting splits in his NBA stretch shows he has incredible potential to build off of.
Scotty Pippen Jr. is quite possibly the most efficient guard at the highest volume. He is of shorter stature at 6’1”, but he makes do with his shooting finesse. He averages over 50% from the field and 40% from three, just one category away from the 50/40/90 club.
The Forwards and Centers
The best forwards are as shown:
- Kenneth Lofton Jr., Memphis Hustle
- Gui Santos, Santa Cruz Warriors
- Isaiah Mobley, Cleveland Charge
- Mamadi Diakite, Cleveland Charge
Kenneth Lofton Jr. ranks second in the fan vote, and there is no reason he shouldn’t be. He was a fan favorite coming out of college, and some wanted him to be a premium draft pick after the combine. However, he made his case in the G League, averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds. He has the strength and finesse for the big leagues, and it’s only a matter of time.
Gui Santos is a great scorer who does well in getting the ball in the basket when needed. His layup package is great, and his 15 points per game and 6.6 rebounds a game show it. What makes him best is the fact that he has not missed a free throw all year. He is a mid-range merchant and excels from three, making the most of the opportunities.
Isaiah Mobley is one of the best three-level scorers in his position. He averages a 23.6-point double-double and still finds a way to earn 4.6 assists. He is an incredible player, quite possibly one of the best in the small league. He is almost guaranteed to make a push for the NBA, and this is a great way to show his talents.
Mamadi Diakite has not been exposed to much, but this may just be a fault of the fan vote. However, his talent is truly obvious. He has played a single G League game but his stats were amazing. 29 points and 9 rebounds were one of the better performances of the year, and he has managed to put up serviceable stats in the NBA. Clearly, the fans have been exposed enough and know he deserves a genuine shot at the NBA.
The hybrid Forwards/Centers are listed as:
- Charles Bassey, Austin Spurs
- Reggie Perry, Raptors 905
Bassey is a great stretch 5 that can play minutes at the 4. His stature sits between the two at 6’9”, and he manages to get rebounds and score in the paint like he’s 7’0”. He averages 21 points and 9 rebounds with a field goal percentage of an impressive 63.6%. He is efficient, and plays both ends well, averaging 1.6 blocks per game even if shorter than other bigs.
Perry may not be the elite defender that Bassey is, but his scoring is immaculate. His 25.5 points per game rank at the upper echelon of the list, with 7.4 rebounds as well. He may not have the best shooting splits from three, but he makes takes almost 4 a game and makes about one of them.
The only player listed as a pure center is:
- Luka Garza, Iowa Wolves
The only pure center listed and the No. 1 player in the fan vote, Garza should be a rotational piece in the NBA already. He only played one game in the G League this year on his two-way contract and scored 31 points with 6 rebounds. In his time on the Timberwolves, he has averaged only 8 minutes per game, but scored 6 points in those minutes. His shooting splits are great, and once his contract is up, he will undoubtedly be a rotational big in the NBA.
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