It’s not every day that a player can say they got to the NBA Finals in their rookie season after being undrafted.
That was the case for London Perrantes during the 2017-18 season. After a solid four-year career at Virginia under Tony Bennett, Perrantes didn’t hear his name called in the 2017 NBA draft. He caught on with the Miami HEAT’s summer league team and had a good enough showing to be invited to training camp with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs cut him, however, at the end of camp, but he didn’t remain unemployed for long. A couple of days later, the Cleveland Cavaliers made him one of the first players to sign a two-way contract.
Prior to the start of that season, the NBA implemented the new two-way contracts essentially allowing teams to carry two more players in addition to the regular league-mandated maximum of 15 roster spots. The 16th and 17th players under the two-way contract would split time between the NBA team and their G League affiliate and were limited in the number of days they could spend with the parent NBA team.
Perrantes only saw action in 14 games with the Cavaliers that season, spending most of his time with the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers G League affiliate. Although he didn’t play much in Cleveland, he still relished the time he spent with the team.
“It was amazing, you can’t turn it down. Playing with LeBron [James], it was his last year in Cleveland, making it to the finals, getting swept but it was an amazing experience playing with a lot of veteran guys, a lot of guys with championship experience,” Perrantes told Basketball Insiders. “It was something that I can’t take for granted, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Perrantes’ time with the Cavaliers was short-lived. He was cut from the team in the 2018 offseason and he ended up signing overseas. He played in France for a little bit with Limoges CSP and with Cholet Basket.
After spending a year overseas, he returned stateside to play in summer league in 2019 with the New Orleans Pelicans. His play was good enough to warrant an invite to training camp with the Portland Trail Blazers, but the Blazers cut him before the start of the 2019-20 season. He would then head back overseas, this time to Turkey.
Although his time in the NBA was brief, Perrantes learned a lot about what it takes to play basketball at the highest level.
“It’s tough. I was on a very veteran dominant team so it was tougher to try and find a way to get into the rotation and try and get to be able to play,” Perrantes said. “It’s learning how to stay ready. Probably the hardest thing that I’ve learned is no matter what, you got to be ready to play because they might call you in and you’ve got to play a certain amount of minutes when you might not have played in a couple of weeks. Just learning to stay ready and keep working was the biggest thing for me.”
During his stint with Cleveland, Perrantes saw plenty of time with the Canton Charge in the G League. He was able to get live game reps there and put in the work while waiting for an opportunity with the Cavaliers.
He had a solid showing too in 35 games with the Charge. He put up 11.9 points per game, 7.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals. He was capable of running a pro-level offense and looked like he could eventually carve out a role as a decent NBA backup point guard.
The talent level in the G League has been steadily growing since its inception as the National Basketball Development League back in 2001. Almost every NBA team has a G League affiliation now and some veteran players are opting to stay stateside rather than make the trek overseas.
From his early days in the G League to now, Perrantes has definitely seen the level of competition go up a few notches.
“It’s gotten way better. I think in this past bubble we just had, it just showcased everybody that was trying to make it,” Perrantes said. “There’s a lot of guys that don’t want to go overseas, they want to try and make it and play in the NBA. The G League Ignite team is making it better. I think the competition is growing and the G League is getting a lot more credibility for guys just wanting to stay here and battle it out.”
Perrantes returned stateside after his stint in Turkey and the Charge still held his G League rights. In the midst of the 2019-2020 season, the Charge traded his rights to the Capital City Go-Go, the affiliate of the Washington Wizards, for Gabe York.
He played in nine games including six starts for Capital City while still showing the ability to play point guard at the pro level. He put up 8.9 points per game and 5.4 assists while shooting 50 percent from the three-point line. Unfortunately for him, that season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and even though the NBA eventually restarted their season in the bubble in Orlando, FL, the G League scrapped 2020 altogether.
He would get another chance though to show out for NBA teams when he signed a training camp deal with the San Antonio Spurs prior to the start of this past season. He was signed with the intention of being added to the roster of the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s G League affiliate, and he accompanied them to the G League bubble in Orlando.
In 14 games with Austin, he put up 6.7 points and 5.6 assists, once again proving himself to be a reliable floor leader. As he’s gained more experience in the G League and as a professional overall, he believes that the G League has most certainly become a solid stepping stone for players looking to break into the NBA.
“You go overseas and you’re not right in front of GMs and NBA teams every day. When I was with the D.C. Go-Go, we practiced in the Wizards facility, so you’re right there,” Perrantes said. “If you want to be in front of the eyes and things like that, it’s hard not to play in the G League. That money overseas is something you can’t turn down for the rest of your life, but the G League is definitely getting a lot more credibility now which is good.”
As for what’s next for Perrantes, he signed on with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas this month. He played in four games with the Timberwolves and put up 2.8 points per game and 1.5 assists while shooting 50 percent from three-point range. He’s still determined to prove that he can play in the NBA.
“We’ll see what happens after summer league, I’ll take it one step at a time,” Perrantes said. “I want to show I can run a team as a point guard. To get everybody the ball in their spots, to shoot the ball well, I think I’m a winner. I’ve won at every level, I just want to be out there and compete and give 100 percent to whatever team I’m suiting up for.”