NBA G League roundup: Ranking the week’s best performances

Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

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Almost every team can find a necessary upgrade by sifting through NBA G League rosters. Ranking the best performances of the week is a good place to start.

The level of talent in the NBA G League has increased exponentially over the past few years and more and more teams are using it intentionally to help develop their next generation of key contributors. On any given week, you’ll find diamonds in the rough, veterans on rehab assignments and rookies with star potential from loaded rosters who just need a few more developmental minutes.

The best performances aren’t always about the biggest stat lines (although sometimes they are). Here we’ve tried to way production, context and what the games might say about each player’s NBA potential in ranking the best.

Here are the best NBA G League performances from the past week

4. Jake LaRavia shows out for the NBA-heavy Memphis Hustle

LaRavia, a rookie for Wake Forest, has already appeared in 25 games for the Grizzlies, making a positive impression with his shooting and offensive versatility. However, minutes are hard to come by as the parent club has gotten healthy so he’s bounced back and forth to the Hustle along with fellow rookies David Roddy and Kenneth Lofton Jr.

Last Wednesday, with all three in the Hustle lineup, LaRavia led the way — putting up 34 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists on 10-of-18 from the field and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Oh, and he did it all in just 29 minutes. Talk about efficiency.

3. Scotty Pippen Jr. could be ready for a call-up

Scotty Pippen Jr. has a famous dad and a famous name but he’s carving out his own place with the South Bay Lakers. The 6-foot-3 guard is on a two-way contract with the Lakers but has seen most of his opportunities in the G League. Last Thursday, he put up 28 points and 10 assists in just 28 minutes, hitting 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Two days later he put up 31 points in 32 minutes, to go along with 6 assists and just 1 turnover.

He’s just an average 3-point shooter but if injuries keep hitting the Lakers he could be ready to make an impact with his shot creation and point-of-attack defense.

2. Javon Freeman-Liberty went off all week

Freeman-Liberty, a 6-foot-4 guard from DePaul, has been an absolute monster for the Windy City Bulls this season. He is averaging 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game on 51.9/40.0/88.9 shooting splits, and putting up those numbers in less than 30 minutes per game.

He started this week by putting up 39 points on just 20 shots against the Cleveland Charge, followed that up with 31 against the Skyhawks on Thursday and finished with 37 against the Swarm on Saturday. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s 36.6 points per game this week, on 34-of-57 (59.7 percent) from the field. Freeman-Liberty is on just a G League contract and eligible to be signed by any NBA team.

1. Max McClung hangs 40 on the Wisconsin Herd

McClung has spent plenty of time on NBA rosters — a pair of 10-day contracts with the Chicago Bulls, a two-way contract with the Lakers last season and a pair of non-guaranteed contracts with the Warriors and Lakers that ended with him being waived. He’s never actually appeared in an NBA game but the 6-foot-2 guard has earned such a reputation for his explosive leaping ability that he’s been invited to participate in the 2023 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

McClung, currently of the Delaware Blue Coats, had the game of the week in the G League, putting up 40 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds on the Wisconsin Herd last Monday. He did it on 15-of-20 from the field and 7-of-9 from beyond the arc. If he keeps playing this he’s going to be making that NBA debut sooner rather than later.

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