Many basketball players in the USA opt to continue their development in with a college team or make the jump to the big leagues right after high school. However, NBA hopeful Jalen Green is set to charter an unknown path by opting to join an NBA G League side to continue his development.
Reporting w/ @Draftexpress: Jalen Green is making the leap to a reshaped NBA professional pathway program, a G-League initiative that’ll pay elite prospects $500K-plus and provide a one-year development program outside of minor-league’s traditional team structure. Story soon.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 16, 2020
The NBA G League remains an important part of the NBA but isn't as popular as the premier basketball league in the United States. With Jalen Green looking to make the jump to the G league, let us discuss what is NBA G League and how it remains an integral wing for the NBA.
The NBA G League is the developmental league of the NBA. Players who don't right away fit the mould of an NBA franchise are sent to the G League in order to aid their development in a relatively lesser competitive environment. It was known as the NBA Developmental League between 2001 and 2005 before being rebranded the NBA D League. In 2017, the NBA renamed the developmental league to the NBA G League as it slowly branched out as a competitive league of its own.
The league began with only eight franchises in 2001 but slowly grew to a total of 29 teams in 2020. Reportedly, there are discussions to add more franchises to the NBA G League. The Capitanes de Ciudad de Mexico, based out of Mexico, will be joining the league in 2022.
The 2019-20 G League season saw participation from 28 teams where all the teams were affiliated to an NBA franchise. At present, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, are the only franchises who do not have an affiliate team in the G League. Earlier this year, Golden State Warriors' G League side Santa Cruz Warriird made the headlines after three-time NBA champion Steph Curry trained with the team in a bid to regain his fitness.
The NBA G League has always been the professional path for players hopeful of being signed by the NBA. Notable players like Dallas Mavericks star JJ Barea, Houston Rockets star Robert Covington and Los Angeles Lakers' Quinn Cook made the successful jump from the G League to the NBA. Barea is also a NBA champion with the Mavericks.
While NBA teams still send the players down to the developmental league, the NBA G League professional path for players skipping college was unheard until Jalen Green decided to opt for it. Having played for San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, Green will skip college basketball. But unlike taking a hiatus or heading to an overseas professional league, the 18-year-old will sign a professional contract with a developmental league franchise.
Reports suggest he could earn a contract up to $500,000 from a G League side. Green has potentially opened a new pathway for NBA hopefuls and it'll be interesting to if other high school talents follow Jalen Green into the NBA G League.