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2017 NBA G League Player Invitational | 5 most intriguing prospects

Ben Stram



UCLA guard Isaac Hamilton, left, looks to pass the ball as Colorado guard George King defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Sunday is the NBA G League Player Invitational, which is played in Chicago and gives prospects a chance to impress with the hopes of becoming eligible for October’s G League draft. Players will perform full court games in front of NBA G League player personnel, executives, coaches and industry scouts, which could lead to more exposure to land professional basketball jobs around the world.

There were 51 prospects initially invited to the event, among others participating via open registration. They added another eight to the list of invitees leading up to the event, including explosive combo guard Rodney Purvis. Who are the top prospects you need to know among the invitees? You can view the full list of prospects here.

BONUS: Jordan Mathews, 6-4, 195, SG, Gonzaga

Mathews has a solid chance to stick with a G League team after this event and get drafted, assuming he decides to stay in the United States. He has a great shooting stroke (career 40.9 3P%) and deep range with solid size. Mathews is a limited shot creator and defender, but he has the jump shot to have a long career.

5. Troy Caupain, 6-4, 200, PG, Cincinnati

Caupain is an interesting prospect with his physical and athletic measurements and youth. The 21-year-old is quick, has good ballhandling ability and can hit mid-range shots (35.9 percent on 2-point jumpers per hoop-math.com). However, he struggles as a 3-point shooter and is inefficient in the paint.

If Ramon Sessions can etch out a long NBA career, that gives hope for Caupain, who has a similar skill set. His youth gives him a chance to find a spot to develop and work on his offensive repertoire. Caupain has all the tools, but refinement will be needed for him to stick.

4. Trevor Thompson, 7-0, 250, C, Ohio State

Thompson has a chance with his size and budding skill set. He has the physical measurements needed to bang in the paint at the NBA level. He had a solid senior season for the Buckeyes, nearly averaging a double-double (10.6 points, 9.2 rebounds) on 57 percent shooting from the field and flashing a mid-range game (37.4 percent on 2-point jumpers per hoop-math.com).

Thompson lacks a degree of lateral quickness in the pick-and-roll, which could lead to struggles on the defensive end of the floor. He’s not much of a passer or playmaker from the post. Thompson is still raw in a lot of ways, but at just 23 years old, there’s still time for him to develop as a true 7-footer. He’ll get a good chance to impress in Chicago.

3. JaCorey Williams, 6-8, 215, PF, MTSU

Williams is a quick-twitch 4 with good ballhandling ability and athleticism for a front-court prospect. He has the size (7-0 wingspan) and tools needed to succeed as a two-way prospect in time. Williams could thrive in the pick-and-pop, knocking down 45.7 percent of his 2-point jump shots last year, per hoop-math.com:

Williams will need to add some weight to his frame, and he has the body type to do so without much loss in mobility. Williams also doesn’t make as big an impact defensively as one might think with his tools, so improving his defensive intensity will be important for him to stick.

2. Tidjan Keita, 6-10, 210, PF/C, France

Keita was ranked the 89th prospect for DraftExpress ahead of the 2017 draft. He’s a relative unknown at this stage, with plus physical tools (7-3 wingspan) and solid mobility and quickness for a front-court prospect. There’s not much on him but a few videos and an article on Vice Sports, but the young Frenchman has plenty of talent:

He’ll need to add some weight to his long and lanky frame and show some sort of skill set against other talented undrafted prospects. There’s a lot of questions about Keita, and that’s what makes him so intriguing. He’ll have a chance to catch the eyes of some teams to give him a chance at development, and the little risk could be a huge reward.

1. Isaac Hamilton, 6-5, 190, SG, UCLA

Hamilton might be the safest of bets among this large group of invites. He’s a good shooter on a large volume of 3-point shots throughout his career. Hamilton has the size, athletic ability and length to play at both ends of the floor. He has a quick stroke and adds some ball skills that give him some versatility as a prospect:

Hamilton needs to add more weight to his frame and work on his finishing ability to reach his potential at the next level. Hamilton is a bit of a “jack of all trades, master of none” prospect. He does everything pretty well but lacks one elite trait to hang his hat on. Regardless, he still has some upside as a shooter with NBA-level size. If he can progress in other areas, it’ll give him a shot at sticking long-term.

Ben is a Michigan State student studying journalism from the suburbs of Chicago. He has written for Scout.com covering Michigan State's football team, The State News and WKAR as Michigan State's softball beat reporter. He specializes in the NBA and NBA draft.