On February 10, Jalen Green and G League Ignite will face-off against Jeremy Lin and the Santa Cruz Warriors to kick-start the 2020-21 G League season. Initially, the plan was for Ignite to feature in a number of scrimmages and exhibition contests. Now, the team will enter a fully fledged bubble season with a chance to compete for a championship.
Out of the 17 G League teams, plus Ignite, the top-8 will be eligible for a single-elimination playoff, beginning on March 8. The G League Final will then take place on March 11.
A G League season is traditionally intense, physical, and extremely competitive. Some players are fighting for NBA opportunities, while others are playing to further their careers either within the league or overseas.
One thing is for sure, Ignite will have a target on their back. It is expected that teams will play rough, to show them exactly what the G League is about.
In a media availability on January 27, Ignite star Jalen Green spoke about his bubble expectations and its potential effect on his 2021 NBA Draft stock. “My expectations are to go down there and win. I think not only being consistent against G League pros, but just winning would be beneficial for everybody,” Green said.
“You got to be doing something right if you’re winning, whether it’s the offensive or defensive side. It shows that you’re playing hard and have the work ethic, and you’ve got the chemistry. It could be beneficial just going out there and winning.”
Jalen Green has been a highly-touted prospect for a number of years now. Stretching back to his high-school days at San Joaqin Memorial and Prolific Prep, the 6-foot-5 guard has been destined for NBA stardom.
He is in consideration for the number one selection in the 2021 NBA Draft, with the top-5 looking to be a lock. In April 2020, Green decided to forego college. He opted to sign for the newly formed G League Ignite team for elite prospects, over numerous high-profile college offers.
In a pair of scrimmage defeats against G League alumni in December, Green dropped 22 and 20 points, respectively. Leading the team statistically as well was Jonathan Kuminga, another extremely talented prospect that’s set to be a top draft selection.
Kuminga, a 6-foot-8 forward, spoke in the same media availability about what is going to define a successful bubble campaign. “It’s going to be more in team wins. Because as long as we win together, it’s going to make me look better. So its more about the team,” was Kuminga’s response.
Green described the December scrimmage losses as “humbling”, stating that Ignite have got a lot better since. Specifically from the standpoint of learning to play together and understanding each other more.
All eyes will be on G League Ignite, their prospects and veterans, as they compete in the bubble. For many, it will be the first glimpse of the team that they’ve been patiently waiting for.
Whilst fans will be watching on from afar, NBA executives and scouts will have in-person access. This is as they look to bolster their rosters with young talent and veteran contributors.
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