G League

After a Strong Rookie Season, Donta Hall Eyes an NBA Return

Donta Hall impressed during the 2019-20 season, as a rookie in the professional ranks. The 6-foot-9 forward center mainly featured for the Grand Rapids Drive in the NBA G League. Where in 38 games he posted averages of 15.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks.

The 23-year-old sat 3rd league-wide in total rebounds (403), 2nd in offensive rebounds (157), and 5th in defensive rebounds (246). Additionally, he was top in Offensive Rating (134.1), was the 4th-highest in Defensive Rating (103.6), and the 7th-highest in Player Efficiency Rating (25.5).

“I always feel as if I can get better in every way. I definitely met aspects and goals that I had going into my G League season with Grand Rapids, I definitely achieved some goals,” Hall said in an interview with NBA Call-Ups.

Dominant performances from Donta Hall saw him receive G League All-Rookie Team, Second-Team All-NBA G League, and All-Defensive Team honors.

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(Image/AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

In February 2020, the versatile big received an NBA call-up with parent team, the Detroit Pistons. In 4 games with Detroit, he averaged 1.5 points and 3.8 rebounds. “I honestly couldn’t even explain to you exactly how it felt. It was definitely great,” Hall explained.

“I was speechless, there wasn’t too much I could say. Once I got to Detroit and played my first game against Jokic, I was like ‘that’s tough’ but it was my blessing. I took advantage of it.”

Following a 4-month season suspension, the NBA season resumed in the Disney World bubble in Orlando. To conclude his rookie year, Donta Hall found himself on the roster of the Brooklyn Nets.

In the NBA bubble, he featured in 6 contests, averaging 6.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1 block. He played in an average of 17 minutes and shot 77.8% from the field.

“Just being around guys like Jarrett Allen, [Caris] LeVert, and Jamal Crawford. I could go down the list. It was unbelievable, they greeted me with special love,” Hall said. “That got my mindset to come in and be me, keep doing what I do. Motivate, dominate, just be that energy guy.”

The wider public were drawn to Hall’s intense play and ferocity in a tangle with Giannis Antetokounmpo on a box-out play. The clip went viral on social media and was highlighted by the league MVP growing frustrated with Donta Hall’s style of play.

“Honestly, it was just two competitors going at it. Two competitors going for a rebound and it got a little tangled,” Hall said in response to the play. “We both competing, that’s what basketball is about. It was a great game, a fun game.”

Following his impressive bubble performances, the 23-year-old stated that “there was a lot of interest coming from a couple of places”. Despite potential NBA interest, an opportunity with G League Ignite presented itself.

The new team, headlined by top prospects Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, instantly caught the attention of Donta Hall. Subsequently, he accepted the offer and joined the set-up in Walnut Creek, California. It was a decision that appeared straight forward for the former Net, “I had a couple of teams interested but this one came up and it felt like my best decision.”

“I love the game, I’m a student of the game. Especially being under Coach Shaw,” Hall said. “It’s been a great experience just all around, with the younger guys and the older guys, we’re learning from both regardless.”

“Everyday I’m coming to work, no matter what the situation is. I’m coming to do my job, do what I do. I love this game. It’s took me plenty of places and I’m blessed.”

Green and Kuminga headline the roster, that also boasts additional elite talent in Daishen Nix, Isaiah Todd, and Kai Sotto. “Special. I’m telling you, special. There’s a lot of talent coming out of them guys,” Hall said about the prospects on the team.

While full of praise for the top prospects, it appears that some have been testing the 6-foot-9 big at the rim. When presented with whether any prospects have attempted to dunk on him, Hall revealed that Green and Kuminga have each tried a couple of times each.

“Blocking shots it’s something I do. It might come around, but I surely doubt it,” Hall said with glowing confidence of his defensive presence in the paint.

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(Image/Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

Despite initial plans for Ignite participating in a handful of exhibition contests, the team now finds itself involved in the 2021 G League bubble along with 17 other G League outfits. Additionally, Ignite are eligible to qualify for the playoffs and compete for championship honors.

Hall emphasized that the bubble season is about winning as a team, as much as it’s about individual development. His aims; to “keep developing, learning the game. Keep dominating.”

Since entering the Ignite set-up, Head Coach Brian Shaw has been impressed with Donta Hall. The 5-time NBA Champion even stated in a recent media availability that he doesn’t think Hall will be around the team long, as he believes that an NBA opportunity will be quickly presented.

“I really really believe that we won’t have him long when we get in the bubble. I think that he’ll get a call-up from a team,” Shaw implied. “He deserves and should be on an NBA roster. He blocks shots, rebounds, plays with energy, he actually can shoot the ball from the 3-point line.”

After a strong rookie campaign, and multiple NBA call-ups, the Alabama Crimson Tide-product remains entirely focused on the now. While another shot at the big time is clearly at the forefront of his mind and is very possible, Hall appears to be trusting the process and is letting his performances in the court do the talking.

“Exactly, living in the present for sure. I’m blessed to get the opportunity to keep playing this game. Just having fun, doing what I do,” Hall said. “Everybody wants to be in the NBA. Whatever works out, my blessing’s coming. I’m sitting back, doing whatever I can do and keep working.”

“I feel like my energy rubs off on a lot of guys as I play. Blocking shots, for sure, its something I have to do and I feel like I must do. So just protecting the rim, blocking shots, rebounding, dunking the ball, setting good screens, and getting the rest of the guys good looks. As long as I do my job well, I’ll be alright.”

G League Ignite and Donta Hall are subject to an intense 15-game schedule, in a short 24-day period in the Disney World bubble. There’s potential for the season to be extended with a single-eliminated playoff set to be played between March 8-11.

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