G League Basics

The NBA G League acts as the NBA’s official minor league. The league was initially formed in the 2001/02 season, as the NBA Development League (D League). Before a re-brand occurred in the 2017/18 campaign after Gatorade bought the naming rights on a “multi-year” basis. 

General Structure:

As of the 2019/20 season, there are 28 G League franchises, which are each affiliated with an NBA team. The franchises and their locations are shown below, courtesy of gleague.nba.com.

The G League schedule consists of 50 games between November and March. The postseason features 12 teams through 4 rounds, and usually takes place in late March until mid-April.

Teams with the best regular-season record in each of the 6 divisions automatically qualify for postseason action. The further 6 teams to reach the playoffs are decided by 3 wild-card berths in each conference.

Playoff seed rankings are calculated on overall records. The top 2 seeds in each conference earn a bye into the second round. The opening 3 rounds consist of single-elimination rounds, before a best-of-3 G League Finals is played out.

Games are primarily televised on ESPN and NBA TV, as well as Twitch and Facebook Live.

Player Progression to the NBA:

G League players can progress to the NBA through a variety of methods. This ranges from general call-ups, 10-day contracts, two-way contracts, and through the professional pathway program/select contracts. You can read more about these methods and the finances here.

Some of the top G League players to have progressed to the NBA include; Danny Green, Gerald Green, Jeremy Lin, and Hassan Whiteside. In addition, Eric Bledsoe, Rudy Gobert, Reggie Jackson, and Clint Capela have all spent time in the league on assignment.

According to the G League, 52% of players on end-of-season NBA rosters in the 2018/19 season had G League experience.

Annual Events:

The G League Winter Showcase is played in December and is an in-season scouting event. Players get a chance to shine in-front of General Managers and Executives from all 30 NBA teams. The 2019 event hosted 28 games over 4 days.

The G League All-Star Game was played up until 2018, and has since been replaced by the G League International Challenge. Where All-Star selections face-off against global teams.

The 2018 event featured a one-off game between Team USA and Mexico (88-67). In 2019, it expanded to a 6-team tournament, which was won by EuroLeague team, Bayern Munich.

For further information about the NBA G League, click here.