Woodland denies history with US Open title at Pebble Beach

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Thunder journal: Deonte Burton says the G League has 'a lot more talent than people think'

Advertisement
Deonte Burton was on a two-way contract until signing a multi-year deal with the Thunder in March. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]
Deonte Burton was on a two-way contract until signing a multi-year deal with the Thunder in March. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]

Deonte Burton expects beginning next season with just the Thunder, rather than moving between the NBA team and its G League affiliate, will be bittersweet.

“G-League is good talent, too,” Burton said. “Like a lot, a lot more talent than people think.”

The 25-year-old rookie was on a two-way contract until signing a multi-year deal with the Thunder in March. But even after joining the Thunder full time, Burton was assigned to the Blue for part of the team’s G League playoff run. He has spoken highly of his time with the Blue all season, and in his exit interview Thursday, he turned his attention to propping up the league.

Donte Grantham, who the Thunder signed to a two-way contract in December, agreed with Burton’s evaluation of the G League’s talent.

“A lot of those guys that are in the G League were NBA players at a point, for either two or three years,” Grantham said. “So a lot of people think just because they’re in the G League they can’t play. There’s good guys that’s been in the league, guys that’s been overseas playing in the best leagues overseas averaging a crazy amount of points, and those guys are just as talented as the guys that’s up here in the NBA, just difference circumstances and different positions.”

In the case of the Blue, K.J. McDaniels played three seasons in the NBA before he was waived by the Raptors in 2017.

Some NBA teams use their G League affiliates to give players coming back from serious injury game experience before returning. That was the plan with Thunder guard Andre Roberson (left patellar tendon surgery) before he was ruled out for the remainder of the Blue season.

In the 2017-18 season, the NBA called up 50 players from the development-focused league, some multiple times. Of those, 21 signed two-way contracts and eight signed NBA contracts for at least the remainder of the season. This year, the Blue’s Scotty Hopson and Richard Solomon both signed 10-day contracts with the Thunder.

The talent ceiling and saturation in the NBA, however, is higher. When Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo was assigned to the Blue after losing his spot in the Thunder rotation, he averaged 19.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in six games. Before Abdel Nader claimed a spot in the Thunder rotation, and as he came back from offseason wrist surgery, he averaged 24.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists in three games with the Blue.

Burton and Grantham’s points, however, still stand.

Grantham immediately lauded his teammates' and opponents' talent when asked what he saw as the biggest misconception about the G League.

They know about popular

For the first time since 2016, Paul George’s jersey is one of the top 15 sold on NBAstore.com.

This week, the NBA released its list of the most popular jerseys and team merchandise of the 2018-19 season. LeBron James claimed the top spot as Lakers fans rushed to claim the superstar’s jersey in their team colors. The Lakers sold the most team merchandise overall this season.

OKC ranked No. 7 among teams. Russell Westbrook (No. 7) still out-ranked George (No. 12) in jersey popularity, but both moved up from last season, when Westbrook was No. 9 and George didn’t make the list.

Maddie Lee

Maddie Lee followed an NBA team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, she just took a 10-year detour in between. Lee joined the Oklahoman in October 2018 as a Thunder beat writer, fresh off a stint in Oxford, Miss., where she covered Ole Miss for the... Read more ›

Comments