Thoughts on the Participants that were Invited to the 2021 G-League Elite Camp

June 15th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Baylor’s MaCio Teague helped his team win the 2021 NCAA Championship, and he will be one of 40 participants in the 2021 G-League Elite Camp that will take place from June 19th to the 21st in Chicago.
(Photo:
Michael Conroy/Associated Press, via The Cincinnati Enquirer)

Yesterday, the NBA G-League announced in a press release that 40 prospects will be attending and playing the 2021 G-League Elite Camp, which will take place on June 19th to the 21st in Chicago.  These players are largely considered to be second-tier prospects, with prospects aiming to earn an invite to the NBA draft combine that will take place from the 21st to the 27th.

I was a little disappointed that no one from the 2021 Tampa Bay Pro Combine was invited to the G-League Elite Camp, but that was probably expected, because the prospects at the TBPC were seen as significant underdogs to be drafted, and the top players at that event largely would project into backend rotation roles in the NBA if they make it there. 

There was one player invited from China, but it’s not Qi Lin (a 21-year old Chinese player that made 43% of his threes and averaged 14 points per game on a very good Xinjiang team in the CBA).   I figured that Qi Lin would fit into a shooting specialist role at the NBA similar to someone like Marco Belinelli if he were to make it there, but since he has basically no draft buzz, it looks to be increasingly unlikely that he’ll make it there, or let alone get noticed by an NBA team at this rate.

Here are the 40 NBA draft-eligible players that were invited, and my brief thoughts on them.

Derrick Alston Jr., G-F, Boise State

He is a very tall, athletic swingman that can shoot and score the basketball, and he has a fairly solid set of all-around skills.  He can be inconsistent in games and he will need to add more muscle to his frame, but Alston is a very athletic, skilled player that can play multiple positions, and he may be one of the best players at this event.

Keve Aluma, F, Virginia Tech

He is a strong, mobile forward that operates well in the post, but he’s also shown an improved outside shot.  He’s not an overwhelming athlete, but he tends to be in the right spots, and he is a high-motor player that helped lead his team to get to the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

Jose Alvarado, G, Georgia Tech

He is a smart, skilled playmaker that can shoot and pass the basketball, and Alvarado played very well as a senior this past season.  He lacks ideal size or physical tools, and he’ll need to show that he can ably create his own shot and defend at higher levels, but his skill set and feel for the game could enable him to make it as a backup point guard in the NBA.

Juhann Begarin, G, Paris (France)

He is a tremendously athletic combo guard that may possess plenty of upside.  He excels at attacking the basket, and he is a rangy defender that can get steals, and turn them into fastbreak points for his team. 

He really needs to improve his jump shot, and he’s in between guard positions. There is a concern that might be further away from being ready to play in the NBA than anticipated, but his vast athleticism and ability to make plays at high speeds will make him a fun player to watch at this event, and he could be worth a flyer as a second round, draft and stash pick if he stays in the 2021 draft.

Chaundee Brown, G, Michigan

He is a very athletic swingman that excelled as a shooter and defender in his role at Michigan.  He may not have played enough, but he can knock down threes and also can throw down highlight reel-worthy dunks to give his team a boost on offense.  He’s shot the ball much better this year at Michigan than he had at Wake Forest, and he may project well into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA.

Jordan Burns, G, Colgate

He is an agile, skilled playmaker that can really shoot and score the basketball.  He played really well in a 2019 first-round tournament loss against Tennessee, where he scored 32 points and made 8 three-pointers in that game.  He is a very good outside shooter that is capable of racking up points quickly, and he could project well into a backup point guard role off the bench in the NBA.

Marcus Carr, G, Minnesota

He is an athletic point guard that turned in some very good games as a junior, especially early in the season.  He is a crafty scorer that can score creatively and at will when he gets into a groove, and he has a knack for slipping past defenders to get his shots up.  He struggled to knock down outside shots, especially later in the season, but he can really pour on points when his shot is falling.  There’s no doubt that he’s a very talented playmaker, and he could project to be a solid scoring point guard off the bench in the NBA.

D.J. Carton, G, Marquette

He is a very athletic combo guard that has had his ups and downs throughout his collegiate career.  He shot the ball well as a freshman at Ohio State, but he struggled to make shots consistently as a sophomore at Marquette.  Carton’s too mistake prone to be a reliable playmaker at the point, and his shot has really fallen off.  He still has enough upside to make it to the NBA someday, but in the meantime, he really has to work on his jump shot and his decision-making skills, and he may be pretty far away from being ready to play in the NBA right now.

Moussa Cisse, C, Memphis

He is an athletic shot blocker whom I had high hopes for to start the season.  He’s an interior defender that can anchor the paint, but he looks to be nowhere near as polished offensively.  Cisse doesn’t really seem to have much of a jump shot or any semblance of perimeter skills, and he is also a very bad free throw shooter, as he made just 32% of his free throws this past season. 

He’s not very polished as he has a long way to go from an offensive standpoint, but he’s also one of the youngest players in the draft.  If he does get drafted late in the second round or get a two-way contract from an NBA team, they may have to keep it simple on offense for him, with the focus being on rim-running and screen setting for him in the short-term.  Once he establishes that he may be ready to do more on offense, they could gradually expand his role in the future.

Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois

He is a very strong, physical center that had a productive sophomore season at Illinois.  He is a bruiser that can bully his opponents to score in the post, and he also is a very good rebounder. 

He’ll need to establish a reliable mid-range shot and he’ll need to improve his conditioning to be able to keep up with quicker opponents on a consistent basis.  He could fare pretty well when matched up in traditional lineups against other big-bodied centers in the NBA, and he could project to be a backup center in the association.

Oscar da Silva, F, Stanford

I was really excited to watch Stanford this season, because I was anticipating the arrival of Ziaire Williams, and I wanted to see how well he would play and fit in with Oscar da Silva.  Williams played well for about 1 ½ games, and then he was a disappointment for almost the rest of the way, save for an excellent triple-double game against a lowly Washington team.  Because of Williams’ lackluster season performance, I did not end up watching as many da Silva games as I thought I would.

Oscar Da Silva still went on to have a solid senior season, and he’s also playing well in his role for MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany’s top league, the German BBL.   Da Silva is a fairly athletic, energetic combo forward that possesses versatile scoring skills, and he was an active interior defender that could block shots in bulk.  He and Williams never really seemed to shine or mesh well together, and that might be why Da Silva’s draft stock never really took off.  Da Silva is a skilled forward that will still need to continue to hone his outside shot, but his versatility could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider late in the second round of this draft.

Darius Days, F-C, LSU

He is a strong, athletic forward that had a good junior season.  Days played well when he was healthy, and he showed an improved outside shot that complemented his strengths as a scorer on off-ball motion plays as well as in the paint.  His size, athleticism, and physicality can allow him to guard bigger players, and Days may be an underrated defender due to his versatility.  He may be an underrated prospect that could be a solid option for NBA teams to consider in the second round of this draft.

Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan

He is a strong, physical center that had a very good freshman season at Michigan.  Dickinson is a classic, back-to-the-basket low post scorer that can use his brute strength and shooting touch to score inside.  He also has a fairly reliable mid-range shot that enables him to be very effective as a scorer on offense.  He matches up well to other big-bodied centers, and he can bully his opponents to frequently get points and rebounds in the paint. 

On the other hand, he’ll need to show that he can guard quicker players, and his lack of ideal footspeed can sometimes lead him to struggle against more athletic opponents.  Still, he’s been very productive at the collegiate level, especially for a freshman, and he could be worth a pick in the second round, as he could project well into a backup center role in the NBA.

Dawson Garcia, F, Marquette

He is an athletic, high-motor big man that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He is an aggressive scorer that can take slower-footed big men off the dribble to score, he can finish plays above the rim, and he can also knock down the occasional three-point shot.

He also has the athleticism to make the occasionally impressive block at times.  He can tend to be too streaky with his jump shot, and he’ll need to show teams that he can reliably guard upper-echelon players on a consistent basis.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate, but over time, he could project to be a rotational big man that could stretch the floor in the NBA.

Marcus Garrett, G-F, Kansas

Garrett had his ups and downs as a senior this past season at Kansas.  Some people may have been understandably disappointed that he didn’t take over as a scorer, but Garrett stuck to his strengths as a playmaker and defender, and he didn’t play too far outside of himself.

He is an athletic combo guard that can comfortably run the point, and he is a solid defender that plays aggressive defense and can force turnovers.  Garrett may not project to be much of a shot creator or a shooter in the NBA, but his playmaking, defense, and athleticism could allow him to be useful role player in the association.

Haowen Guo, G, Shanghai (China)

I haven’t seen him play, but in looking at his statistical profile, Guo is a point forward that can get assists, and he is also a tremendous free throw generator that can rack up points at the foul line.  His shot-creation ability and his playmaking skills may be strengths of his game, but shooting may not be.

Guo averaged roughly 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal per game for Shanghai in the CBA, but he made just 39% of his field goals, 24% of his threes, and just 77% of his free throws.  He’s never made 40% of his field goals or better, or 30% of his threes or better in any CBA season. 

There are definite, major concerns about if Guo is going to be able to shoot well enough at the NBA level, and if he can adjust to playing more of a supporting role.  He’ll need to show teams that he can reliably shoot and defend in this camp.  His game might be better suited overseas where he can dominate the basketball, but if he can show teams that he can shoot, knock down threes, and defend, he could put himself on a faster track to the NBA than anticipated.

Jay Huff, C, Virginia

He is a tall, skilled center that has shown a much improved outside shot, which has complemented his offensive game very well.  Huff can effectively score in the post, as well as from the outside.  He’s also a solid rebounder and shot blocker that can help his team protect the paint. 

He can sometimes be too passive and fade into the background too much on offense, and he can sometimes be prone to pick up quick fouls.  He also played on a very slow paced collegiate team, so he’ll have to show that he can adjust to play in significantly, faster paced games, as the NBA pace is much faster than the tempo that they ran at Virginia.  Huff had a solid senior season, and he could project into a backup center role in the NBA.

DeJon Jarreau, G, Houston

Jarreau had a very good senior season, and he led his team to the Final Four this year in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.  He is a tenacious defender that can hound opposing ball handlers to frequently get stops for his team, and he is also a fairly good shot blocker for a player his size. 

He also can play multiple positions, and he can comfortably run the team at the point.  He’s been an inconsistent shooter over the years, but he’s shown an improved jump shot this season.  His jump shot has been something of a question mark over the years, but his playmaking ability, terrific defensive skills, intangibles, and versatility could enable him to be a solid role player in the NBA.

Carlik Jones, G, Louisville

He is a skilled playmaker that had a solid senior season at Louisville.  Jones doesn’t possess ideal size or physical tools, but he just finds ways to shoot and score the basketball.  He is a crafty scorer that can maneuver ways to do so, and he can reliably run the team at the point.  He might not possess a ton of upside, but Jones is a solid offensive player that could project well into a backup point guard role in the NBA.

DeVante’ Jones, G, Coastal Carolina

He is a strong, physical combo guard that has a wide frame, and he had a very good season as a redshirt junior this past season at Coastal Carolina.  Jones is a crafty scorer off the dribble, and he also showed an improved jump shot.  He also is a terrific rebounder, and he can rack up steals on the defensive end.

On the downside, he can be streaky with his jump shot, and his three-point shooting has fluctuated over the years.  His assist totals were unusually down this year, and he didn’t often face top-notch teams in Division 1 college basketball this past season.  If he plays well in this camp though, Jones could move permanently into the second round consideration for this draft, and if things break his way, he could project to be a solid backup point guard in the NBA.

Balsa Koprivica, C, Florida State

He is a mobile, high-motor center that played for Florida State this past season.  He can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor, and he played for a well-schooled, defensive-minded collegiate team.  He’ll need to expand his game offensively, and he will have to improve his jump shot, and he can also tend to pick up quick fouls on the defensive end.  He can finish plays above the rim and block shots, and he could project to be a rotational big man that could provide some solid interior play in the NBA.

A.J. Lawson, G-F, South Carolina

He is a very athletic swingman whose draft stock has fluctuated over the years.  Lawson is a talented, but very inconsistent player that can turn in strong showings, and he also can tend to disappear in other games.  He may have one of the highest upsides out of any prospect here, but he’s also been one of the most inconsistent players among the draft prospects that will participate at this event.

He is a big-time athlete that thrives as a scorer in transition.  He projects into a 3 and D role in the NBA, but he tends to be too streaky as a shooter, and he can tend to gamble too much and have too many lapses defensively.  If Lawson can realize his full potential, he could end up being one of the best players to come out of this camp, and with the possibility of developing into a reliable rotation player in the NBA in the future.

E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State

He is a strong, athletic forward that can do a little bit of everything.  Liddell had a solid sophomore season, and he is a versatile offensive player that can post up, score off the dribble, and knock down jump shots.  He has good strength that enables him to defend bigger players.  He might not be outstanding at any one particular area, but he has the skills that could enable him to fit the modern game well, and he could project to be a 3 and D type of forward off the bench in the NBA.

Mac McClung, G, Texas Tech

He is a very athletic, high-motor combo guard that competes relentlessly on both ends of the floor.  McClung’s shooting percentages have fluctuated over the years, but he can put up points in a hurry when he gets into a rhythm. 

On the other hand, he’s never really shown that he can run the point and he’s too undersized to play other positions.  He can occasionally make a big defensive play, but he also can tend to gamble too much defensively.  McClung is a pure scorer who’s only put forth rather middling to above average shooting percentages over the years, and he’s not really an elite shooter.  His game might not entirely fit the NBA, as he’s not really a point guard, and he lacks the ideal size to play the two, but his scoring ability and tenacity will give him a shot to play at that level.

JaQuori McLaughlin, G, UC Santa Barbara

He is an agile, skilled playmaker that had a very good senior season.  He is a good shooter that excels at making shots to help his team on offense, and he also can reliably run the point on offense.  His size can allow him to play either backcourt position.  He’s not an explosive athlete, but his solid offensive skills could allow him to be an effective backup point guard in the NBA.

Matt Mitchell, F, San Diego State

He is a strong, physical swingman that could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA.  Mitchell has versatile scoring skills, and he also is a solid rebounder and position defender.  He doesn’t possess blazing speed or quickness, and he can tend to be too streaky with his jump shot, as his shooting percentages took a hit when he took on a greater volume on offense, but his size and skill set could enable him to be an effective rotation player in the association.

R.J. Nembhard, G, TCU

He is an agile, skilled combo guard that has fairly solid offensive skills.  He is a capable outside shooter that can really knock down jump shots when he gets into a groove, but he’s struggled to put up good shooting percentages over the years.  He also is a solid passer that can rack up assists, but he also can be turnover prone. 

Nembhard is a player that looks like a solid prospect when he’s playing well, but he can tend to be inconsistent in games.  A strong showing in this camp could put him firmly in the second round conversation, and Nembhard is a skilled enough offensive player to be a regular rotation player in the NBA.

Eugene Omoruyi, F, Oregon

After three rather pedestrian seasons at Rutgers, Omoruyi finally had a breakout season at Oregon this year.  He is an offensively skilled forward that has versatile scoring skills, as he can knock down threes, and he also can score out of the post.  His size can enable him to guard bigger players, but he doesn’t always take enough outside shots in games.  He had a strong NCAA tournament showing this year, and he could project well as a 3 and D type of forward off the bench in the NBA.

E.J. Onu, C, Shawnee State

I have not seen him play, but Onu statistically dominated at the NAIA level this past season.  He is a tremendous shot blocker that possesses the rare combination of being a player that can both swat shots and reliably knock down threes from beyond the arc. 

He’ll need to show that he can hold his own at this camp and play well at higher levels, but Onu is a really interesting prospect that could potentially end up being one of the better finds in this NBA draft.

Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt

He is an agile, skilled playmaker that can shoot and score the basketball.  He can rack up points at will, and he also can run the point.  On the other hand, he can sometimes struggle with turnovers and with his defense.  He also has not played on a good college basketball team, so it’s been harder for him to get noticed than it would be otherwise.  If he plays well in this camp, he could put himself squarely in the second round conversation, and he could project well into a role as an offensively skilled, backup point guard in the NBA.

Orlando Robinson Jr., C, Fresno State

I haven’t really seen him play either, but he did have a fairly solid sophomore season.  Robinson has versatile scoring skills, and he could project to be a stretch big at the next level, though he’ll need to continue to work on his three-point shot.

He also can pass and rebound the basketball, though he is turnover prone.  He also doesn’t block many shots, and he’s played on mediocre Fresno State teams, so it was hard for him to get noticed or to get as much attention during the season.  If he plays well at this camp, Robinson could perhaps turn that into a combine invite, and he could project to be a rotational big man off the bench in the NBA.

Aamir Simms, F, Clemson

He is a strong, fairly athletic combo forward that has versatile scoring skills.  He is a reliable scorer in the post, and he has worked hard to establish an effective jump shot in his repertoire.  He will need to show that he can guard upper-echelon opponents on a consistent basis, but his ability to score and make plays with the ball in his hands could enable him to project well into a bench role in the NBA.

Ja’Vonte Smart, G, LSU

He is a fairly athletic combo guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He shoots the ball well, and he also has shown that he could maybe run the point in a pinch, if necessary.  He also is a fairly solid defender.  He may be in between guard positions, and he can sometimes be too inconsistent in games, but his ability to score and play either backcourt position could enable him to carve out a rotation role in the NBA in the future.

Mike Smith, G, Michigan

He quietly had a very good redshirt senior season at Michigan.  He took on a much lower volume role on offense, but he did a good job of shooting and passing the basketball, and he reliably ran the point this year. 

He is an above average athlete, but he’s neither blindingly fast nor exceptionally quick.  He was able to show some craftiness as a scorer at times, but he struggled with his two-point shot this year.  He’ll need to show that he can consistently create his own shot and defend upper-echelon opponents, but Smith’s feel for the game and skill set could enable him to be a backup point guard in the NBA.

D.J. Stewart Jr., F, Mississippi State

He is a strong, physical swingman that can do a little bit of everything on offense.  He’s not especially fast or quick, but he’ll find ways to knock down shots and score off the dribble.  He is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he also has shown promise as an on-ball defender.  Stewart also can be too inconsistent in games as he can be too streaky with his jump shot at times, but his versatility could perhaps enable him to be a backend rotation player as a 3 and D type of forward in the NBA.

MaCio Teague, G, Baylor

He is an athletic, skilled combo guard that was a key member of Baylor’s 2021 National Championship team this year.  He is a sharpshooter that excels at scoring on threes and mid-range jumpers, and he also is a crafty scorer off the dribble. 

Teague is also a good defender that can lock down his man and guard either backcourt position.  He’s not an explosive athlete, but he is a polished player that has a good feel for the game, and he would project well as a versatile guard off the bench in the NBA.

M.J. Walker, G, Florida State

He’s been quite inconsistent over the years, but Walker has finally turned in a strong season this year as a senior.  Walker is an athletic, energetic swingman that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He can capably get his shot off, and he can knock down plenty of jump shots when he gets into a rhythm.  He’ll need to be more consistent in games, but Walker has the talent to be a solid bench player in the NBA.

Duane Washington Jr., G, Ohio State

He is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He is a solid shooter, and he also can finish plays above the rim.  However, he has consistently racked up fairly low assist totals at the collegiate level, and there may be concerns if he can reliably run the point or defend at the NBA level.  If he can, he could project to be a plus-level shooter that could be a backup point guard in the association.

Aaron Wiggins, G-F, Maryland

He is a very athletic, skilled swingman that can shoot and score the basketball.  He made noise with his solid play in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.  He can comfortably knock down threes to provide his team with solid floor spacing, and he also can finish plays above the rim.  He can sometimes be too inconsistent in games and he will need to show teams that he can guard upper-echelon opponents on a consistent basis, but Wiggins’ shooting, scoring, and athleticism could make him a solid role player off the bench in the NBA.

Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas

He is a tall, athletic forward that drew some buzz early in the year as a redshirt freshman at Kansas.  He is a versatile scorer, and he also rebounds the ball well.   However, he has struggled to make shots consistently as he shot tapered off late in the year, and he’s struggled on the defensive end at times.  He also missed almost a full season due to an ankle injury.  Wilson is a talented player that may possess plenty of upside, and he could project to be a 3 and D type of forward off the bench in the NBA.

Boise State’s 6-9 forward, Derrick Alston Jr. had a standout collegiate career, and he will also be one of the participants at the 2021 G-League Elite Camp.
(Photo:
Loren Orr/Getty Images, via The Athletic)

Here are my current rankings of the 40 prospects that are at the 2021 G-League Elite Camp.  (The website’s top 100 rankings are an aggregate, so the players that are ranked in the top 100 will be prioritized first on this list.)

The 2021 top 100 rankings were updated as of 5/30/21, and the rest of the list is updated as of today, 6/15/21.  The top 100 rankings are still subject to change between now and the date of the 2021 draft itself.

The Top Prospects at the 2021 G-League Elite Camp (top 100 rank in parenthesis)

  1. Juhann Begarin, G, Paris Basketball (France) (59)
  2. Aaron Wiggins, G-F, Maryland (63)
  3. Derrick Alston Jr., G-F, Boise State (69)
  4. MaCio Teague, G, Baylor (82)
  5. Eugene Omoruyi, F, Oregon (85)
  6. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois (86)
  7. Matt Mitchell, G-F, San Diego State (88)
  8. Marcus Carr, G, Minnesota (89)
  9. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State (90)
  10. Darius Days, F, LSU (92)
  11. Jay Huff, C, Virginia (98)
  12. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt
  13. Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan
  14. Chaundee Brown, G-F, Michigan
  15. A.J. Lawson, G-F, South Carolina
  16. Aamir Simms, F, Clemson
  17. Marcus Garrett, G-F, Kansas
  18. R.J. Nembhard, G-F, TCU
  19. Mac McClung, G, Texas Tech
  20. JaQuori McLaughlin, G, UC Santa Barbara
  21. M.J. Walker, G-F, Florida State
  22. Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas
  23. E.J. Onu, C, Shawnee State
  24. Jordan Burns, G, Colgate
  25. Keve Aluma, F, Virginia Tech
  26. Oscar da Silva, F, Stanford
  27. Jose Alvarado, G, Georgia Tech
  28. Carlik Jones, G, Louisville
  29. Moussa Cisse, C, Memphis
  30. D.J. Carton, G, Marquette
  31. Mike Smith, G, Michigan
  32. Dawson Garcia, F-C, Marquette
  33. DeVante’ Jones, G, Coastal Carolina
  34. Dalano Banton, G-F, Nebraska
  35. Orlando Robinson, C, Fresno State
  36. D.J. Stewart, F, Mississippi State
  37. Ja’Vonte Smart, G, LSU
  38. Balsa Koprivica, C, Florida State
  39. Duane Washington Jr., G, Ohio State
  40. Haowen Guo, G-F, Shanghai (China)

6/20/21 Update:

I’ve been trying to figure out who Dalano Banton replaced to be able to get a spot at the G-League Elite Camp, and it seems that I finally found my answer.

It seems that Houston’s 6-5 senior guard, DeJon Jarreau opted out of the 2021 G-League Elite Camp, and that he was replaced by Nebraska’s 6-9 sophomore point forward, Dalano Banton. Jarreau was the 11th ranked player on my G-League Elite Camp list among all participants that were slated to play here, prior to having withdrawn from this event.

Dalano Baton is a very tall, point forward that has solid playmaking skills, and he also can rebound and defend when he is on the floor. He will really need to improve his jump shot and scoring skills, but Banton’s playmaking skills and versatility could make him an intriguing prospect that will likely play in the G-League if he stays in this draft, and he could one day make the NBA if he significantly improve his ability to knock down shots in the future.

The 2021 G-League Elite Camp will take place from June 19th to the 21st, as that will start up a few days from now. It will be interesting to see who ends up playing well in this camp, and which players end up getting invited from this camp to the 2021 NBA Draft Combine.  Thanks for reading.

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