Without further ado, professional basketball is back in Las Vegas.
The NBA G League Winter Showcase, the league’s top in-season scouting event, is set to take place from Wednesday through Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
The G League is the Triple A league for the NBA and is made up of 27 teams, spanning the country from the Maine Red Claws to the Santa Cruz (California) Warriors. Each team will play two games and representatives from all 30 NBA teams will be on hand to scout G League talent ahead of the 10-day signing period, which begins Jan. 5.
Eleven players signed NBA contracts after last year’s event, including 2013 lottery pick Trey Burke, who averaged 12.8 points for the New York Knicks last season and is averaging 11.3 points per game this year.
Here are five players worth following as the showcase gets going.
1. Christian Wood — Wisconsin Herd: The former Findlay Prep and UNLV star is averaging 27 points and 12.1 rebounds for the Herd in eight games this season. Wood, 23, starred for the Milwaukee Bucks during NBA Summer League and earned a two-way contract with the big club. He’s played six games for the Bucks this season, averaging 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds.
2. Duncan Robinson — Sioux Falls Skyforce: Robinson, who transferred from Division III Williams Ephs to Michigan and helped the Wolverines reach the national championship game, is on a two-way deal with the Miami Heat. The 6-foot-8, 24-year old is averaging 19.9 points per game, and is among the league leaders in 3-point shooting at 48.3 percent in 12 games.
3. Terrence Jones — Erie BayHawks: The 26-year old spent five years in the NBA, logging averages of 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks. The 6-foot-9 forward is one of the best players in the G League, and is averaging 24.4 points on 54.4 percent shooting, including 40 percent from 3-point range, and 8.8 rebounds in 11 games.
4. James Young — Wisconsin Herd: Young was drafted No. 17 overall in 2014 after one season at Kentucky, and is still just 23 years old. The 6-foot-7 wing is averaging 19.9 points per game and shoots 43.9 percent from 3-point range to go with 6.0 rebounds in 14 games.
5. Johnathan Williams — South Bay Lakers: The 6-foot-9 rookie forward broke in with the Los Angeles Lakers and played meaningful minutes early in the season. But their addition of Tyson Chandler forced a relegation to South Bay, for which the 23-year old is averaging 18.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in 16 G-League games.