The G-League Draft, which took place Saturday, is a little different than the Draft. The biggest difference is teams take players they have a connection with. Also, the agents for players with name recognition and some clout tell other teams not to draft said player so he gets picked by the team he wants to play for. That generally works. While they can draft anyone available, teams tend to stick with guys they know from Summer League and training camp, especially early in the draft.

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That said, there were some interesting picks. Here is how the first round broke down:

1. Delaware Blue Coats (Philadelphia): Shamorie Ponds2. College Park Skyhawks (Atlanta): Tyler Hagedorn3. Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana): Gabe York4. Westchester Knicks (New York): Justin Turner5. Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (L.A. Clippers): Nate Darling6. Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami): Brandon Knight7. Texas Legends (Dallas): Eddie Stansberry8. Motor City Cruise (Detroit): Jaylen Johnson9. Iowa Wolves (Minnesota): Michael Gbinije10. Salt Lake City Stars (Utah): Zaire Wade11. Texas Legends (Dallas): Loudon Love12. Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State): Alan Griffin13. Grand Rapids Gold (Denver): Lance Stephenson14. Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte): LiAngelo Ball15. Lakeland Magic (Orlando): TJ Haws16. Cleveland Charge (Cleveland): B.J. Taylor17. Windy City Bulls (Chicago): Scottie Lindsey18. Maine Celtics (Boston): Isaiah Ross19. Iowa Wolves (Minnesota): Ruot Monyyong20. Lakeland Magic (Orlando): Marlon Stewart21. Stockton Kings (Sacramento): Joe Young22. Iowa Wolves (Minnesota): Samir Doughty23. Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte): Chudier Bile24. Capital City Go-Go (Washington): Rodney Pryor25. Windy City Bulls (Chicago): Tim Bond26. Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte): Tyree White27. Cleveland Charge (Cleveland): Montell McRae28. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston): Cullen Russo

A few notes from the first round:

• LiAngelo Ball was one of those players with name recognition trying to get somewhere specific, and he did: Ball will play for the Greensboro Swarm, the affiliate of the Charlotte Hornets, where his brother LaMelo plays. This isn’t a case of “let’s keep the star happy and sign his brother,” LiAngelo earned this shot with his play in Summer League and the Hornets training camp.

• Yes, that is nine-year veteran Lance Stephenson — he of the famed battles with LeBron James — trying to play his way back into the association, and he will be doing so in the Denver organization. Jason Terry will coach the Grand Rapids Gold; it’s the first head coaching job for the veteran. Stephenson has been out of the league for a couple of seasons, but with the demand for versatile wings in the league, you can be sure teams will watch.

• The Salt Lake City Stars drafted Zaire Wade, the son of Heat legend Dwyane Wade (it should be noted Wade is a minority owner of the Jazz). That led to this touching moment.

Zaire got drafted to the G League and he shared a moment with his pops ❤️
brhoops) October 23, 2021

• The South Bay Lakers are bringing back Andre Ingram for a ninth year with the team.

The South Bay Lakers finalized their roster for the upcoming G League season. The legend Andre Ingram is back for his NINTH season with the team. I profiled Ingram after his inspiring two-game run with the Lakers in 2018:

— Bill Oram (
billoram) October 23, 2021

• Interesting note from Marc Stein Saturday in his newsletter (which I say again is must-subscribe if you are an fan).

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The G League, like the itself, does not have a formal mandate that players must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to be able to play. But players are required to provide their vaccination status and G League teams, responsible for paying for player tests on small budgets, are widely expected to sign or draft only vaccinated players given the expenses involved and potential risk factors.