NBA G-League

Takeaways from 2021 G League Draft: LiAngelo Ball, Lance Stephenson, two Canadians selected

The 2021 NBA G League Draft took place on Saturday, Oct. 23 with a handful of intriguing names drawn from the player pool.

The three-round draft saw 79 players selected to 28 G League teams, headlined by LiAngelo Ball, the brother of Lonzo and LaMelo, Zaire Wade, the son of Dwyane, and two Canadians, Nate Darling and Karim Mané, all landing with different organizations.

We have you covered with takeaways from the draft below.

Takeaways from 2021 NBA G League Draft

Nate Darling to Agua Caliente Clippers; Karim Mané to Memphis Hustle

There were two Canadians selected in the 2021 G League Draft, Darling and Mané.

Darling (Halifax, NS) was taken by the Agua Caliente Clippers - the LA Clippers' affiliate - with the No. 5 overall pick in the draft. Mané (Montreal, QC) was taken by the Memphis Hustle - the Memphis Grizzlies' affiliate - with the No. 29 pick in the draft.

Darling appeared in seven NBA games for the Charlotte Hornets last season after going undrafted in 2020. He made Canadian history during his NBA debut, becoming the first Nova Scotia-born player to appear in a game. The 22-year-old spent the majority of his time with the Greensboro Swarm last season, averaging 8.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists over 13 games.

Also going undrafted in 2020, Mané appeared in 10 games for the Orlando Magic last season, tallying 11 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks total for the year. He spent most of his time with the reigning G League champion Lakeland Magic, where he averaged 5.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.9 steals over 15 games.

LiAngelo Ball drafted by Greensboro Swarm

As expected when he was waived by the Hornets, Ball will end up in the same organization as his younger brother, LaMelo, after being drafted by the Greensboro Swarm with the 14th pick in the 2021 NBA G League Draft.

The 22-year-old's selection comes on the heels of a solid showing at the 2021 Las Vegas Summer League, where he averaged 9.6 points over five games while shooting 34.5 percent from 3.

He scored double figures in each of his first two games, including a 16-point debut while going 5-for-8 from long range against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound forward will look to join his two brothers in the NBA, taking a different path by way of the G League for the first time in his career.

Zaire Wade drafted by Salt Lake City Stars

Wade, the son of future Hall of Famer Dwyane, was selected by the Salt Lake City Stars with the 10th pick in the 2021 NBA G League Draft.

It was previously reported by The Athletic's Shams Charania that Wade would join the Utah Jazz's organization, as Dwyane is now a part-owner of the franchise.

The 19-year-old is a 6-foot-3 combo guard who played high school basketball at Sierra Canyon. He had a handful of Division I offers but elected to take the G League route instead, going straight to the pros. Wade was ranked as a three-star recruit by ESPN after seeing limited playing time during his senior season at Sierra Canyon in 2019-20.

NBA veterans Lance Stephenson and Brandon Knight drafted

Stephenson and Knight are the two most familiar names selected in the G League Draft as both veterans look to make their return to the NBA.

Knight was selected by the Sioux Falls Skyforce - the Miami Heat's G League affiliate - with the No. 6 pick in the draft. Stephenson was selected by the Grand Rapids Gold - the Denver Nuggets' G League affiliate - with the No. 13 pick in the draft.

Knight, 29, has eight seasons and 446 games of NBA experience, most recently playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Pistons in 2019-20. Knight was drafted by the Pistons with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, going on to have a strong first five first seasons of his career. Knight has averaged 14.1 points, 4.0 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game over his eight-year career in the NBA.

Stephenson, 31, has nine years and 508 games of NBA experience, most recently appearing for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018-19. Stephenson is most remembered for his key role on both sides of the ball during the Indiana Pacers' runs to the Eastern Conference Finals back in 2013 and 2014, taking on the assignment of trying to contain LeBron James during his prime.

Stephenson had himself a solid career after being selected with the 40th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and he'll look to pursue a path back to the league for one last go-around by way of the G League.

Shamorie Ponds earns No. 1 pick

Ponds was taken by the Delaware Blue Coats - the Philadelphia 76ers' affiliate - with the No. 1 overall pick in the G League Draft.

Ponds has limited NBA experience, appearing in four games for the Toronto Raptors in 2019-20, but he has a strong G League resume that warrants his first-overall selection.

Playing for Raptors 905 in 2019-20, Ponds averaged 14.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals over 18 games. He spent his 2021 season playing overseas in Bosnia but has returned to the United States to pursue a career in the NBA by way of the G League.

Ponds was a prolific scorer in college for St. John's University, averaging 19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game over three seasons.

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