Jalen Green

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Brian Shaw reportedly to coach new G-League ‘Select Team’ of young stars

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The NBA’s new G-League “Select Team” has already drawn some elite talent from the 2021 NBA Draft class such as Jalen Green (currently projected as a top-three pick), Daishen Nix (lottery pick), and Isaiah Todd (late first round/second round) into its specialized training program.

Who will be running that program and coaching the team? Former Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Shaw had a 14-year NBA playing career, winning three rings with the Shaq/Kobe Lakers. He went on to join Phil Jackson’s coaching staff with the Lakers before getting the head job in Denver, which lasted less than two seasons. He reportedly beat out David Fizdale and Sam Mitchell for the job (although they could have roles with the team).

The Select Team roster will have some top prospects — ones who decided to get paid (Green will make a reported $500,000) and skip college — plus a handful of veteran players as mentors. The goal is to get the young players NBA-level training and games (they will play exhibitions against other G-League teams but not be part of the standings).

Penny Hardaway says G-League recruitment of players ‘almost like tampering’

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Jalen Green, a player considered a top-three pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, backed out of his commitment to the University of Memphis and instead joined a G League select team, which will pay him $500,000 next season (whenever that starts). Not long after, Isaiah Todd (Michigan) and Daishen Nix (UCLA) did the same thing, although for less money.

Penny Hardaway, the coach at Memphis, doesn’t like it. Not exactly shocking news, but he vented about it to Jason Munz of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal (as part of a video Q&A with reporters).

“I didn’t think the G League was built — and I could be wrong — to go and recruit kids that want to go to college out of going to college,” Hardaway said. “I thought they were going to be the organization that was going to be, if you want to go overseas or you absolutely did not want to play college 100 percent, that this would be the best situation for you before you go into the NBA.

“But taking guys out of their commitments (or) they’ve already signed and continuing to talk to their parents, it’s almost like tampering. I really don’t agree with that.”

I can’t believe that the NBA would come in with its money and dirty the pristine waters of college recruiting. (Re-read that sentence in your best sarcastic voice, in case you missed it the first time.)

The G League was built as a developmental minor league, a place teams could put players who needed the kind of run and focused attention an NBA team cannot provide in the middle of the season.

These high schoolers need development, and if they’d rather get paid to do it in the G League as opposed to at Memphis — or UCLA or Kentucky or wherever — then it is their call. That’s not tampering, it’s options.

The NBA maybe came in late, but guys change their mind about what college they will attend all the time (as do coaches, who jump program to program up the ladder). It’s funny to hear any college coach complaining that recruiting being a dirty business — we all know it is, and that the money flows from shoe companies and boosters to players already. The NBA was upfront about paying players, at least.

Soon enough, the NBA will be drafting high schoolers again (although when remains a question mark, that process is rumored to have gotten stuck a little), and the NCAA will have to adapt. This is part of that. Maybe the NCAA needs to work with the NBA to put in a “baseball rule” that says a player who goes to college has to spend two (or three) seasons there before jumping to the NBA. The top talents may want nothing to do with that but they are jumping to the G-League already and will go pro. This way, college programs get a little stability and a chance to develop players on their own. Whatever they do, the NCAA needs to adapt because the game is changing.