During the 2016-17 season, the New York Knicks utilized their G League affiliate by sending multiple players to Westchester. How did they fare?
In their first two seasons in the NBA G League, the New York Knicks used their affiliate to their own benefits. During the 2014-15 season, the Knicks signed Langston Galloway a 10-day contract. After two successful 10-day contracts, New York signed the Saint Joseph’s product to a partially guaranteed, two-year deal. The following season, the Knicks signed both Jimmer Fredette and Thanasis Antetokounmpo to a 10-day deal.
In year three, the New York Knicks utilized their affiliate in another way by assigning their players to Westchester on multiple occasions throughout the season. Throughout the season, Maurice Ndour, Marshall Plumlee and Ron Baker saw time in Westchester. After signing with New York on Feb. 27, 2017, Chasson Randle spent one game on assignment.
Before the Milwaukee Bucks introduced their NBA G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks used the flex assignment rule twice with the Westchester Knicks. During the 2015-16 season, Damien Inglis spent 13 games with the Dub Knicks. In the 2016-17 campaign, Rashad Vaughn played in three games for Westchester.
The five players played a combined 41 games in the NBA G League. Not only was it beneficial for the players since each one received valuable playing time, which helped them stay ready for the NBA action, but the assignment players had an impact on the Westchester Knicks.
As Chris Reichert of 2 Ways & 10 Days noted, the Westchester Knicks received a significant boost in win percentage when their assignment players were with the team. In the graphic done by Reichert, Westchester ranked No. 1 in difference when the team had assignees play for the team.
Out of the five assignees, Maurice Ndour spent the most time in the NBA G League. By playing 18 games in Westchester, Ndour stated that he got more confidence with his game.
“Every time I come here I get more and more confident, especially after a bad game last night. Couldn’t get anything going. I can’t get mad over that,” Maurice Ndour said in January of 2017. “You just got to play the next one. You lose one game. The next one you bounce back and it’s very important to bounce back. We just need to execute down the stretch.”
Throughout his tenure in Westchester, Maurice Ndour displayed his versatility and was able to provide a rebounding presence for the team. While Ndour was known for his defense, he was able to showcase his offensive skills as well. The 6-foot-9 forward played his first game on assignment in Westchester’s seventh game of the season against the Erie BayHawks.
Maurice Ndour was able to have a huge impact on the team on both side of the floor. With the Knicks lacking rebounders, he came in and helped the team in that department. In his debut in with the Dub Knicks, Ndour finished 12 points, six rebounds, four blocks, and two steals in 21 minutes.
Maurice Ndour’s first stretch of games in Westchester came in January of 2017. In the stretch of six days, he suited up for the Dub Knicks in four games. In January, the New York Knicks had a tough month while playing 17 games in 31 days. By seeing action in the NBA G League, Ndour was getting playing time in Westchester to stay ready when called upon during New York’s tough month.
During that stretch, Maurice Ndour had one of his best games of the season. With the way the NBA G League is, Ndour, who is a power forward, saw time at center in certain situations. In their Jan. 4, meeting against the Grand Rapids Drive, Ndour, who wasn’t known for his 3-point shooting, shot well from deep.
With the Ohio product shooting well, it helped the team stretch the floor. Ndour finished the game with 26 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
In January, Maurice Ndour stated his biggest takeaway from that stint was playing down the stretch when the game is on the line.
“I think the one thing I takeaway is down the stretch when the game is on the line,” said Ndour. “That’s when we need to be more focused, more alert. That’s when we need to communicate more on the defensive end and execute better on defense, so it’s game-to-game. We just got to learn and try to get better at things.”
Late in the season, Maurice Ndour played in five straight games. He suited up for New York three times while playing for Westchester twice.
Maurice Ndour looked solid in back-to-back games in March. Not only did Ndour shoot well, but he had an impact on the boards and defensive end. By sending the Ohio product to the NBA G League multiple times throughout the season, it turned out to be beneficial for him. Maurice Ndour received playing time and he took advantage of him by shooting well and have an impact on the defensive side of the ball.
In 18 games with Westchester, Ndour averaged 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks on 46.9 percent shooting from the field in 28.1 minutes per game. He totaled three double-doubles in his time in the NBA G League.
When Marshall Plumlee made the trip to Westchester, he often made the trip with one of his teammates, whether it was Maurice Ndour, Ron Baker, or Chasson Randle.
“Everyone in the Westchester Knick community is very welcoming, but it always makes it easier when you’re someone coming from your exact same situation” Marshall Plumlee said in his interview with Westchester Knicks play-by-play announcer David Resnick. “Anytime I get to come here with Maurice [Ndour] or with Ron [Baker], it helps me to have someone to talk to when I’m struggling with adversities; the highs and lows. They’re right there with me, so I’m really grateful for Maurice coming with me and I’m grateful for Ron Baker as well.”
When Maurice Ndour was assigned to the Westchester Knicks, his teammate Marshall Plumlee often made the trip with him. Both Ndour and Plumlee played in 12 games together during their time in Westchester. On a three occasions, Ron Baker joined Ndour and Plumlee to the NBA G League.
Like Ndour, when Marshall Plumlee saw action in Westchester, he added a rebounding presence to the team. Plumlee made his first appearances with Westchester in the team’s home-and-home against the Greensboro Swarm. Not only did he record a double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) in his first appearance, but he nearly did the same thing the following night, while having a big impact on the offensive end.
He was supposed to make an appearance on Nov. 20 against the Canton Charge, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the Duke product received a call from the New York Knicks telling him that the team needed him since Joakim Noah was sent home due to an illness.
In an article done by Marc Berman of The New York Post, Plumlee detailed how he received the news.
“I was asleep,’’ Marshall Plumlee said. “I was going to sleep in a little bit. Imagine being woken up and saying, ‘Hey, we need you to guard Dwight Howard.’’’
After taking the express train to Grand Central, he proceeded to take a cab to Madison Square Garden. When that didn’t go as planned due to traffic, Plumlee sprinted for the final few blocks to the Garden.
“I sprinted over as fast as I could,’’ Plumlee said. “… My phone was blowing up: ‘Are you almost here? Are you almost here?’ I don’t think they realize those texts just slow you down so I put the phone away.
“It was crazy,’’ he continued. “I feel I could write a book about it.’’
Marshall Plumlee’s best stretch of games came in the second half of the NBA G League season. Not only was the team victorious in two of his final three games with the Dub Knicks, but he was able to have an impact in terms of his production and development.
In 15 games in Westchester, Plumlee averaged 12.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks on 56.2 percent shooting from the field in 30.7 minutes per game. He totaled five double-doubles during his time in the NBA G League.
As 2 Ways & 10 Days pointed out, Marshall Plumlee (No.16) and Maurice Ndour (No. 23) were ranked in the top of the NBA G League in terms of NBA assignees’ win percentage.
Ron Baker spent most of his rookie season (52 games) with the New York Knicks, but saw some time in the NBA G League. One thing that Baker showed during his short stint in the NBA G League was his ability to run the team’s offense.
When he ran the offense, Baker dished nice passes inside to Marshall Plumlee, drove baseline for reverse layups, and kicked it out to 3-point shooters. That doesn’t include the grittiness the Knicks guard showed on defense.
One of Ron Baker’s goals were learning from what he does in Westchester and trying to replicate that with the New York Knicks.
“For me, it’s great to come down cause I get minutes and tomorrow I can clip those minutes with one of my coaches and I can learn from all the situations I was put in tonight,” Ron Baker said following Westchester’s meeting with the Raptors 905 in December of 2016. “The ultimate goal of me coming down here is to obviously stay in shape and to learn from everything that I do and help me translate it to the other team [New York Knicks].”
In four games in Westchester, Baker averaged 12.5 points, 7.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.8 steals on 42.5 percent shooting from the field and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc in 36.1 minutes per game.
During the offseason, the Wichita State product re-signed with the New York Knicks on a two-year, $8.9 million deal. The deal has a player option in year two.
After playing 20 games with the Westchester Knicks during his NBA G League tenure, Chasson Randle returned to the team for one game after signing with the team on Feb. 27. For most of the season, he ran the point for the team.
When he played against the Canton Charge on assignment, the Dub Knicks had a facilitator on the squad in Travis Trice. With Trice running the offense, Randle added an extra ball handler who could play off the ball as well.
“I thought those guys played really well together,” Westchester Knicks head coach Mike Miller said following the team’s victory over Canton. “Between them they had 18 assists, two turnovers and one is 7-for-13 and one is 8-for-13. I thought they both had outstanding games played off of each other well. I think because of how they played, it made us difficult to defend tonight because of how well they played off things and efficiently.”
Randle finished with 23 points and 10 assists, along with five rebounds, on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and a near-perfect 5-of-6 from deep.
Just like the 2015-16 season, a Milwaukee Buck spent time with the Westchester Knicks on flex assignment. At the beginning of the season, Rashad Vaughn spent three games in Westchester. The Bucks guard had the opportunity to displaying his shooting ability.
In the team’s meeting against the Santa Cruz Warriors, Vaughn scored 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point range, with all 14 points coming in one quarter.
In three games in Westchester, Vaughn averaged 12.3 points and 3.3 rebounds on 46.7 percent shooting from the field and 41.2 percent from beyond the arc in 16.6 minutes per game.
After a season in which five assignees played 41 games in Westchester, Westchester Knicks head coach Mike Miller stated each experience has been better while the players received good minutes.
“I think each experience has been better and better and I say that from the standpoint of how easily they adapt to come in and its a very easy transition from them to come in and have a chance,” Miller said. “Maurice [Ndour] played 37 minutes. Marshall [Plumlee] played 28 and Chasson [Randle] played almost 38, so those guys had a lot of good minutes. As we’ve found this year, there’s a lot of good competition for them to play against where they’re getting good work. But I thought our assignment guys and our players, they really came together for stretches and played well together.”
During the 2016-17 season, the Westchester Knicks utilized their affiliate by sending four of their own players, along with one flex assignee, to the NBA G League throughout the season. By sending those players to Westchester, each one were able to get quality playing time and had a huge impact with the team by being the No. 1 team in win percentage with an assignee on the team.
Going forward, expect the New York Knicks to continue using their affiliate to develop their young players. During general manager Scott Perry’s introductory press conference, team president Steve Mills stated that the Knicks will try to best one of the best developmental organizations in the NBA.
“We’ve done a good job so far of using our G League team [Westchester Knicks] as a development platform, but we will take a new level of emphasis on that and try to be one of the best developmental organizations in the NBA, Mills said.”
The four players that spent time in Westchester on assignment greatly benefited from their time in the NBA G League. Based off what Mills said, the Westchester Knicks will play a huge part in the development of the team’s young players.