Since Dec. 10, 80 players have signed 10-day contracts with NBA teams via the hardship exception, as the new rule has provided a huge opportunity for G Leaguers to capitalize on the dozens of NBA players currently in health and safety protocols.
While the reduction in the number of quarantine days (from 10 to six) required for COVID-positive players will likely reduce the demand as players exit protocols quicker, there are still a select few NBA teams who have yet to call up a single player (due to a lack of outbreaks), while a few more have only called up a single player thus far. Should we see the type of outbreaks occurring on these healthier teams that ravaged the Orlando Magic, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors and others, there could certainly be another surge in callups in the coming weeks.
With that in mind, here are some of the top candidates -- including some 2021 first-round picks -- to receive call-ups according to NBA executives.
First-round rookie check-in
Of the 60 draftees from 2021, 24 have played at least five games in the G League this season, several of which took to the hardwood at the G League Showcase. How did the 2021 first-round picks fare in Las Vegas? Will any be able to crack the rotation after the New Year?
When the Spurs drafted Primo No. 12 overall ahead of more productive collegiate prospects like Chris Duarte, Corey Kispert or Moses Moody, they were essentially buying in a year early on a prospect who could have ultimately been selected in the top-5 if he stayed at Alabama and entered the draft in 2022. The thought amongst Primo's biggest supporters league-wide was that the 6-5 Canadian guard had far more shot-creation than most scouts saw during his freshman season with the Crimson Tide, where he came off the bench and played mostly a catch-and-shoot role.