The NBA's G League Ignite started their regular season last Friday after competing in a preseason slate that saw them go against the Perth Wildcats and compete in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup. After the Ignite saw four players selected in the 2023 NBA draft -- highlighted by Scoot Henderson going No. 3 overall to the Portland Trail Blazers -- this year's roster is the deepest in the program's four-year history.
Ron Holland and Matas Buzelis are currently projected as the Nos. 1 and 3 picks in Jonathan Givony's most recent 2024 NBA mock draft. Holland, a 6-foot-8 forward from Duncanville (Texas) High School, decommited from Texas in April and signed with Ignite. Buzelis, a 6-10 guard at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, signed with Ignite in June 2022 and bypassed playing college basketball.
The draft talent doesn't stop there as there are six other players in contention to be selected next year and beyond.
Givony previews what to expect this season from Ignite after, what we learned in the preseason and how the team plans to handle having a roster full of talent that needs the basketball to shine.
What should we expect from G League Ignite in Year 4?
Ignite has fortified itself as a top-tier option for the most elite prospects both domestically and internationally, reeling in easily its deepest and most talented roster. The franchise also placed greater emphasis on adding competitiveness and unselfishness in addition to talent and projected high draft picks.
With 55 games scheduled, Ignite will play its most games to date, and that doesn't include any potential postseason competition. The schedule includes five preseason games (Perth Wildcats and the FIBA Intercontinental Cup), 16 Showcase Cup games (mid-November to mid-December), 32 regular-season games (late December to late March) and two games at the G League Winter Showcase (Dec. 19-22 in Orlando).
By comparison, previous iterations of Ignite played 52 games last season, 30 in 2021-22, and 18 in 2020-21.
This group of players has also been training together all summer, spending the past few months together in Las Vegas and several weeks in Los Angeles competing against NBA-caliber competition at the Rico Hines private runs at UCLA -- some of the best off-season pickup games in the country. Ignite is hoping the additional time the players have spent together has both given the players a valuable development component for sharpening their skill set, as well as helping build chemistry G League teams (who come together usually in late October) don't usually enjoy.
Expect NBA teams to spend a considerable amount of time in Las Vegas this season scouting Ignite in practices, exhibitions and regular-season play. They'll have an opportunity to evaluate its players in a variety of competitions and lineup configurations all season long.