After a name change (from NBA Minor League to NBA G League), a partnership deal with Gatorade and some team rebranding, the 17th season of the NBA G League will kick off on November 3. But wait–what even is the NBA G League? Let’s break it down…

What is the NBA G League?

The official minor league of the NBA, the NBA G League (formally known as the NBA Development League before 2017) is a partnership between the NBA and Gatorade that works to prepare officials, coaches and players for the NBA. The NBA G League has been fundamental for developing players for the NBA since 2001. There are 26 teams in the NBA G League, each affiliated with an NBA team.

Around 30 percent of the league makes it to the NBA, with 135 players from the G League in the NBA at the start of the 2016 season. Not only does this league polish players for the NBA, but the NBA also uses the G League as a way to test new rules before introducing them in the NBA.

How Does the NBA G League Work?

When Does it Start?

The NBA G League season runs from November through April, and includes three-round playoff games in April with a best-of-three series format. Each team plays in a 50-game schedule and all games are televised nationally. The NBA G League also competes in the All-Star Game weekend and has since 2007; including their own three-point and slam dunk contests.

There are eight different paths the NBA G League players can take as they work towards entering the NBA, such as being Affiliate Players, Local Tryout Players, NBA G League Draft Picks, NBA Assignees, Free Agents, NBA Draft Rights Players, Returning Players and NBA Draft-Eligible Players. NBA players can also go on assignment where they’re sent to an NBA G League affiliate, where they stay on contract with the NBA and can be recalled at any time. Starting this season, there will also be players who can sign Two-Way Contracts, spending most of the season with the NBA G League and a minimum of 45 days with their NBA team.

Where Are the Teams Located?

There are 26 teams in the NBA G League and they are each affiliated with their city’s NBA team. Full list below with corresponding divisions and conferences below.

NBA G League Team Roster & Divisions

  • The Eastern Conference
    • Atlantic Division: Long Island Nets (Brooklyn Nets), Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics), Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors), Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks)
    • Central Division: Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers), Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers), Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons), Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee Bucks), Windy City Bulls (Chicago Bulls)
    • Southeast Division: Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers), Erie BayHawks (Atlanta Hawks), Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets), Lakeland Magic (Orlando Magic)
  • The Western Conference
    • Midwest Division: Iowa Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves), Oklahoma City Blue (Oklahoma City Thunder), Memphis Hustle (Memphis Grizzlies), Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami Heat)
    • Southwest Division: Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs), Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets), Salt Lake City Stars (Utah Jazz), Texas Legends (Dallas Mavericks)
    • Pacific Division: Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (L.A. Clippers), Northern Arizona Suns (Phoenix Suns), Reno Bighorns (Sacramento Kings), Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors), South Bay Lakers (Los Angeles Lakers)

All teams are organized by division, which then determines what conference they’re a part of. The Eastern Conference is comprised of the Atlantic, Central and Southeast divisions. The Western Conference is comprised of the Midwest, Southwest and Pacific division.

When Does the 2017-2018 NBA G League Start

The NBA G League will kick off their 17th season on November 3. The Erie BayHawks (Atlanta Hawks) will take on The Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons) on opening night at 7pm. This is just one of five games on the docket for November 3;explore the full schedule here.

(Image courtesy of Eric Wong via Flickr.)