Melbourne native Deng Adel is off to a flyer this season.
Representing the Long Island Nets of the NBA G League, the Sudanese-Australian forward has been a standout performer in their opening two matches. Adel signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Brooklyn Nets back in July, allowing him to play for their G League affiliate after missing out on the NBA roster.
The 6'7 forward is no stranger to the G League scene. After spending much of the 2018/19 season with Raptors 905 in the G League, Adel earned a two-way contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This ultimately led to 19 NBA appearances with the Cavs. Although he received minimal playing time and struggled on the offensive end, the NBA experience will be valuable moving forward. Last season, Adel averaged 12.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists while playing 31 minutes per game in the G League.
“Learning from the players, the coaches, the terminology because it’s a different game from college," Adel told NBA Australia in September. "I’ve learned a lot about positions, what I need to do, what my role is on whatever team I’m on - which is basically being a three-and-D guy, defending, running in transition and crashing boards.
“So for into this year I’ve just come in more prepared, worked on my game a lot over the summer and coming in with a good mindset and ready to be aggressive. This is my second go around now so it all comes a little more naturally.”
Although the sample size is small, his first two games show positive signs for the season ahead. In the season opener, Adel recorded 18 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in 35 minutes. He then backed it up two days later, with 27 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in 36 minutes. The most encouraging sign here is that Adel's coach trusts him to play significant minutes, and should have opportunities to impress potential NBA suitors.
More importantly, Adel made six of his first 11 three-point attempts. Again, we must be wary of the small sample size, but this efficiency is coupled with increased volume. The forward only attempted 3.4 treys per game last season, making his 32% conversion rate even less impressive.
If he continues to play at this level, the former Louisville Cardinal might not be in the G League for long. Given that Adel earned an NBA call up last season, a recall could be on the cards very soon. Hopefully he can follow in the foosteps of Mitch Creek, who played for the Long Island Nets last season and earned four NBA appearances with Brooklyn.