As the Clemson Tigers basketball team fights to make the NCAA tournament we (ok, I, screwing around on the internet) thought it would be interesting to look back at some of the players who’ve left Clemson lately and how they’re doing in the NBA. With Trevor Booker currently out of the league (and not playing in China either after a foot surgery) Clemson doesn’t have a player on an outright NBA contract. What Clemson does have is a pair of recent stars in Jaron Blossomgame and Donte Grantham signed to two way deals with the Cavaliers and Thunder, respectively. Two way deals require players to spend the majority of time in the G League, but they can spend 45 days at the NBA level. The G League, formerly the D League, has seen its fortunes rise in recent years. This year a record 40% of players on the roster to open the season have spent time in the G League, more than doubling the figure from six years ago. So, here’s an update on some of our tallest adult sons. We may do an international version of this later, although I honestly think that might just turn into me running Polish through google translate and telling you I also think Gabe DeVoe is good.
After spending last season performing well with the Austin Spurs, starting all but two games and helping them win the 2017-2018 G League championship, Blossomgame was acquired by the Canton Charge and subsequently the Cleveland Cavaliers. If you don’t watch much professional basketball the Cavaliers have been bad this year, full stop. They have won 14 games this year and might be hard pressed to win twenty. Blossomgame hasn’t though, continuing his strong G League work and making four NBA appearances. He’s been written up in Forbes and managed a double-double off the bench in a loss to the Bucks. He even played two games (one at the G League level, one in the NBA) in a single day. While Blossomgame’s shooting hasn’t come around like you would hope it would after his breakout junior season his defense and rebounding have translated to the professional level. He was seen recently winning a G League game via tip in, and is likely back at the G League because he’s used up the 45 days allowed with the Cavs under a two way contract. There’s going to be a place for Blossomgame somewhere in the NBA next year.
Donte Grantham hasn’t gotten nearly as much professional burn, having spent only two minutes (and getting no stats besides a missed three) on the floor for the Thunder. He got called up December 28th and only debuted on February 7th, playing in a win against the Grizzlies. The Thunder, unlike the Cavaliers, are a pretty good team. They’re fighting for playoff position and don’t have the luxury of giving a two-way player minutes to see what they have. Between that and his recent battles with ankle injuries we may not see a lot more of Grantham professionally this season. Still, it’s hard to see him falling out of the league which is itself an accomplishment. The former top 100 recruit went undrafted after a torn ACL his senior year, but hasn’t seemed slowed by it since. Guys with his combination of height, athleticism, wingspan and shooting ability are all the rage in the NBA and it’s hard to see Grantham not sticking around based on his potential. In the G League he’s played 25 games, starting 21 and averaging 10 points/6 rebounds as he works his way back from injury and adjusts to the next level.