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Two-way player Ray Spalding made the most of his two months with the Charlotte Hornets organization, putting up well-rounded numbers as one of the Greensboro Swarm’s rotational power forwards in the latter half of the G League season.
Taken with the third-to-last pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Spalding began the 2019-20 campaign in the Houston Rockets organization, posting averages of 15.5 points on 63 percent shooting, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.7 blocks in 20 appearances with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Hornets eventually claimed him on Jan. 15 and inked him to a two-way contract.
The now 23-year-old made his debut for the Greensboro Swarm five days later, finishing with 15 points and five rebounds off the bench in a win over the Iowa Wolves. His best outing for the Swarm came on Feb. 13, when he recorded 25 points, a season-high-tying 16 rebounds, four assists and three steals in a loss to the league-leading Wisconsin Herd as the team’s starting power forward.
Spalding closed out the campaign with three straight double-doubles, bringing his Swarm averages to 12.0 points on 51.3 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 block in 16 appearances, only six of which were starts. He underwent a successful arthroscopic procedure on his left knee on June 11, although the exact injury wasn’t disclosed at the time.
“I really appreciated the organization and how I was welcomed in,” Spalding said. “It was great. I really enjoyed myself down in Greensboro. They showed me a lot. It was actually my first year being in the G League full time. It was a cool experience, a great experience. Facilities were great, coaches were phenomenal. They were really big on individual work, and I really improved in areas I was looking to improve in. I can’t thank them enough.”
Spalding’s versatility and two-way playmaking ability stood out noticeably during his run with the Swarm. Counting his time with Rio Grande, he ranked 14th in the G League in offensive rebounding (3.1), 18th in total rebounding (8.4) and 15th in blocks (1.4).
“My game developed pretty well,” he added. “At the beginning, I was playing pretty well. Then, I started having a knee problem. I really enjoyed my time. I think I improved a lot with my shooting, my rebounding, just playing hard and then also just being able to sit down and communicate with coaches and watch film. Those guys really helped me a lot.”
Having spent time in the Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston and now Charlotte organizations, Spalding has been forced to adapt a lot in his two-year professional career, although he is hopeful to soon settle down somewhere for the long run.
“I’m really just looking for that next step and to make a mark for myself,” he stated. “I’ve been bouncing around from my rookie year to my second year in the league. I’m really looking forward to this summer, getting better, training camp and actually staying in a place and being able to grow as an athlete.”