Coat Check | Season-In-Review
Throughout the year, “Coat Check” highlights stories surrounding the Delaware Blue Coats, the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers.
That was the primary goal for the Delaware Blue Coats this season, dating back to the team’s first training camp practice in late October.
The Blue Coats (21-29) finished the 2018-19 NBA G League season with a 124-117 victory over the Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics) on Saturday night at 76ers Fieldhouse.
Under the guidance of first-year head coach Connor Johnson, the Blue Coats were one of just four G League teams to improve its offensive rating in each third of the season: first third—106.0 (12th), second third—108.8 (10th), final third—114.4 (1st).
Delaware led the league in 3-point field goals made (735) and in percentage of points from beyond the arc (38.7 percent).
The Coats also ranked fourth in rebounds per 100 possessions (45.8) and third in blocked shots per 100 possessions (6.4).
Individually, a number of Blue Coats positioned themselves near or at the top of the league in certain statistical categories during the 18-19 campaign.
In 27 G League games, 76ers two-way contract player Shake Milton averaged 24.9 points per game, placing him second behind only (former 76er) Jordan McRae (30.4 PPG) of the Capital City Go-Go (Washington Wizards).
Milton also posted the second-highest usage rate (27.1 percent) among rookies with at least 15 games played.
Jared Brownridge drained 187 3-point field goals to lead the league, besting Miami HEAT two-way contract player Duncan Robinson (157) by thirty. Brownridge’s 187 triples are the second most in a single season in NBA G League history.
On 239 field goal attempts, Blue Coats big man Norvel Pelle registered the highest field goal percentage of any G League player this season, 70.3 percent, the third-highest mark of all time. Pelle also ranked second in blocks per game (2.9).
Pelle and his favorable field goal percentage climbed to no. 1 in the G League in true shooting percentage (72.3), while Ryan Anderson finished second in the league in rebound percentage (20.8) behind only Los Angeles Clippers two-way contract player Angel Delgado.
Milton started all 27 Blue Coats games that he appeared in this season. He averaged 24.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 5.2 assists in 34.8 minutes per game. His season-high total for points was 36 against the Erie BayHawks (Atlanta Hawks) on Dec. 29, while he dished out a season-high 13 assists against the Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee Bucks) on March 13. Milton averaged 27.0 points in 34.7 minutes per game in the final month of the G League season.
On Monday night in Orlando, Milton rejoined the Sixers and posted an NBA career-high 13 points (6-8 fg, 1-3 3fg) in 21 minutes.
Highsmith appeared in the second-most games (46) of any Blue Coats player this season, starting all but four of those contests. He averaged 12.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 32.4 minutes per game. His season-high total for points was 23, including the game-winner, against the Oklahoma City Blue (Oklahoma City Thunder) on Dec. 10. In March, Highsmith recorded two of his four double-doubles on the season. The 6-7 wing out of Wheeling Jesuit led the Blue Coats in defensive rebounds (218) and steals (53).
Head Coach Connor Johnson, on what he learned during his first season:
“In all aspects, I feel like I’ve grown and I’ve learned a lot. I have some good experience under my belt, everything from developing relationships with the players to carving out roles for them. In-game—making decisions and substitutions. End of game—what we’re trying to do and how we want to play. Just across the board, frankly, it’s been a heck of an experience.”
Select photos courtesy of Wayne Terry