Mike James has had an interesting journey to make the NBA to say the least.
From high school basketball in Portland, to junior college basketball at Eastern Arizona Junior College (I played against him in junior college by the way), to smaller Lamar University in Texas, with stops in Croatia, Italy, Spain and Greece before finally finding his way to the Phoenix Suns summer league roster and eventually a spot on the Suns active roster, well sort of.
James was one of many players around the league who was signed to the NBA’s new two-way contract across the league, which meant a player was a member of the team’s G-League affiliate but also able to play on the NBA roster.
Because of his impressive play and the fact that Eric Bledsoe was no longer playing for the team and Brandon Knight was out for the season with an injury, James found himself winning the starting point guard job early this season over second-year player Tyler Ulis.
The Suns had to make a decision, James had played too many games and minutes on the NBA roster and had reached the 45 day deadline, forcing the Suns to decide whether to let him go, sign him to a G-League contract or sign him to a guaranteed NBA deal, which they did.
James is now a trailblazer as the first player in NBA history to earn an NBA contract from a two-way G-League deal, a pretty cool honor.
He is averaging 10.5 points, 4.0 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 21.8 minutes per game.