Emoni Bates catches attention of hoops world with latest G League masterpiece: ‘League him now’

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Emoni Bates caught the attention of the hoops world with his latest G League masterpiece.

In 42 minutes of playing time for the Cleveland Charge — the Cavaliers’ G League affiliate — in their game against the Santa Cruz Warriors on Saturday, Bates scored a team-high 38 points while shooting 13-of-24 from the floor and 8-of-15 from outside the 3-point arc. He also contributed six rebounds, four assists and two steals in the Charge’s 12-point victory.

The forward has put up stellar numbers in 14 total games played with the Charge. He has averaged 25.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in the G League while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Bates — who was selected by the Cavaliers with the No. 49 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft — has appeared in just 10 of the NBA team’s 36 games in the 2023-24 regular season. He is averaging 1.8 points, 1.0 rebound and 0.6 assists per game for the Cavaliers while shooting just 24.0 percent from the floor and 25.0 percent from deep.

The 19-year-old hasn’t appeared in a game for the Cavaliers since he logged six minutes of playing time in a three-point win over the Dallas Mavericks back on Dec. 27. He tallied zero points, one rebound and three assists while missing all three of his shots from the field.

The most minutes that Bates has played in a regular-season NBA game is 23, as he logged that many in a loss against the New York Knicks on Oct. 31. The youngster seemingly has a bright future ahead of him, but he doesn’t have very many reps under his belt at the NBA level just yet.

After picking up a home win against Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, the Cavaliers are tied with the Knicks for the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference at the moment at 21-15.

Cleveland will get a chance to extend its winning streak to four games when the team takes on the Brooklyn Nets in Paris on Jan. 11.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.