Valley Suns pick Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay in G League Expansion Draft

Jun 13, 2024, 3:17 PM | Updated: 3:25 pm

Jahlil Okafor #13 of the Detroit Pistons...

Jahlil Okafor #13 of the Detroit Pistons defends against Andre Drummond #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second half of the home opener during an NBA game at Little Caesars Arena on December 26, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns’ new G League squad, the Valley Suns, filled out their roster via the expansion draft on Thursday with several notable past NBA names.

Top-10 NBA Draft picks from 2015 in Jahlil Okafor (third overall, Philadelphia) and Emmanuel Mudiay (seventh overall, Denver) were among the 14 players added.

Denzel Valentine, a 14th overall pick in 2016 by Chicago, was selected by the Valley team as well. He’s notably a Michigan State product like Suns owner Mat Ishbia.

Theo Maledon, who spent part of last season on a two-way contract with the Phoenix Suns, was also reacquired from the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the expansion draft. He appeared in four games for Phoenix.

G League teams had until Wednesday to list up to 12 protected players before the draft, and no team could lose more than two players to the G League Suns squad.

The Valley Suns submitted a list of players they wanted to select by noon MST Thursday. It gives them the players’ rights but does not guarantee those players will play for the team next season.

Okafor is the biggest name, with 247 games of NBA experience that ended in 2020-21 with 27 games played for the Detroit Pistons. Suns and Mercury president Josh Bartelstein was in the Pistons’ front office during Okafor’s tenure there.

Knee injuries and then inconsistencies tanked his career after a promising rookie year with Philadelphia (17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game).

Several of the players have experience as lead ball-handlers at the NBA level, including Maledon. That could be tapped into if the NBA squad likes what it’s seeing from its G League players who will play at nearby Mullett Arena in Tempe.

Mudiay has 302 games of experience in the NBA for the Nuggets, Knicks, Jazz and Kings and averaged 10.9 points and 3.8 assists per game. He last played two games in the NBA for Sacramento in 2021-22 and has since played in the G League (Iowa Wolves) and two teams in a Puerto Rican pro league.

Wigginton, 26, is a scoring point guard and played some with the Bucks in the past few years under new Phoenix Suns head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Valley Suns G League expansion draft results

Garrison Brooks (Westchester Knicks)
Chaundee Brown Jr. (South Bay Lakers)
Gary Clark (Salt Lake City Stars)
Matt Lewis (Westchester Knicks)
Didi Louzada (Cleveland Charge)
Theo Maledon (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
Emmanuel Mudiay (Iowa Wolves)
Mychal Mulder (Capital City Go-Go)
Jahlil Okafor (Delaware Blue Coats)
Justin Smith (Delaware Blue Coats)
Denzel Valentine (Raptors 905)
Quinndary Weatherspoon (South Bay Lakers)
Lindell Wigginton (Cleveland Charge)
Trevion Williams (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

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