Stockton’s Eric Mika Is Leading G-League In Rebounds

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Eric Mika of the Sacramento Kings G-League affiliate is currently leading the G-League in rebounds per game.

Eric Mika went undrafted in 2017 after playing at BYU where he averaged 20.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game in his closing season, followed by an overseas stint in the Italian league. The Sacramento Kings had recorded interest in the 6’10” 230lb big throughout the draft process, hosting him for workouts on two different occasions.

Mika was presented an opportunity to prove his ability to an American audience with the Kings during the California Classic at the Golden 1 Center just this past offseason, and played adequately enough to be signed onto the Stockon Kings roster for the length of the season.

Five games into the Stockton season, Mika has unquestionably taken advantage of the opportunity in front of him.

He is currently the leader of the entire G-League in rebounds per game, at 17.2. The only NBA player to currently average minimum 17 boards per game is known glass cleaner Andre Drummond. Mika also posted the most rebounds in a single game in this young season, pulling down 24 against the Santa Cruz Warriors. There has been merely one instance over the five games when Mika did not grab at least 15 boards.

Certainly, those raw numbers would not be directly translatable to the NBA, but his effort level should enable him to have an impression. Mika has also flashed a modest ability to thread the needle to backdoor cutters at times — averaging the second-highest number of assists of all centers (3.4) — and rim-runs with the best of them for the entirety of the 37.8 minutes he averages.

Player comparisons are almost always flawed, but his offensive repertoire has shades of Steven Adams; a strong screen setter and hard roller who is endless activity on the glass.

While his finishing has struggled at times, such as a game of being 3/10 from in or near the restricted area against Santa Cruz, he sticks to his strengths with nearly 89% of his shot attempts coming inside the restricted area.

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The Sacramento squad, who are now 5-2 in their last 7 games after a disappointing 0-5 start, currently sit just outside the bottom ten in rebounding percentage. Injuries to Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles have left the Kings somewhat thin in the frontcourt at times, a place where Mika’s skillset could provide some use down the line over the likes of Caleb Swanigan.

Swanigan was intended to be a glass cleaner with surprising playmaking ability. Eric Mika has become just that with a  substantially greater conditioning level that is beneficial to the Sacramento playstyle. While neither Swanigan or Mika have much of a defensive impact, Mika’s 17.2 rebounds per game (5.8 of those being offensive), 3.4 assists, along with 19.2 points so far in Stockton are somethings to take note of.

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The G-League leader in rebounds per game and assists from his position is sitting on the Stockton roster, waiting for his moment. Eric Mika was not always a rebounder of this caliber, but if he can maintain this level of performance throughout the season, he could discover himself on an NBA roster before the season’s end. Let’s hope that it’s Sacramento’s.