This past weekend, I had the opportunity to talk to Windy City Bulls guard Scottie Lindsey ask him a few questions.
Lindsey went to High School in Illinois and had offers from Iowa, Nevada, Utah State, and Vanderbilt among others. Lindsey ended up staying local and accepted a scholarship at Northwestern. Lindsey made history at Northwestern, where he was a part of their only NCAA tournament appearance and win.
In 2018, Lindsey went undrafted, but many teams had him on their radar. He played on the Detroit Pistons summer league and then joined their G League team, the Grand Rapids Drive. Lindsey was well on his way to earning an NBA contract but unfortunately tore his ACL. A setback for any basketball player.
Once Lindsey recovered, he joined the Erie Bayhawks. Lindsey continued to put up solid numbers and decided to take his talents to Portugal where he played for a single season. Lindsey then came back to the US to continue pursuing the ultimate goal of making the NBA. He was selected by the Windy City Bulls with the 17th pick in the 2021 G League draft. Lindsey is a fan favorite and averages 11.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and over two 3-pointers per game.
Q: In your 4-year tenure at Northwestern, the team was selected to its first ever NCAA tournament appearance and the program won its first ever game in the tournament. What was your experience like and how important was it for the school and basketball program?
A: I am very proud that I not only got to attend to a great school like Northwestern, but to also make history there is really special to me. Northwestern historically has been great academically but not on the same level athletically. So, it’s always a push for the athletic programs to make a mark on the playing field too. Coming into Northwestern my classmates and I set the goal that we would be the first team to make the NCAA tournament. It was a very long process with a lot of long nights and countless hours of practice and extra shooting. But it was all worth it when we finally made it my junior year. For the school, it was a huge deal and proof that it was possible to be great academically and athletically. So many people and alumni supported us throughout that year and it’s something I’ll never forget. That tournament appearance led to all new practice facilities and a 100 million dollar renovation to Welsh Ryan Arena. I’m very proud I played a big part in that and left my mark there.
Q: What is the struggle of trying to be picked up by a G League team and then trying to be recognized by an NBA team for a chance to earn a 10-day contract? What has this process looked like for you over the course of your career especially given your torn ACL in 2018?
A: Playing in the G has its ups and downs. But It’s the closest thing to the NBA and you have the best opportunity to be seen and signed to an NBA team playing in this league. At the same time, it can feel very far away from the NBA because it’s very different in terms of pay, travel, facilities, and much more. Plus there are only so many NBA spots so everyone is basically fighting against each other for a call up. I’ve been blessed that since I graduated in 2018 I’ve always been on the NBA radar and able to get on a G League team. There are levels to the G though and different contracts players can have that offer them more opportunity to be called up. In my rookie year, I signed an exhibit 10 contract with Detroit and the Grand Rapids Drive. I played well with my opportunity and was on my way to a call up but tore my ACL before the G league showcase, where guys usually earn a call up. In the years since I’ve had to prove myself again and prove I wasn’t injured without the extra opportunity in the contract I received before. That hasn’t stopped me at all and now I’m fully healthy ready for my chance at the NBA level and I’ve shown that this year.
Q: This year there have been a number of G League players who have had the opportunity to play in the NBA primarily due to COVID protocols. As a result, it seems like the G League is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves. Are fans sleeping on the G League and the level of talent it produces? And how important is it for fans to give the G League the attention it deserves?
A: Covid Protocols have definitely given an opportunity to many G league players to make their NBA debut and it was great to see. Unfortunately for my team, we had a Covid outbreak earlier this year and many of us missed an opportunity to be called up including myself. But I definitely feel that the G is slept on, many of the guys in this league can play in the NBA. I would say it’s much more behind making the NBA than just talent though. There are many other factors that fans may not be privy to. I think fans should pay attention to the G because there are great players in this league who give this game their all to follow their dreams and goals. Also to be honest it’s entertaining basketball just like the NBA.
Q: The NBA often tries out new rules on the G League. Most notably the free throw line rule. Outside of the final two minutes of regulation (including overtime), when a foul occurs that results in a player shooting free throws, that player will attempt one free throw for all of the possible points one could earn. The goal of this rule is to speed up the game. Are you a fan of this rule and are you in favor of the NBA trying out possible rules on the G League?
A: I understand that rule may speed up the game but I’m not in favor of it. It has always felt weird shooting 1 free throw for 2 points or 3. It just doesn’t feel natural to me and I think many other players would agree. I think it makes sense for the NBA to try out rules on the G, but if they’re not going to actually switch to those rules I think they should be the same or at least the normal rules.
Q: The majority of your points on the Windy City Bulls come from behind the arc. Do you feel your outside shooting is the strongest part of your game? What part of your game do you want to improve the most while you are with the Windy City Bulls and how would this skill help you at the NBA level?
A: I feel like shooting has definitely been a main part of my game throughout my career, but it has been my role on this team so I’ve tried my best to star in that role. I pride myself on being a versatile player though, I can bring multiple skills to the table such as being a good defender and rebounder but also being able to score from all three levels and having the ability to make my teammates better as well. I’ve even played point guard on multiple teams in my career. At the end of the day, I just want to continually get better at all facets of my game and become an even more consistent player and well-rounded basketball player. Being consistent is very important because NBA teams want to know they can depend on you every day and you’ll go out and perform when you are called on.
Scottie knows his time is coming. He is definitely league ready and I can’t wait for him to show the NBA what he’s got! Thank you so much to Scottie Lindsey for these amazing responses. I encourage all fans to try to attend Windy City Bulls games. The talent there is truly incredible. Go Bulls!