Playing in the NBA in front of thousands of fans is a dream for many young players. For some, that dream comes quickly. Others must take time to hone their skills. That’s the case for Delaware Bluecoats’ Michael Foster Jr., who is making a splash early for the G League squad.
Humble Beginnings in Milwaukee
Michael Foster’s journey to the Bluecoats began in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee native started his career in the NBA G League with the Ignite, averaging 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds during the 2021-2022 season. But he went undrafted.
That didn’t stop Foster. Instead, he kept working on his craft. After the 2021-2022 season, he spent time losing weight and honing his jumpshot. Foster knew his opportunity would come, so he had to keep grinding in the weight room and on the court.
Michael Foster’s opportunity came during the summer when he signed a contract with the Philadelphia Sixers. He didn’t spend much time on the court— just 19 total minutes in four preseason games— but the experience with the team was invaluable to him.
Arriving in Philadelphia
Michael Foster’s contract was converted to a two-way contract back in October. It was clear that the Sixers saw a great deal of potential in the 6’8 forward. For Foster, the contract was a reminder that he must continue to work for his dreams.
“Just staying ready, that’s really it,” Foster said. “Just putting the work in like I’m on the 76ers, and when I go to Delaware, just do the work like I’m still with the 76ers. It’s really no change, just different places of the game. Mentally, I’m strong. I’ve got to develop.”
The Bluecoats are two games into their regular season, but Foster is making the most of his two-way contract. The Sixers’ roster is full of veterans, so there was always a chance that he wasn’t going to play many minutes with the NBA team. However, he is maximizing his time on the court with the Bluecoats.
In just two games, Michael Foster is averaging 22.5 points a game. That’s thanks to working on his shot during the summer with the Sixers. The exaggerated overhead release is gone, allowing him to develop his pick-and-pop game.
The biggest area of growth in Foster’s game so far this season is on the defensive side of the court. Defense was a point of focus during Foster’s summer with the Sixers. So far this season, Michael Foster has recorded five blocks, 13 defensive rebounds, and one steal for the Bluecoats. Versatility on the court is valued more than ever now in the NBA, and Foster is showing the desire to become a well-rounded player.
Michael Foster has embraced the grind
Of course, Foster would love to be on the court in Atlanta as the Sixers take on the Hawks, but he knows his opportunity is coming. On opening night, 234 players— a record 47% of rosters— have NBA G League experience. There are nine other players on the current Sixers roster that have played in the developmental league.
The competition in the G League is also at a high level. At one point in his rookie campaign, Foster shared the court with NBA veterans Serge Ibaka and Greg Monroe. The league uses an iron sharpens iron training, and it’s clearly working for the NBA.
“It shows you that the NBA really wants guys to succeed,” Foster said in a recent article with the NBA. “You’ve got a lower level that develops you for the next, where guys on the floor are All-Stars, superstars, Hall of Famers. I didn’t know. That’s actually impressive, for sure.”
The journey to an NBA roster is not yet over for Foster. In fact, it’s just the beginning.