Over the last few days, there was an abundance of two-way contract signings across the NBA. The reason for these large amount of signings was because of the Jan. 15 deadline. Some of these signings were surprising, while others were well-deserved.
Usually, around this time of the year, many NBA teams are signing G-League players to 10-day deals hoping to find the next Spencer Dinwiddie, Yogi Ferrell, or Seth Curry. But with the introduction of two-way contracts this season in the NBA, there’s no need to waste a 10-day deal on a player, who could be a part of a respective team’s long-term plans.
One of the various teams, who signed a player two-way deal over the last 72 hours was the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets originally used their two two-way roster slots on international guard Yakuba Ouattara and former Eastern Washington forward Jake Wiley.
Ouattara barely played for the Long Island Nets (Brooklyn’s G League affiliate), while Wiley spent time with both Brooklyn and Long Island. Wiley appeared in five games with Brooklyn, but only played in 16 games with Long Island.
Neither Ouattara or Wiley made a huge impact on the Nets organization, leading to both players to being released. To fill Ouattara’s spot, Brooklyn signed Long Island leading scorer forward Milton Doyle to a two-way deal in December.
Doyle is averaging 21.4 points per game and shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three-point range.
Wiley, on the other hand, was released on Monday and his spot was given to Delaware 87ers forward James Webb III. It was shocking to see Brooklyn go outside of the organization to solidify their second two-way spot as they could have given it to another player on Long Island.
Those players who should have been in consideration for Brooklyn’s last two-way spot are Kamari Murphy, Tajhere McCall, and Jeremy Senglin.
Webb, the 6-foot-9, 206-pound forward, began his pro career back in the 2016 NBA Summer League with the Philadelphia 76ers. In both the Las Vegas and Utah summer leagues, Webb showed off his athleticism and offensive skills, leaving a good impression on the Sixers.
Therefore the Sixers invited Webb to training camp but was eventually assigned to the Delaware 87ers. With the Sevens, the former Boise State product’s game has evolved as he’s become a confident three-point shooter.
In his first season with the Sevens, Webb averaged 13.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in 34.8 minutes per game. He also shot 35.9 percent from three-point range on 5.1 attempts per game.
This season, however, his three-point percentage has risen to 36.6 on 5.3 attempts per game.
In 21 games with Delaware, he averaged 11.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in 27.3 minutes per game. Not to mention, he has a defensive rebounding percentage of 21.1, an ORtg of 109.2 and DRtg of 105.8.
Thus far in the G League, Webb has shown a quick release, which at first glance looks deceiving. But he’s consistently proven that if you leave him open, he will make you pay.
When you factor in Webb’s three-point shooting prowess, along with his athleticism, rebounding ability, and defensive instincts, it is no wonder why Brooklyn took a chance on him. He can defend multiple positions on the perimeter and can run the floor to get easy transition buckets.
Having those essentials qualities meshes well with a Brooklyn team that is still young and rebuilding. As of right now, they are starting to find their potential building blocks in D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Isaiah Whitehead, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Jarrett Allen and Milton Doyle.
Despite naming all these young players, Brooklyn does not have a young 3-and-D player to groom. As of now, veteran forward DeMarre Carroll is the Nets’ 3-and-D player, but he has not been the same since his days with the Atlanta Hawks is probably nearing the end of his prime as a 31-year-old player
With that being said, Webb could be the guy who could eventually eclipse Carroll to become the Nets’ new 3-and-D guy. The key word in the sentence is “could” as Webb still has a lot to prove in his trek to the NBA.
However, with what he has shown in the NBA G-League, you could see why general manager Sean Marks would be interested in Webb. He fits what the NBA is looking for in a young player as every team wants and needs a 3-and-D player. It’s a necessity in the age of positionless basketball.
Nevertheless, Webb will get his NBA chance with Brooklyn and if things work out correctly, the Nets could end up with another G-League diamond in the rough.