Note: This piece is the 4th part of an ongoing series breaking down players from different backgrounds that could receive two-way deals this off-season. Click this link if you want to read part one, this one for part two, or this for part three. Also, I want to clarify that players like Mailk Newman and Jalen Adams, that have signed overseas deals for the 2020-21 season, weren’t eligible to be featured in this series.
Dusty Hannahs - Memphis Hustle: 21.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 47% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc on 7 attempts per game
In the second consecutive piece, we feature a player that was one of our candidates for G League Most Valuable Player of the Year. As was mentioned in that finalist piece, Hannahs was one of the biggest reasons behind the Hustle finishing the pandemic-shortened year with a franchise-best 26-15 record due to combining volume with a career-best 63% True Shooting Percentage. That efficiency allowed him to be a crucial part of the Hustle as they were ten points per 100 possessions when he was on the court (116.3 points per 100) compared to when he was either sitting on the sidelines or with the Grizzlies.
Combined with being a stellar scoring threat that shined from beyond the arc and as an on-ball driver, Hannahs is someone that’s still clearly progressing as a player despite being a 26-year-old player that has already played three years as a pro. Those reasons along with him being a prototypical type of player that can fit into a team’s 2nd unit is why Hannahs is one of the players featured in this series.
Jemerrio Jones - Wisconsin Herd: 10.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.5 steals on 55% from the field and 22% from beyond the arc on 1.9 attempts per game
After discussing one of the best shooters that the G League has ever seen, we now go to a player that is solid in all areas besides that singular one. Since making his G League debut during the 2018-19 season with the South Bay Lakers, the 6’5 wing has stood out as one of the more versatile players in the league with an ability to make an impact as an on-ball defender, going into the passing lanes, facilitating, rebounding, and scoring at the rim.
However, his knack with snagging boards on both ends of the floor have put him at a level above other players his size, which is seen from how he’s maintained the best total rebounding percentage (TREB%) in both 2018-19 (17.7%) and 2019-20 (17.2%). After collecting those rebounds, Jones was able to remain a threat through being able to lead the team in transition and push it to elite scorers like Jaylen Adams or Frank Mason.
Despite him being a lackluster shooter, his work as a rebounder and facilitator allowed the Herd to be ten points per 100 possessions better when he’s on the court (113.2 points per 100) compared to when he was on the sidelines (102.7 points per 100).
While it seems like Jones doesn’t fit in with the perimeter-oriented game that is seen throughout the NBA, he’s able to make an impact by being a tenacious rebounder, facilitator, and solid on-ball defender that can match up against guards or forwards. His uniqueness as a player is why Jones still stands out as a solid two-way candidate despite some clear flaws.
Robert Franks - Stockton Kings: 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists on 48% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc on 6.6 attempts per game
To start this doubleheader of California-based Kings, we go to a 2nd year player that already has experience as a two-way deal. After going undrafted in 2019, the Charlotte Hornets signed the Washington State alum to a two-way deal on July 9th. Due to the restrictions of that type of contract, the forward spent most of the time with Greensboro, where he did a solid job as the Swarm’s top offensive weapon.
In 22 games, he put up 18.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists on 48% from the field and 34% from 3 on 6.6 attempts per game. Despite those solid numbers, his immense struggles on the defensive end of the floor pushed the Hornets to waive him on January 15th to sign Ray Spalding.
A few weeks after that move, Stockton claimed him on the G League’s waiver wire on February 3rd. Despite only being with the team for five months before COVID-19 shut down the season, his impact on the Kings was clear. In 14 games, the 6’9 forward averaged 15.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.1 steals on 49% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc on 6.6 attempts per game.
His tremendous efficiency as an all-around scorer were the keys behind him maintaining a career-best 65% True Shooting Percentage. That improvement in efficiency probably had something to do with him having less pressure within the team’s offense as his usage percentage (USG%) went from 21.3% with Greensboro to 17.8% in Stockton.
His efficiency as a role player with Stockton combined with some possible improvement on the defensive end has allowed the 23-year-old prospect to be in a really good position as he enters his 2nd year as a pro. Although he can decide to head overseas, the stellar efficiency that he showed with the Kings makes it that I wouldn’t be surprised if an NBA team signed him to a two-way deal when the off-season begins.
Eric Mika - Stockton Kings: 18.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists on 61% from the field
Sticking with players from Cali’s latest G League squad, Mika is similar to Franks as he’s a player that had an opportunity to step on an NBA floor during the 2019-20 season. While that in only one game with Sacramento where he put up 6 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes, it was the peak of what was a busy but yet solid season for the BYU center. Because along with spending a few days in the NBA, he spent more than a month playing with Xinjiang Guanghui of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and stood as one of the G League’s best centers as a member of the Stockton Kings.
With Stockton, he showcased himself to be a great example of a retro big that did most of his damage inside the paint as a post-up threat, roll man, offensive rebounder, or just a 6’10, 233 pound player that Kyle Guy or Isaiah Canaan can dish the rock to. Among those skills, the big was probably best as a roll man as his big frame combined with just being mobile and athletic for a player his size allowed him to be a great target for facilitators to push the ball to.
Mika’s work as a solid double-double threat for Stockton was enough to hide the big’s struggles on the other end of the floor. While issues as a rim protector may be enough to prevent some teams from signing the big to a two-way, Mika still stood as one of the best bigs in the G League and it’s tough to find many other bigs that have the size and mobility that he does.
Milton Doyle - Windy City Bulls: 17.5 points, 5.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 2 steals on 40% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc on 9.3 attempts per game
Similar to the aforementioned Robert Franks, Doyle is a player that already has experience as a two-way prospect, as he was signed to that deal by the Brooklyn Nets before his rookie year during the 2017-18 season. Two years after that, the former Loyola-Illinois standout had the best year of his young career as a member of the Windy City Bulls.
That thought may not make sense when you look at his base offensive numbers as the numbers that categorize shooting efficiency (TS% and eFG%) are eeirly similar to when he was a rookie with Long Island. In addition to that, the presence of Nuggets two-way player PJ Dozier pushed him to have a decreased role within the team’s offense compared to the 2017-18 campaign.
The reasons behind my statement about how this was his best season deals with the progressions that he made as a facilitator and on-ball defender. As a passer, his development is seen from how his averages of 5.8 assists per game with a 1.7 Ast/TO ratio both stood as career-bests.
On the other end of the floor, Doyle averaged a career-high 2 steals per game with Windy City. However, that singular statistic doesn’t tell the full story as the guard did a great job of being able to keep track of great backcourt threats like Jaylen Adams and Josh Gray or wings like Paul Watson or Kaiser Gates.
Currently, Doyle is playing in Israel with Hapoel Eliat of the Israeli Basketball Super League. However, his contract with that team just goes until the end of the current season. This means, that he’d be available to sign a contract with an NBA team whenever the NBA season comes to an end. And although the 26-year-old guard is a bit older than some of his counterparts, his well-rounded performance during this G League season proves that he’s a player that could be an option for an NBA team to sign to a two-way deal.