Before the 2017-18 season, the NBA expanded rosters from 15 players to 17 players with the implementation of the two-way contract. These deals allotted each team up to two G-Leaguers on their roster for up to 45 days each in the season in case their NBA team needed reinforcements for a banged up roster.
If you take one look at the Philadelphia 76ers’ current roster, you’d see why the NBA decided to do this.
Markelle Fultz is out with thoracic outlet syndrome, Zhaire Smith is out after surgery for an allergic reaction he had in October, Wilson Chandler always seems to be nursing some sort of injury (like the one to his quadriceps that forced him to miss Saturday’s game against the Raptors), and the team was just without Jimmy Butler (groin) and Jonah Bolden (fibula) for a few games earlier in the month.
It’s no secret that the Sixers could use some reinforcements, on the wing especially. While it might not be the most ideal scenario, signing a young G-Leaguer to a two-way deal could be a good place to start.
The team currently has rookie guard Shake Milton signed to a two-way contract, and for good reason The 22-year old out of SMU was selected by the Sixers in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft. In the games where Butler sat out with his injury, Milton saw some first-half action, even if it was minimal, and he will continue to get garbage time minutes until Brett Brown is comfortable playing him in a more prominent role.
But what’s problematic is that the Sixers second and final two-way contract belongs to fourth year guard Demetrius Jackson.
Even in games where the Sixers had under 10 healthy bodies, like the team’s December 12 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, Jackson was a DNP-coach decision. If he couldn’t get into a game like that--a game that even included some garbage time minutes before the Sixers made it close at the end-- then what exactly is the point of having him on the roster?
The Sixers are much better off waiving Jackson, who has now received a total of eight garbage time minutes in the Sixers' last two games, so they can bring in a G-league wing on a two-way deal. The two-way deal would allow the team a chance to take a close look at a young player.
Why not see if someone sticks? Even if Brown doesn’t feel comfortable enough to give said kid a chance in the lineup other than in garbage time, at least he’ll have practices and shootarounds to get a feel if there may be something there.
Another move the team could consider is converting Jonah Bolden’s contract into a two-way agreement and using that extra roster spot to either sign a player to a 10-day contract or sign a player who’s bought out after the February 7 trade deadline. Bolden is another player taking up a roster spot who has yet to prove capable of any serious NBA playing time. In 10 games this season, Bolden has averaged just over seven minutes a game while shooting under 36 percent from the field.
Jackson is in his last year of two-way eligibility and it’s pretty clear that he’s not an NBA player. The Sixers are better off cutting him loose so they can audition someone else in the hopes that they could help this team where they are the most thin; on the wing.