The Miami Heat have signed former Michigan guard Derrick Walton Jr. to a two-way contract, giving the ex-Wolverine a chance to make it in the NBA after going undrafted.
While undrafted, Walton participated in the summer league with the Magic, averaging 10 points, 3.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game. He also hit on 46.9% of his field goals and shot 50% from beyond the arc.
Two-way contracts are a new addition to the NBA and will allow teams to better utilize the G League (formerly the D-League) to develop younger players. While most teams have (or will have) affiliates at the development level, there was nothing stopping other teams from signing talent away. Now with two-way contracts NBA teams will have two additional slots (allowing for a maximum of 17 players on an NBA roster) and will be able to keep more younger talent on roster.
With the new two-way system, players can spend a maximum of 45 days on an NBA roster and then will spend the remainder of the season in the G League. This not only allows the team to maintain control of the player they’re developing, but will lead to an increase in salary for the player and an increased opportunity to find playing time with an NBA team.
That should prove beneficial to Walton, who otherwise would have likely been in the G League earning less money and having a smaller chance at seeing playing time this season at the NBA level. The Heat are affiliated with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, so Walton will likely spend time in South Dakota and Florida this season.
Walton averaged 15.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds for Michigan this past season. He also shot 42.2% from beyond the arc, proving to be a formidable three point shooter.