Right off the top we have to make this note: Lorenzo Brown and Malcolm Miller are signed to a two-way contract. As such, they can only be in the NBA for 45 days during the G-League season.
With the NBA implementing two-way contracts this year, teams can sign two players and add 16th and 17th men to their roster. A two-way contract means the player can freely be sent up and down between the NBA and the G-League, but can only spend a maximum of 45 days in the NBA. Teams, however, can sign players to an NBA contract if they reach the full 45 days. Also, you must have four or fewer years of NBA experience to sign a two-way contract.
When two-way contracts were introduced many didn’t know how players, teams or even agents would react to it. While the initial thought was it would most likely go to undrafted rookies, the Toronto Raptors took a different approach.
Lorenzo Brown, PG/SG
The Raptors signed Lorenzo Brown a 27-year old guard who has spent time with the Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons (training camp only) and a bevy of overseas teams. Brown has also spent parts of four seasons in the G-League as well.
Brown may arguably be one of the best players signed to a two-way contract. He is a versatile guard, and a veteran of the G-League. When he is up in the NBA, Brown has had enough NBA experience to warrant some minutes and not just be an end of the bench player.
In his NBA career so far, Brown has played in 63 NBA games, averaging 13.2 minutes, along with 3.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game, while shooing 37 percent from the field, and a measly 15.2 percent (yikes!) from three.
However, in just eleven games in the G-League last season Brown was easily one of the better players in the league. Brown started nine of the eleven games with the Grand Rapids Drive while averaging 35.8 minutes per game. He was an effective scorer averaging 23.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Brown also shot a much more reasonable 47.3 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from three.
Brown in the G-League can be the Raptors 905’s starting shooting guard, and put up spot minutes running the point. The 905 will need Brown and assignment players this season as every major contributor last season has signed overseas, leaving coach Jerry Stackhouse’s roster in flux.
In the NBA, Brown could see some emergency minutes behind DeMar DeRozan at shooting guard. Theoretically, putting Brown into the rotation gives coach Dwane Casey and the Raptors a versatile guard who can play both the point and shooting guard, bringing everything those two positions require.
In reality though, Brown won’t have a huge role on this team. His destiny for 2017-18 will be a much bigger role with the 905.
Malcolm Miller SG/SF
Malcolm Miller is on the opposite side of the spectrum from Brown, as Miller has zero years of NBA experience. Miller went undrafted in the 2015 NBA draft and then spent the 2015-16 season with the Maine Red Claws of the then D-League as an affiliate player for the Boston Celtics. Miller then spent last season in the German Bundesliga league with Alba Berlin.
Miller will also be a key player for the 905 this season, as he helps them restock their depleted roster. Miller, however, is currently injured and it is unknown if he will be back in time for the start of the G-League season.
In 2015-16 with the Red Claws, Miller had a great rookie season, where he started 43 games and played in 47. There he averaged 12.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 31.8 minutes per game while shooting 49.6% from the field and 39.8% from three.
Miller was also a very good player last year with Alba Berlin in a very good German league which you can see in the clip below.
If Miller can duplicate his success from Maine with the 905 this season they can ideally replace the production lost by the departing of Axel Toupane and E.J. Singler. As it stands, between the two two-way contracts, Miller is more likely to spend more time in the G-League.
The Raptors did sign two very interesting players to these contracts and it will be interesting to watch them play this season, and to see how the Raptors will deploy them.