The Los Angeles Lakers may have not had a single pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, but that didn’t stop the team from being busy on Thursday night. While they didn’t buy a pick in the second round, the team’s scouts did get a few second-round quality players for their two-way contracts and Las Vegas Summer League roster.
After Devontae Cacok and Kostas Antetokounmpo occupied the team’s pair of two-way slots the last two seasons, the Lakers are going in a new direction, adding Joel Ayayi and Austin Reaves on two-way deals, according to ESPN:
Gonzaga's Joel Ayayi has agreed to a two-way contract with the Lakers, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 30, 2021
The Lakers have agreed to sign shooting guard Austin Reeves to a two-way contract, according to league sources. He split his college career at Wichita State and Oklahoma.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 30, 2021
Two-way contracts do not count against a team’s roster or salary cap, but each team is only allowed to have two at a time. As the rules around these contracts continue to be modified, the latest NBA changes are that each two-way player will now be paid half of the minimum contract for an undrafted free agent and only be allowed to be on a team’s active roster for 50 regular season games, but face no limits on how often they can practice or travel with the team (unlike in years past).
Both players the Lakers added on their deals are well-regarded by draftniks, with Ayayi ranked as the third-best undrafted prospect by ESPN, and Reeves ranked second:
I had Ayayi as a late first-round talent. Love this grab for the Lakers. My top-ranked undrafted prospect https://t.co/9z8OesinRZ— Jeremy Woo (@JeremyWoo) July 30, 2021
Yeah these are home run two-ways. No team will do better on the two-way market than the Lakers did here, IMO, and it makes sense they were a desirable location because they have some potential opportunity with how barren the roster is right now. https://t.co/KL3ZPwctN2— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) July 30, 2021
- When dribbling off the screen in P&R situations, Ayayi was 30/50 from the field, ranking in the 99th percentile— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) July 30, 2021
- On offense derived from his P&Rs, he ranked in the 95th percentile
- On attempts around the basket, he shot 69.8%, ranking in the 89th percentile
- On catch-and-shoots, Reaves shot 40.7%, ranking in the 83rd percentile— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) July 30, 2021
- On spot-ups, he ranked in the 77th percentile on 55 possessions
- On drives to the basket out of the P&R, he ranked in the 93rd percentile on 47 possessions
Those two will presumably join the previously reported Dakota Mathias, Yoeli Childs, Vic Law and Zavier Simpson on the team’s summer league roster, but they won’t be alone. Rob Pelinka and the front office also added Mac McClung and Chaundee Brown on Exhibit 10 deals:
Brown is a chiseled 6'6 wing who shot 42% for 3 this past season and is a multi-positional defender. Will be one of the best wing prospects in the G League next season and a strong callup candidate for all 30 teams. https://t.co/9TSUgtcGj4— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 30, 2021
McClung, the 37th-ranked undrafted prospect by ESPN, is excited for the opportunity:
Brown, meanwhile, is ranked as the seventh-best undrafted prospect by ESPN, and thinks he’s going to be sticking around longer than his pedigree and contract would suggest:
Ralph, I’m here to let you Lakers fans know that you are getting as ass-kicking 3&D young man who is tough as nails and his teammates LOVE him. And fyi-he doesn’t plan on leaving the Lakers anytime soon. pic.twitter.com/QnrSGstpSN— TJ Kormac (@TKormac) July 30, 2021
Of those four players, only one (Ayayi) did not take part in a public pre-draft workout for the team, lending further credence to the idea that the Lakers heavily weight those workouts in their scouting process. We will all get a closer look at these four (and more) when the Lakers tip off summer league tips off on Aug. 8.