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Nets new two-way deals better bets for long-time development

Maine Red Claws v Delaware 87ers Photo by Stephen Pellegrino/NBAE via Getty Images

In the past three weeks, the Nets decided to dump the two two-way deals they signed in the summer and replace them with two other players. And there will be no new deals. NBA teams can’t sign any new two-way contracts now that the January 15 deadline for two-way deals has passed.

Out are Jacob Wiley, a 6’8” power forward who proved to be a better athlete than basketball player and Yakuba Ouattara, a 6’4” guard who has been incapacitated with a leg injury. Ouattara was re-signed by Long Island after being waived but to a standard G-League deal. No word on Wiley.

In are Milton Doyle, a 6’4” combo guard out of Loyola Chicago, signed December 18, and James Webb III, a 6’9” (he says 6’10”) stretch-4 who had been playing for the Delaware 87ers before he inked his deal on Monday. (A number of NBA teams did the same just before the deadline.)

So far, so good.

Doyle, 24, has more than proven his worth. He’s averaging 21.7 points for the Long Island Nets along with 5.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists while shooting 35.6 percent from deep. He also had a near triple double...

Doyle played six games for Brooklyn, averaging three points in 10 minutes. He’s been active for several more. Next season? He’d have to be a candidate for a vets minimum deal.

Ouattara on the other hand played only one game for Long Island before getting hurt.

Webb, also 24, has been in the G-League for two seasons after four years at Boise State. Undrafted in 2016, he played for the Sixers in summer league then was among the last players cut after training camp. He signed with Delaware where he had a solid season before a season-ending ankle injury. He averaged almost a double-double 13.`1 points and 9.3 rebounds, shooting 35.9 percent from three. He even had a 40-point game.

This year, prior to being signed by Brooklyn, Webb put up similar numbers in Delaware, 11.6 and 6.7, while shooting 36.6 beyond arc. No 40 point games this time. In his three games with Long Island, he’s at 14.0/6.3. His 5-of-10 3-point shooting night Saturday was his best so far. He’s had the green light since he arrived, but in the two games before Saturday, he had shot only 5-of-21.

Webb is more of a work-in-progress than Doyle but he has the distinct advantage of playing a position where the Nets are weakest. Webb’s big issue is strength (and inconsistency.) Brooklyn is hoping he can be the next G-League success for their scouting and coaching staffs, following the model of Sean Kilpatrick, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Quincy Acy and Doyle.

Still, Webb is already further along than Wiley, who averaged 7.6/3.6 in Long Island and less than a point in five games with Brooklyn.

In his interview with WFAN last weekend, Sean Marks was asked about the Nets lack of picks and how that impacts his ability to rebuild. Marks talked about he used cap space but added that there are other ways to improve, starting with development.

“We’re pretty happy with the guys we got,” said the GM. “We’re encouraged to see their development and the coaches have done a really nice job with those guys.”

So, once again, we shall se.