Gary Payton II has signed a Two-Way NBA contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, just in time for the NBA regular season. If The Glove fits…wear it.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) October 14, 2017
A Two-Way contract is specific to the NBA; teams are allowed to have two Two-Way players on their roster at any given time, in addition to the regular 15-man roster. Two-Way players can swing up from the G League (formally the D League, until Gatorade made the NBA an offer it couldn’t refuse; hence, G League) and spend up to 45 days with their G League team’s NBA affiliate.
That means Gary Payton II will be spending the bulk of his time with the Wisconsin Herd, but the Bucks’ front office can activate him whenever they want. Think of Payton II as a JV player who can swing up to varsity if the coaches need him.
Despite having a dad in the NBA Hall of Fame, things haven’t been easy for Gary Payton II.
He’s got a half brother who’s also named Gary Payton (Jr.), and played two years of community college ball before getting a taste of D-1 action at his dad’s alma mater, Oregon State.
Following his first year with the Beavers, Payton II was voted to the All-Pac-12 First Team and named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Payton II’s rise hasn’t been meteoric, a la Markelle Fultz or any of this year’s lottery picks, but is testament to the value of hard work.
Granted, his case isn’t exactly typical given who his pops is, but most juco transfers don’t end up in the NBA.
That said, Payton II is walking into an ideal situation in Milwuakee. Malcolm Brogdon, reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, has locked down the starting point guard position. Behind him on the depth chart is Matthew Dellavedova, a high-energy player with a low (talent) ceiling, and 40-year-old Jason Terry.
It’s not hard to imagine a situation where Payton II displaces Dellavedova or Terry and fights his way onto the bench, especially if injuries factor in at any point during the season.