On Monday, the Miami Heat announced the signings of two developmental prospects, Matt Williams out of UCF and Derrick Walton Jr. out of Michigan.
After much speculation about what the Miami Heat would do with their two two-way contract spots in 2017-18, we got a bit of clarity on Monday afternoon when the team announced the signings of Matt Williams and Derrick Walton Jr.
Williams’ deal includes a $50,000 signing bonus but will not take up a two-way contract spot, according to the Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman.
It’s more of a training camp invite and an assurance he’ll get picked up by Miami’s G-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Sky Force, next season.
Meanwhile, the Walton signing will take up a two-way contract spot, as announced by the Heat’s official Twitter account.
Although neither guy will likely appear in much action for Erik Spoelstra’s team next season, Walton’s deal allows him to suit up in at most 45 games for Miami.
Nonetheless, even the odds of that happening are slim as the Heat have a plethora of young guards already on the roster.
Who is Derrick Walton Jr.?
Miami’s second signing on Monday, Walton is a 6’0″ point guard with excellent range on his jumper and superb toughness. He spent his entire four-year career at Michigan, where he averaged 15.5 points, 4.9 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 three-pointers per game as a senior.
After his college career, he went undrafted but got an NBA Summer League invite from the Orlando Magic, where he showed out nicely, dropping 10.0 points and 3.5 dimes per game.
Walton’s biggest strength — aside from his shooting and grit — is his ability to distribute while taking care of the basketball. The 22-year-old posted a 2.86 assist-to-turnover ratio in 2016-17, the 18th-best rate in the NCAA.
For a glimpse of his complete potential, look no further than his best showing from his senior year. On Mar. 17, the diminutive floor general dropped a 26-point, 11-assist, five-rebound stat line in a huge NCAA Tournament matchup against Oklahoma State.
His play led to a 92-91 win for his Wolverines, and sent them through to the Round of 32.
Okay, so who’s Matt Williams then?
The Heat opened up Monday by announcing the signing of the sharpshooting Williams. The UCF product is known for one thing and one thing only: He’s an absolutely absurd three-point shooter.
Now, that doesn’t exactly get backed up by statistical data; for his career, Williams shot an all-too-regular 37.0 percent from beyond the arc for the Knights.
Nevertheless, it should also be noted that as a senior, the 6’5″ 2-guard attempted a whopping 9.1 threes per game, nailing 38.4 percent of them.
Williams’ most impressive game of last season came on Jan. 17, when he hit 11(!!!) three-pointers (a UCF and AAC record) in a game against USF, tallying 38 points in the process.
Also helping Williams’ cause was the fact that he showed out nicely with Miami’s Summer League squad a few weeks ago.
Overall, he really can’t do much outside of shooting the basketball, but he’s so damn good at that one trait that he could eventually turn it into an NBA career.
In all likelihood, though, it won’t be any time soon. On the other hand, Walton’s chances of seeing NBA action in 2017-18 are better thanks to his two-way contract — just don’t expect him to take minutes away from Tyler Johnson or Josh Richardson during his rookie year.