It’s officially NBA Call-Up season!
As of January 5th, NBA teams are able to sign players to 10-day contracts. This kind of pact is a low risk, high reward-like move for both parties involved. It allows NBA teams to fill a short-term gap and get a good look at an intriguing prospect in the process. Of course, should a young gun impress or prove to be a fit that’s too valuable to let go of so soon, such a union could turn into a long-term one that helps them realize a lifetime dream of playing in the NBA full-time.
Following the NBA G League Winter Showcase, both Gary Payton II (Washington Wizards) and Rayjon Tucker (Utah Jazz) caught on with teams after impressing in Las Vegas. But with the flexibility of 10-day contracts now officially in play, NBA scouts can put their research and observations from the annual event to the test even more.
As fate would have it, a number of teams wasted no time in doing so. Two members of the Raptors 905 were called up on January 6th, as Justin Anderson (Brooklyn Nets) and Paul Watson (Atlanta Hawks) were both rewarded for their efforts. Anderson averaged 21.2 points and 6.8 rebounds this season, and Watson averaged 18.4 points on 53% shooting from the field and 47% from long-rage.
The availability of 10-day contracts isn’t the only thing worth paying attention to. January 15th is the last day to sign Two-Way contracts, giving teams an extended option to roll the dice on a player they like. As that door inches closer to shutting, the Cavaliers signed Levi Randolph of their affiliated Canton Charge to a deal. After averaging 15.3 points on 45% from the field and 37% from deep in 20 NBA G League contests this season, the sharpshooter did enough to prove he warrants looks up at the next level and Cleveland is familiar enough with him to take the gamble. He, too, will be the first of many who see their abilities recognized.
Now it’s time to see if they can join some of the more successful NBA Call-Ups in recent memory. Can Anderson or Watson duplicate the success of past 10-day signings like Sundiata Gaines, who hit a game-winning shot for the Jazz in 2010, or Langston Galloway, who scored 19 points in just his second game back in 2015? Perhaps Randolph will follow in the footsteps of Kadeem Allen, who averaged 9.9 points and 4.0 assists in the NBA last season after signing a Two-Way contract.
Last season alone, there were 43 NBA Call-Ups after the 10-day contract window opened. Some of the more notable call-ups included Malcolm Miller (who went on to win an NBA championship with the Raptors), Andre Ingram (who returned to the NBA after an inspirational debut back in 2018), and Kendrick Nunn (who was signed on the season’s final day and has since flourished into a national phenomenon).
Many have gone on to make their marks in the NBA following such promotions, and it all started with the promise they put on display in the NBA G League. The pressure is on the likes of Anderson, Watson, and Randolph, and there’s sure to be plenty more opportunities where those came from for others as the season goes on.