With NBA teams gunning toward crucial postseason pushes, this is a key time for Two-Way Players to be called upon. Needing to supplement the production of their injured leader, the Pacers have looked to Edmond Sumner to help bridge the gap most recently. While Chris Boucher is putting up some solid numbers in modest minutes with Toronto, he’s still carving out time in between his busy schedule to dominate the NBA G League hardwood as often as possible for the Raptors 905.
These two budding prospects are just two of the Two-Way Players soaring to success over the past week or so. Here’s a look at who else is following such an example.
NBAGLeague.com’s Two-Way Tracker will provide weekly updates on the development of players signed to two-way NBA contracts throughout the 2018-19 season.
Two-Way Tracker: Meet All of This Year’s Two-Way Players
Deonte Burton, OKC Thunder/Blue: Explosive Guard Is Transforming From Scene-Stealer to Leading Man: Burton has long been considered a human highlight reel, someone who can excite the home crowd on a nightly basis thanks to his array of high-flying dunks and athletic prowess. But as the OKC Blue continue to jockey for the best record in the NBA G League (at 25-10, they’re half a game behind the Santa Cruz Warriors for such a feat), Burton is becoming much more than someone who can leap. He’s since emerged as a reliable go-to-guy, the kind of guard who can dribble out the clock, beat his defenders to the basket, and pour in the points when it matters most. Over his last five games, he’s averaged 20.2 points all while pacing his team defensively as well, swiping 3.2 steals per contest.
Amile Jefferson, Orlando/Lakeland Magic: Big Man’s Versatile Contributions Spread Floor in Lakeland: Much like the Blue, the Magic have their sights set on one of the league’s best marks and Jefferson is leading the charge. Their 21-12 mark is second best in the East, and the big man has tallied seven straight double-doubles as his squad locks in and racks up the victories. An efficient post player, Jefferson doesn’t require a lot of shots in order to make an impact. He comes up with scoring opportunities every time he hits the offensive glass and stays alert and ready to toss back up second-chance points. He’s also a very unselfish player, creating a strong inside/outside passing game for Lakeland. In his last five contests, Jefferson is averaging 17 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists.
Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors / Raptors 905: Wherever He Goes, People Remember Boucher: With each passing week, it seems like Boucher finds his way back to the Two-Way Tracker, and deservedly so. Whether it be his powerful leadership for the Raptors 905, budding impact in Toronto, or his ability to make jaws drop with impressive highlights, the big man continues to pop up again and again. Undaunted from the potential wear and tear of going back and forth between both squads, the 26 year old has averaged 25.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 3 blocks in his last three minor league games, all while playing an efficient 30.3 minutes. Each outing has resulted in a win for his ball club.
SHINING AT THE NEXT LEVEL
Edmond Sumner, Indiana Pacers/Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Guard Helps Big League Club Win Three Straight: Stepping up in the wake of a season-ending injury to NBA all-star Victor Oladipo, Sumner is receiving consistent rotation time. He’s appeared in Indiana’s last six contests, boasting playing time of anywhere ranging from 10 to 28 minutes per contest. Thrust into a situation where he’s expected to produce for a perennial playoff contender, the pressure is on but that’s what serving as a Two-Way Player is all about. Sumner is needed to provide relief in a pinch, but given the symmetry between the Pacers and the affiliated Fort Wayne Mad Ants, he has the potential to do just that. His latest outing resulted in a career-high 17 points from the field, helping his team soar to an impressive 136-94 win over the Lakers.
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) February 6, 2019
TWO-WAY PLAY OF THE WEEK
Troy Caupain, Orlando/Lakeland Magic: Usually Grounded Performer Takes Unexpected Flight: Caupain is having a big year for Lakeland and he’s owning his role as a combo guard. This allows him to run the floor, hit pull-up jumpers, and find teammates in transition. As evidenced below, he’s not afraid to take lift-off when an open runway presents itself.