Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza made a little recent Hawkeye history when they were both selected in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Getting drafted was good, but the next step was even more challenging: playing well in Summer League and earning a roster spot. The competition for roster spots in the NBA is brutally challenging -- but the news is promising on that front.
Garza's Summer League performance showed what Iowa fans have known all too well after the last four seasons: he's a double-double machine and practically a guaranteed bucket around the hoop (and a damn good shooter from distance as well). Over five games, Garza averaged 15.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists, while also converting 40% of his attempts from 3-point range. His strong Summer League showing earned him a spot on the All-Summer League Second Team.
The future is bright.— NBA Summer League (@NBASummerLeague) August 18, 2021
Congratulations to the 2021 All-Summer League First and Second Teams, as selected by a panel of media. pic.twitter.com/psjgJvmkRF
Those impressive performances also earned him something even more important: a contract from the Pistons.
A two-way contracts means that Garza will split time between the Pistons and the their G-League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise. Players on two-way contracts can be active for a maximum of 50 NBA games during the regular season, but there is no limit to the practices, workouts, or other team activities they can partake in with their NBA team. Only players with three or fewer years in the NBA can sign two-way contracts and players on two-way contracts don't count against the NBA's 15-man roster limit.
Joe Wieskamp didn't dazzle in Summer League quite as much as Garza did, but he put up solid numbers for the Spurs. He averaged 10.4 ppg over the five-game Summer League Schedule, plus over five rebounds per game. The one slight disappointment was his three-point shooting; he shot just 30% from beyond the arc in Summer League. Considering his three-point shooting prowess in college was one of the key factors in him getting drafted, he'll want to improve that to earn playing time with the Spurs this season. But he'll have opportunities to do just that, as he also signed a two-day contract.
Sources: Joe Wieskamp will sign a two-way contract with the @Spurs— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) August 17, 2021
For second round draft picks like Garza and Wiesakmp, two-day deals like these represent a pretty good outcome. A full roster spot would be the ideal outcome, but those are very rare for first-year players drafted in the second round. If you're drafted in the second round you're going to have to prove your worth in the NBA before you can get that main roster contract.
The NBA has also made changes to two-way contracts in recent years that make them more valuable for teams and players; previously players on two-way contracts were limited to spending 45 days with their NBA teams, but now they can be active in up to 50 games. That should enable them to spend more with their NBA coaches and teammates, hopefully giving them more chances to impress and earn additional playing time and opportunities. The financial terms for two-way contracts have also improved; previously, two-way salaries were determined by how many days they spent in the NBA, now they'll be paid a flat rate of $462,629 (half of the rookie minimum contract).
Congratulations to Garza and Wieskamp on earning two-way contracts and getting additional opportunities to further their NBA aspirations. Here's hoping this is just the first step to productive careers at the game's highest level. Go show 'em what Hawkeyes can do, fellas.