PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The concept and utilization of a “Two-Way” contract was brand new to the NBA and NBA G League this season.
Granting extra roster spots for select players to bounce back and forth between the two leagues gave dozens of exceptional athletes the experience at the NBA and the development in the NBA G League.
At some point in the 2017-18 campaign, the Northern Arizona Suns had four Two-Way players on their roster, although one never appeared in Prescott Valley. The Phoenix Suns began the year with Mike James and Alec Peters on a Two-Way. James never put on a NAZ Suns uniform and remained with the Phoenix Suns as long as the Two-Way contract would allow – 45 days. After that mark, Phoenix converted his deal into a standard NBA contract, paving way for another Two-Way opening, which was filled by Danuel House. Mike Young also played with Northern Arizona on a Two-Way deal, but as a member of the Washington Wizards. Take a look at his season highlights here.
Peters and House each had special moments throughout 2017-18 with the NAZ Suns.
Peters played in 35 games with Northern Arizona (all starts), averaging 17.6 points on 46.6 percent shooting (41.1 percent from the three-point line), 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He also made 3.7 three-pointers per game, the second highest average in the whole league. The Valparaiso alum was quite the marksman, making the ninth most three-pointers on the year (130). Among forwards, Peters had the most three-point makes per game, the second most total three-point makes and the eighth highest three-point percentage (.411).
He even tied a team record for three-point makes in a game when he netted nine of them on March 2 against the Memphis Hustle.
The long-ball wasn’t all what Peters was known for, however. He led the team with a 7.2 rebounding average, recording six doubles in the process. He also scored 30 or more points four times and was one of just 20 players to achieve 25+ points and 15+ rebounds in a game this season.
Peters ended his rookie year in style, tallying 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 8-of-13 from distance, and nine rebounds. He joined James Harden as the only two players in the NBA this year to notch at least 35 points, eight three-point makes and seven rebounds. He also set a Phoenix Suns rookie record in three-point makes in a game and tied the sixth most points a Suns rookie has ever scored in a game.
Only Alec Peters and James Harden have tallied at least 35 points, eight three-point makes and seven rebounds in a game this season. pic.twitter.com/u3M02wGvIC
— Northern AZ Suns (@nazsuns) April 11, 2018
Peters averaged 4.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per game in 20 contests for Phoenix this year.
Known as one of the most explosive players on the NAZ Suns team, House wowed the crowd with thunderous dunk after dunk. His dunks were even put on the display at the NBA level, and he threw three special ones down in the last Phoenix Suns game.
Beginning the year with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and coming to Prescott Valley on the Two-Way deal with Phoenix, House averaged 18.2 points on 46.9 percent shooting (41.7 percent from deep), 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists with the NAZ Suns. In total, House averaged 18.0 points on 46.3 percent shooting (38.7 percent from deep), 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 35 games (23 starts).
Out of Texas A&M, House was special when in the starting line-up. He averaged 20.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals in those 23 starts.
— Northern AZ Suns (@nazsuns) April 12, 2018
He was 30th in scoring in the league, earning 30-plus points twice and notching three double-doubles on the year. When he played well, the Suns saw much more success. In wins, House averaged 19.4 points and 6.2 rebounds. In losses, he averaged 15.8 points and 4.6 rebounds.
Like Peters, House ended his year playing with the Phoenix Suns on a positive note. He scored 14-plus points in four of his last five games, getting the start in the Suns’ last three games. On April 8 vs. Golden State, he tallied a career-high 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting to go with eight rebounds. In Phoenix’s season finale on April 10 vs. Dallas, he notched 16 points and eight rebounds, earning a plus-30 in the Suns’ win.
He finished the year averaging 6.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game in 23 contests with Phoenix.
Although the Two-Way deals can get confusing, it clearly added some excitement for the Suns organization in both Prescott Valley and Phoenix.