After a strong finish at Michigan and solid showing in the NBA Summer League, Derrick Walton Jr. was hoping for an NBA team to take a chance on him.
That chance came Monday when Walton signed a two-way contract with the Miami Heat, giving the former Wolverine point guard a shot to play in the NBA next season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Thank you @MiamiHEAT! Had this dream of playing in the NBA since I was 7. Now it's time to put the REAL work in! #God'sFavorite," Walton tweeted.
The Heat already have six guards on their 15-man roster for the 2017-18 season, including point guards Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson. That means Walton, a Detroit native, will likely start the season with the Heat's G-League affiliate Sioux Falls (S.D.) Skyforce.
Two-way contracts essentially act as a 16th and 17th roster spot for NBA teams, and the player could spend up to 45 days with the NBA team that signs him, but no time is guaranteed.
Players on two-way contracts are guaranteed to make $75,000 in the G-League, with the chance to make the NBA rookie minimum if they're called up. In total, a two-way player who spends the maximum amount of time in the NBA could make roughly $280,000.
Walton closed his senior year on an absolute tear and played arguably as well as anyone in the nation over the final two months as he led Michigan to the Big Ten tournament title and Sweet 16 last season. He averaged career highs in scoring (15.5 points), assists (4.9), field-goal percentage (43.6 percent), 3-point shooting (42.2 percent) and free-throw percentage (87.6 percent) in 38 games last year.
Walton finished his four-year career as the only player in program history to record at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists.
In the summer league, he averaged 10 points, 3.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 20.5 minutes over four games with the Orlando Magic. He shot 46.9 percent (15-for-32) from the field and 50 percent (6-for-12) from 3-point range, which tied for the third-highest percentage in the Orlando Summer League for all players with at least 10 3-point attempts.
Walton is the third Wolverine from last season's team to sign a pro deal, joining D.J. Wilson (Milwaukee Bucks) and Zak Irvin (VL Pesaro).