It Takes Two-Ways: Year Two of NBA G League Rule Promises for Legends

By Asher Feltman | August 8, 2018

Last season, the Dallas Mavericks were one of the first teams to jump in on the brand new two-way player rule from the NBA. For a refresher on two-way contracts, momentarily redirect your attention here.

Johnathan Motley was the first to sign last season and went on to star with the Texas Legends. At the end of the season, the Mavericks called him up and the former Baylor Bear made a big impression. He was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers on July 23rd.

The other spot went through a true basketball rotation, starting with Gian Clavell, then Antonius Cleveland, next assigned to Legends star Kyle Collinsworth and finishing the 2017-2018 season with Jalen Jones.

Two new players have stepped into the spotlight and claimed the pair of two-way deals allotted to the Mavericks organization.

First, on July 13, the team signed 60th overall pick Kostas Antetokounmpo to their first two-way slot. Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis and former New York Knick Thanasis, will be the third of the Greek basketball family to play in the NBA.

Coincidentally, Thanasis was selected by the Knicks with what was originally Dallas’ pick (51st overall) in 2014. Giannis was nearly selected by Dallas himself, 13th in 2013. Perhaps the third Antetokounmpo’s the charm.

(There is another brother, Alexandros, who’s 16 and has over 150,000 Instagram followers. Say no more.)

The Mavs traded for Kostas’ rights via the Philadelphia 76ers on draft night after one season of college ball at Dayton. (Both of his older brothers jumped directly from overseas.)

6 foot 10 and 20 years young until November 20, a couple of weeks into the G League season, Antetokounmpo has generated headlines as lengthy as his 7 foot 2 wingspan.

And there is definitely potential with Kostas. You’ve heard the “he’s a project” spiel more times than you’ll ever need, but it truly applies with the newest Antetokounmpo. (I’m getting really good at spelling that name, by the way. It’s gonna be a great season.)

“Raw,” another highly exercised scouting report, also happens to apply to Kostas’ young skillset. But there were fewer athletes in the entire NBA draft with superior genetics than he.

The Mavericks speak highly of their new player and he will have plenty of time in the G League to bridge the development gap from Dayton to, hopefully and eventually, the NBA. His physical prowess has enabled him to be a very strong and versatile defender, something Legends coach Bob MacKinnon is looking forward to utilizing.

“I had a chance to work with (Kostas) in summer league and I’m very excited,” MacKinnon says. “He’s long, he’s very athletic, he’s got a good disposition about him and he seems to know how to play the game. He’s got a live body and I think he’s got good skills that, as time goes on, are gonna get better and better. He’s got a high ceiling and someone that is gonna be fun to work with. There’s a lot to work with.”

In late July, the Mavs added Daryl Macon to the mix with their second two-way contract spot. Macon, 22, will turn 23 on November 29, nine days after his two-way mate hits 21.

The Little Rock, Arkansas native made quick work of Holmes Community College in Goodman, Mississippi before transferring back home to the University of Arkansas for his final two years of collegiate ball.

A scoring point guard, the 6 foot 3 Macon scored 16.8 points a game his senior season while shooting 48, 42 and 88 percent from the field, three-point and free throw line.

There’s little doubt about his scoring ability, though the Mavericks are keen to see him develop as a passing guard a la J.J. Barea’s career arc.

With MacKinnon’s up-tempo offense, Macon could have great results. How quickly they come is the question fans will want answered and the organization will be patient to forecast.

“I also watched him in summer league and am really excited about him as well,” MacKinnon raved about the point guard. “He’s someone who’s getting comfortable playing as a true guard and has the potential to be a good lead guard. That’s where I think his work is gonna be. He’s a guy who has the ability to defend, he’s obviously a good long range shooter and from a personal standpoint, fits the culture of the organization.”

Antetokounmpo and Macon, at the very least, will be exciting, young, talented additions to the Texas Legends roster and the Dallas Mavericks organization.