The Washington Wizards have signed 6’6 wing Jules Bernard to a two-way contract. In the process, they have waived John Butler Jr.
Bernard played 32 games with the Capital City Go-Go last season. He averaged 15.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.1 turnovers. He shot 35.8% from three on 5 attempts per game. In 8 games this season, he is averaging 21 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 3 turnovers. He’s shooting 42.2% from three on 5.6 attempts per game.
I see this move as the Wizards looking to reward Bernard for his improved play and increased efficiency so far this season. It makes your G League team a more appealing destination if players know that playing well will actually afford them opportunities and the doesn’t only look at long-term upside.
Bernard isn’t the most athletic player at his position which may cap his long-term upside. However, he’s looked more comfortable in year two in Washington and could probably contribute in spot minutes for the Wizards now if called upon.
Butler Jr., a 7’0 wing, is basically the flipside of the coin from Bernard. At that size, with his mobility and shooting stroke, Butler Jr. offers a lot of potential upside. However, the overall production hasn’t really jumped off the box score. In 22.5 minutes over 10 games, he’s averaging 7.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. He’s also shooting 40% from three on 3.5 attempts.
If it were me, I would think Butler Jr. is exactly the type of player you’d like to keep on a two-way contract as that’s relatively low risk for at least moderate potential reward. Given that one of the other two-ways is already being used on Eugene Omoruyi, a productive but lower long-term upside player, I would try to go the other way with my remaining spots.
With that in mind, I hope the organization is able to convince Butler Jr. to hang around and continue to play with the Go-Go. At least that way they could continue to monitor his development firsthand.