The Pacers are converting the two-way contracts of Terry Taylor and Duane Washington Jr. to standard, multi-year deals, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarwoski. Terms of the new deals are unclear, but they’re unlikely to be fully guaranteed or worth more than the minimum.
Washington signed a two-way deal with the Pacers after going unselected in last year’s draft following three collegiate seasons at Ohio State. With the team depleted due to COVID and later pivoting to a rebuild at the trade deadline, Washington has played a larger than expected role this season, appearing in only 11 games with Fort Wayne compared to 46 for the Pacers, with whom he’s averaged 9.6 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 39 percent from the floor and 36 percent from three.
Capable of heating up in a hurry, the 22-year-old set a franchise rookie record with seven made threes in New Orleans and drained four in under five minutes late against the Clippers. Overall, floor spacing (and drifting) is where he most distinguishes himself from other fringe options on the roster; however, when not pressed into making plays for others as a makeshift point guard, he’s capable of lulling defenders to sleep with changes of speed and subtle but effective shoulder shakes. For better or worse, he also doesn’t hesitate to attack downhill against favorable match-ups, which can at times stand in contrast to the more deferential approach of Tyrese Haliburton.
Taylor, meanwhile, who joined the Pacers for training camp, signed a two-way contract with the team after impressing in the G League, where he amassed double-doubles in eight of 11 games. Playing bigger than his shorter stature would otherwise suggest, he’s filled in at both the four and five as a 6-foot-5 roll-man and putback machine, averaging 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds on 63 percent shooting in seven starts. Broad with a 7’2 wingspan and keen understanding of angles, he leverages the benefits of being a tweener by slipping quickly out of picks against switches and being resourceful, whether inhaling offensive rebounds or making himself available for drop-off passes as an opportunity scorer.
Moving forward, he’ll need to be more aggressive searching for his keeper to mitigate what he lacks in consistency as an outside shooter, but for someone who ranks among the top-10 of the league in conversion rate on twos and is capable of executing bully drives with soft touch, there’s ample reason to consider him among the team’s young core.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, with T.J. McConnell returning to action after undergoing wrist surgery, third-string point guard Keifer Sykes, who deserves plenty of kudos for making it to the NBA, has been waived to open an additional spot on the 15-man roster along with that already vacated by Tristan Thompson, which has been occupied by Justin Anderson on 10-day deal.