Monday, July 24, 2017

Walton Watch: Walton signs two-way contract with Miami Heat

Big Ten Media Days kicked off today in Chicago, an annual tradition full of sound and fury, signifying nothing (okay, maybe I just recently reread Macbeth). Commissioner Jim Delany talked about the the conference's newest TV deal and offered not much else of substance ... that is, unless you love FCS teams on your team's schedule.

But, when it comes to Big Ten Media Days, that's to be expected. It's a nothing event creating nothing stories, with no tough questions or illuminating answers. In short, it's a glorified small-talk chamber.

In actual news that you might care about today, Derrick Walton signed a two-way contract with the Miami Heat. He will join the Heat's G League (the artist formerly known as the D League) team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Walton impressed during his stint on the Orlando Magic summer roster, which he shared with former Michigan State Spartan Kalin Lucas. Despite his play, the Magic's signing of Shelvin Mack seemed to have closed a door there, as the team already had starter Elfrid Payton and highly paid backup D.J. Augustin on the roster.

Walton clearly did enough to get a chance elsewhere.

The Heat appear to only be carrying two point guards right now (Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson). As NBA fans know, the Heat nearly made the playoffs despite a dreadful first half, only to finish 30-11 in their last 41 games.

Dragic is a veteran and the 25-year-old Johnson had a strong third season in 2016-17, averaging 13.7 ppg and shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Obviously, Walton will have to put in work in the G League, but if he plays like he did during the summer league, he'll get his shot on the big stage. As mentioned before, you only need look to Yogi Farrell this past season to see a player like Walton, overlooked in the draft process, who managed to burst onto the NBA scene in-season.

Meanwhile, fellow Wolverine Zak Irvin also inked a deal, only his will take him to Italy's VL Pesaro. If his life is anything like Aziz Ansari's in the second season of "Master of None," a life of pasta-making, vespa-riding, on top of playing basketball, sounds pretty, pretty good.

Also in the column of "pretty good" -- as new MLive beat reporter Aaron McMann notes in the aforementioned link -- is V LPesaro's description of Irvin as an "excellent technical schoolman." If we do anything in this life, we must strive to be excellent technical schoolmen/women.

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