The San Antonio Spurs have made good use of their two-way contracts by getting power forward/center Drew Eubanks prepared for the big leagues.
Watching a teammate get put out of commission is never something a player would root for, especially as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. However, injuries always open up an opportunity for the next man up, and two-way center Drew Eubanks could be in line for his big chance.
The right MCL sprain suffered by Jakob Poeltl in Saturday night’s win over the Orlando Magic left the Spurs without a true center in their rotation, so head coach Gregg Popovich called on the 23-year-old to step up. Eubanks didn’t disappoint, logging 10 points on a perfect four-of-four shooting to go with three rebounds in 16 minutes.
Not only did he look comfortable in the lineup, but he played hard on the defensive end and finished with a better plus/minus than four other Spurs. Eubanks set hard screens, as he’s been known to do with San Antonio’s G-League affiliate in Austin, and hustled on both ends to prove himself worthy of those minutes.
Eubanks is averaging 15.9 points per game on a sky-high 61.8 percent from the field in the G-League. He’s an efficient player who knows his role and performs it well by patrolling the paint and scoring with either a soft touch or a ferocious slam. He’s a physical interior presence, as we saw when he matched up with veteran center Nikola Vucevic on Saturday.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 1, 2020
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Poeltl is going to miss two weeks at the very least, and the Spurs are already lacking frontcourt depth with starter LaMarcus Aldridge nursing a sore shoulder. If Popovich decides his play warrants more time in the coming weeks, Eubanks has an opportunity to do something very special by earning a full-time roster spot.
Two-way contracts only allow for players to stay with the main team for a limited amount of time. Once they are completed, teams can offer the player a contract to join the main team on a full-time basis. If Eubanks proves himself by fulfilling his role and helping the Spurs in their battle for the eighth seed, he may end up with an NBA contract for the remainder of the season.
San Antonio has an open roster spot since they bought out forward DeMarre Carroll. While it’s still possible that they sign a free agent to fill that gap, the Spurs may look to their young talent to carry the load with Poeltl missing. Eubanks is a smart player and is well-liked within the organization for his joyful demeanor and dedication to his craft. It’s not outside of the realm of possibility for the Spurs to reward him with a deal.
This hinges on him getting those leftover minutes in the first place, then making the most of them. We’ll see how this plays out starting on Monday night against the Indiana Pacers.