Milwaukee Bucks: Could new pair of two-way players provide spot NBA minutes?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 08: Frank Mason III #10 of the Sacramento Kings is seen during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 8, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 08: Frank Mason III #10 of the Sacramento Kings is seen during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 8, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

As the Milwaukee Bucks overhauled their pair of two-way contract slots late last week, we explore whether both Frank Mason III and Cameron Reynolds can contribute occasional minutes on the NBA level.

Already sporting a deep roster as is, even more so after the additions they’ve made throughout this ongoing free agency period, the Milwaukee Bucks have reloaded their squad well ahead of the 2019-20 NBA season.

Keeping their foundation in tact was an obvious a priority going into free agency with many key contributors hitting the open market, and the numerous veteran additions the Bucks have made over the last few weeks has been necessary to improve on the standard they set as an organization last season.

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Deploying deep rotations has always been a priority under Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer, as we all saw last year when the team was fully healthy or resembling something close to that.

And the Bucks’ dominance throughout the regular season, as well as their general prudence in managing the workload of their star players, afforded players all along their roster an opportunity to see limited minutes at the NBA level at the minimum.

So with that in mind, it makes for an interesting context in which to consider their usage of two-way players for next season. The Bucks have reportedly picked up a pair of alluring two-way players in the last week between third-year guard Frank Mason III and second-year forward Cam Reynolds, both of whom shared time together at parts of last season playing for the Sacramento Kings organization.

Both also hit the open market this offseason with Mason being waived by the Kings after two seasons whereas Reynolds’ promising cup of coffee with the Minnesota Timberwolves was cut short before the start of free agency around a month ago.

Without a doubt, bringing in both Mason and Reynolds will be great assets for the Bucks’ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, who went through a tumultuous 12-38 season last year, which ended up tied for the worst record in the league. However, both recent castoffs could offer up something to the Bucks in the times that they look to their roster depth to carry them for load management games or if injury should arise (knock on wood).

Both Mason and Reynolds have displayed some flashes in an NBA setting throughout their burgeoning careers. Mason has previously shown the capabilities of acting as a reserve guard with his ability to organize and run an offense while showing off his patented scoring touch on occasion. Meanwhile, Reynolds made the most of his opportunities in Minnesota late last year and showed off his complementary skill-set by knocking down 42.3 percent of his three-point tries on a small sample of attempts and he certainly possesses an NBA-ready physical profile and attributes at 6’8″ and 225 lbs.

Of the two, there’s currently more of a pathway for Mason to get NBA minutes as things stand with the Bucks’ depth chart, at least of this writing. With only Eric Bledsoe and George Hill serving as Milwaukee’s pair of point guards for the moment, the 25-year-old may soak up minimal minutes if the front office doesn’t pursue a free agent guard with their remaining open roster spot between now and the start of training camp.

And as long as we’re talking about hypotheticals, Mason having a strong training camp this fall could lead the Bucks to explore converting his two-way deal to a full roster spot, if they choose to leave the latter open at this stage (Update: the Bucks have reportedly tied up their final roster spot with Croatian forward-big man Dragan Bender, so that ends that speculation).

This isn’t to dismiss Reynolds’ chances of getting limited chances with the Bucks once next season starts and the 24-year-old’s mixture of size, length and shooting makes him an interesting NBA prospect after going undrafted just a little more than a year ago. But, of course, the Bucks’ options on the wing and at either forward spots makes it a little more difficult for him in that sense.

With all of this considered, it’s important to keep perspective of evaluating the NBA prospects of the Bucks’ new two-way players, even as all Bucks fans are satisfied with the majority of the team’s dealings this offseason. For example, the trio of two-way players the Bucks brought in throughout last year between Trevon Duval, Bonzie Colson II and Jaylen Morris all collectively saw 133 minutes up with the parent club throughout their 60-win campaign.

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The Bucks amassing the collection of depth that they have throughout the summer will very likely block both Mason and Reynolds from seeing extended minutes throughout next season. But that doesn’t mean that Mason and Reynolds can’t change their fortunes if either one or both succeed on the G League level and rebound from their recent setbacks.