On Thursday night, the NBA Draft came and went without a player being drafted from Syracuse for the second year in a row. But, after the draft, the news emerged that both Buddy Boeheim and Cole Swider had signed two-way deals with the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively.
Swider worked out for the Lakers multiple times in the pre-draft process and looks to be a good compliment, if given the opportunity, to LA‚Äôs stars as a perimeter shooter. He has to work on his defense, but shooting will always get you somewhere in basketball, especially with his 6‚Äô9 frame.
Boeheim heads to the team with plenty of Orange ties. Pistons general manager Troy Weaver was an assistant on Jim Boeheim‚Äôs 2003 National Championship staff before moving to a lengthy career in the NBA as a front office executive. Detroit‚Äôs assistant general manager is Rob Murphy, another former Syracuse assistant.
Boeheim worked out for the team before the draft and impressed Pistons head coach Dwane Casey, as the team awarded him a 2-way contract after the draft ended.
‚ÄúAfter Buddy came in and worked out,‚Äù Murphy said, ‚Äúcoach Casey really thought that he could play at this level as well.‚Äù
Since the creation of the two-way contract, there have been plenty of NBA success stories. From Alex Caruso, Duncan Robinson, Chris Boucher, and even former Orange forward Oshae Brissett, a lot of players have been able to turn two-way deals into full NBA contracts.
So, to answer the question that this headline poses, if either of these players develops a spot on a roster, with a full NBA contract, and maybe even gets some regular minutes, it is a success. Specifically for Boeheim, he came into college with zero expectations with a very low recruiting ranking. Any NBA success would be a massive accomplishment.
For Swider, he came into college as a top-100 recruit and four-star at Villanova, but never really lived up to his potential. The Rhode Island native picked up steam at the end of this season and played some of the best basketball of his life down the stretch. The Lakers are a hot mess, but they‚Äôll use any cheap talent they can get.
So, with both of these guys likely to play in Summer League (with Jimmy joining his brother Buddy with the Pistons this summer), it will be very interesting to watch how these storylines play out, and over the next few years and if Syracuse can have more influence in the NBA with two new sharpshooters entering the fray.