Washington Wizards should sign this former first-round pick to a two-way contract

The Washington Wizards have already used two of their allotted two-way contracts this summer on Eugene Omoruyi and Jared Butler. They have one more slot available, and they should consider using it on a center.

With the new collective bargaining agreement, NBA teams can now carry three players on two-way contracts. These players earn $559,782 in the 2023-24 season, half of the rookie minimum. They are eligible to play in up to 50 games in the regular season for their team, and will split their time with their team’s G-League affiliate; the Capital City Go-Go in the Wizards’ case.

It’s smart to use your two-way contracts on developmental projects. Players with high upside who fit your needs and playing style. If a team is able to develop one of its two-way players into a guaranteed contract, it’s a great way to have rotation players on bargain contracts.

One player that fits this bill is Udoka Azubuike. The former Jayhawk who played four years in Kansas was drafted 27th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2020 NBA Draft. The 6 foot 11 center with a 275-pound frame, Azubuike has not been able to carry his success as a collegiate player into the NBA, but he still has the physical tools to be an effective NBA player.

Azubuike’s size is truly impressive. He has an elite 7’7 wingspan and is one of the biggest and strongest players in the league. He hasn’t converted that into being a defensive monster he was projected to be coming out of college, but he is still only 23 years old.

Considering that big men take a longer time to develop than other positions, it’s still too early to give up on Azubuike. It takes a while to adapt to the pace and space of the NBA and learn defensive schemes. Azubuike can still figure it out with a fresh start in a new environment.

If the Nigerian native signed with the Wizards and showed improvement, he could fill an important need for Washington. He has size, length, and upside. And those things are what the Wizards should be prioritizing when looking for their final two-way player.