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The Next Step for Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes

After being snubbed in the NBA draft, former-Badgers (that’s weird to write) Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig were given a chance at fulfilling their NBA dreams through the NBA Summer League. Koenig, the lifelong Wisconsin native, was given the opportunity by his home state team, the Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile, Hayes signed with the New York Knicks.

Even before Summer League started, Koenig was given one of the Bucks two coveted two-way contracts, which will give him a roster spot with the Buck’s G-League team, a chance to get called up to the main team without using one of the 15 roster spots, and a $75,000 minimum contract. So Koenig was essentially playing with house money in Summer League. However, he didn’t quite meet expectations. In five games, he averaged 5.6 points per game. His shooting touch was off, only going 10/34 from the field and 5/19 from three-point range. He also didn’t record a single assist or steal for the entire five games.

Luckily, Koenig had already signed the two-way contract, so his poor performance didn’t hurt him very much. He’ll start the season in the G-League, where he’ll have plenty of time and chances to work his way up to Milwaukee. Barring an outstanding Summer League performance, he would have begun his career in the G-League anyways, so there was really no harm done. He’ll just have to improve and be a lot more consistent when he gets his chance in the G-League if he ever wants to move up.

On the other hand, Nigel Hayes had a much more successful summer league stint.  He averaged 5.2 points and 5.0 rebounds on 41% shooting. He also added seven assists, three steals, and four blocks in the five-game stretch. His impressive showing on defense even earned him the start for the final two games. Apparently, he also played well enough to earn an invite to the Knicks Training Camp. While it is an uphill battle for him to earn a roster spot, he has a decent chance to earn the Knick’s remaining two-way contract.

Right now, both Koenig and Hayes have bright futures. Their chances of eventually making the big stage are astronomically higher than they were after draft night. With Koenig netting a two-way contract and Hayes putting himself in play to do the same, there is chance both former-Badgers could play in some NBA games this season.



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