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2017 NBA Free Agency: Charles Cooke follows in footsteps of Jalen Jones, signing two-way contract with New Orleans Pelicans

These two players highlight the organization’s apparent preference for versatility, which profiles perfectly with league trends.

NCAA Basketball: Miami (OH) at Dayton David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Wojnarowski announced the New Orleans Pelicans have signed Charles Cooke to one of the league’s new two-way contracts. Cooke is a shooting guard, standing 6’-5’’ but his reach is an astounding 6’-11.5’’.

Cooke began his collegiate career with James Madison but spent his final two years of eligibility at Dayton. During his senior season, he averaged 15.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks — only 9 players averaged a line of 15/5/2.5/1/1 in the NCAA during the 2016-17 season. Also of note, Cooke’s three-point shot was remarkably consistent: 39.6% as a junior and 39.8% as a senior.

Although he went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft, Cooke did appear in the 2017 Summer League with the Minnesota Timberwolves, averaging 10.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 threes over five games (19.8 minutes per game).

Yes, recently waived Quinn Cook was a more notable performer in Las Vegas (20.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists), but realize that only one of these guys was willing to accept a two-way contract at this time. The maximum amount a player can make on a two-way deal is $279,000 so I’m sure Cook and his representation are seeking more, a lot more, whether it’s here in the NBA or somewhere overseas.

Cooke is the second player to receive a two-way contract from the Pelicans as Jalen Jones earned an identical deal last week, but observe they also share other similarities. Both are long and athletic who can defend multiple positions, and on offense, they display an ability to hit the outside shot yet possess the ball handling chops to get all the way to the rim.

Today’s landscape begs for players to be able to score efficiently at the league’s sweet spots (around the rim, behind the three-point line) while possessing the versatility to switch and guard multiple spots on the floor. It appears New Orleans has found two players to their liking who fit this mold, and the coaching staff will attempt to develop them further in both the G-League and with the Pelicans next season.