Mitch Creek is undoubtedly close to the NBA dream.
After a solid showing at the NBA Summer League, there was a very solid belief that Mitch Creek would find himself somewhere within the NBA’s constraints. News broke last week about Creek exercising his NBA out clause, with Olgun Uluc from Fox Sports Australia suggesting it could be the Brooklyn Nets.
In a matter of hours, it was announced that Creek had signed with the Nets with an Exhibit 10 attachment. The Australian forward would join the Nets for their training camp, giving him a chance to showcase his potential throughout camp and the preseason.
Does Creek fit with the Nets?
It is clear that Creek doesn’t fit the bill of a modern-day NBA wing. He’s not a great 3-point shooter, but instead scores very efficiently by getting to the rim and finishing inside the arc.
Stylistically, the forward’s fit remains a topic of discussion, when Brooklyn runs a pace-and-space offence that emphasizes high-volume shooting from the 3-point line. Last season, the Nets were second only to the Houston Rockets, when it came to three-point attempts (stats).
The Nets possess a core of young talent led by the likes of Chris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and D’Angelo Russell. Whilst you might imagine that a spot for Creek on the opening night roster is only a dream, set your sights back to a couple of weeks ago, when he turned heads at the NBA Summer League.
The swingman started three games out of five played for the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 6.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game, whilst shooting 43% from the field. Creek lined up in several positions across the floor and showed that he has the lateral quickness to play against athletic wings, but also the strength to scarp in the paint with the likes of 7 foot 1 number one draft pick Deandre Ayton.
He was able to earn some praise from Dallas Mavericks Coach, Rick Carlisle, who applauded his hard-nosed style of play.
.@dallasmavs coach Rick Carlisle showing some ❤️ to Mitch Creek and his @AFL-esque efforts 😂 Creek nearly catches a body followed by his trademark hustle in #NBLxNBA Summer League action 😎☀️🏀 pic.twitter.com/ZFhekjQfoA
— NBL (@NBL) July 7, 2018
The training camp situation
Creek’s participation in the training camp brings Brooklyn a step closer to the 20-player limit allowed. Outside of Creek, two others have been invited to training camp: Theo Pinson, a 6’7” wing and Tyler Davis, a 6’10” center.
Right now, there’s no rush for the Nets to decide on their two-way contracts, with training camp not due to open until September 25.
Examining the possible scenarios
There are three, or maybe two possibilities between now and then for Creek.
The best-case scenario sees Creek lining up against the Knicks on preseason opening night. Spotrac shows the Nets as having 15 guaranteed contracts. There’s no room for Creek right now. Brooklyn however, if sufficiently convinced, could make further roster adjustments –which includes the possibility of a Jared Dudley buyout– and open a spot up for Creek.
The Nets, following the conclusion of training camp, could also decide to convert Creek’s deal into a two-way contract instead, which means he would split time between Brooklyn and the Long Island Nets. The two-way is a more lucrative deal for the prospects compared to a typical G-League contract. It’s also a better deal for the NBA team, in that it retains the players’ NBA rights.
The last possibility would occur if the Nets cut Creek prior to the start of the 2018/19 regular season. The Exhibit 10 attachment provides financial incentives for players to stay with their team’s G-League affiliate if they don’t make the opening night roster, and do not have their contract converted into a two-way.
You could believe that Brooklyn would be interested in having all three training camp invites join the Long Island Nets in one form or another once the G-League season opens in mid-November, if none of them find themselves on the starting night roster.
It is an exciting time time for Creek who has been on the NBA fringes in the past. The Brookly Nets look like an ideal landing spot, and an excellent opportunity a player like Creek could thrive on.