Long Island top scorer Milton Doyle signed to two-way contract
Guard leads G League squad with 21.3 points per game
The call was a surprise, but it’s one Milton Doyle will take any time.
The Long Island Nets’ leading scorer has been signed to a two-way contract with the Brooklyn Nets, making him eligible to be recalled by Brooklyn for practice or game action at any time. Over the first month of the G League season, he’s seen second-year Brooklyn guard Isaiah Whitehead and fellow two-way contract Jake Wiley slide back and forth between the NBA and the G League, often on short notice.
It all sounds fine to him.
“If I get to come up here and play, call me at three, four in the morning,” said Doyle. “I’ll be here.”
Doyle has been the top scorer for the Long Island Nets, averaging 21.3 points through 17 games, along with 5.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, while shooting 38 percent from 3-point range and 43 percent from the field. He’s attempting 8.9 3-pointers per game.
In his last two games for Long Island, Doyle scored 29 points against the Salt Lake City Stars on Thursday and 21 points against the Lakeland Magic on Saturday. He’s had three 30-point games, with a season-high 34 points against the Northern Arizona Suns on Nov. 16 when he shot 12-for-19 from the field and 8-for-14 from 3-point range.
“I think it’s the same style of play,” said Doyle. “They want you to push the ball, run the floor and just bring a lot of energy. Everybody always talks about how Brooklyn has a lot of glue guys that helps everybody out. I think we’ve kind of got the same group of guys. So it’s an easy adjustment coming up here to play with these guys.”
The rookie is not on unfamiliar ground. Doyle played four games in Las Vegas with the Nets’ NBA Summer League squad that included Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Spencer Dinwiddie, averaging 10.5 points in 16.3 minutes per game on 56.7-percent shooting.
Over four years at Loyola, Doyle averaged 13.3 points per game, including a high of 15.2 as a senior, when he was named to the first team for the Missouri Valley Conference. His scoring for Long Island under coach Ronald Nored has represented a big jump.
“The pace that we play at is very fast and free,” said Doyle. “Coach Ron lets us play, push the ball in transition. As long as you’re playing defense, pretty much you do what you want on offense as long as you’re taking good shots. I think I have worked on my shot coming out of college and it’s improved and it’s starting to show.”
Doyle practiced at HSS Training Center on Monday afternoon. As a two-way contract player, he can spend up to 45 days with Brooklyn through the close of the Long Island Nets season. This is the first season of the rule that expanded NBA rosters to 17 with the inclusion of two-way contracts, and Yakuba Ouattara and Wiley had been Brooklyn’s initial signings. Wiley has played in five games for Brooklyn, most recently on Dec. 9 against the Miami Heat in Mexico City, while appearing in eight games for Long Island. Ouattara had played in one game for Long Island and none for Brooklyn.
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said the summer audition in Las Vegas had gone a long way in getting Doyle to this point.
“It started in Summer League, where he impressed right there,” said Atkinson. “He came out of nowhere. ‘Who is this guy?’ Not from a big school, small school. Surprising athleticism. Surprising feel to score the ball and then make passes. Obviously, I think physically he’s got a ways to go. He’s got to get stronger. He’s got to defend better. But I’m thrilled. I’m a big fan.”