The news was anticipated, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported last month that Keels was likely to receive a two-way contract once Jericho Sims was promoted to a standard deal, which occurred yesterday. New York’s two-way slots are now full, with Feron Hunt occupying the other.
Keels was one of the youngest players in the draft at just 18 years old and won’t turn 19 until late next month. He spent a single college season at Duke, averaging 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals in 36 games (30.2 minutes per contest).
At 6’4″ and 221 pounds, Keels is a combo guard, with some scouts questioning his conditioning, which may have impacted his draft status. He was considered a fringe first-round pick but ultimately fell to the middle of the second round.
Another knock against Keels was his efficiency, as he posted a .419/.312/.670 shooting line with the Blue Devils. That has carried over to Summer League action thus far, with Keels shooting just 3-18 through a couple of games.
However, Keels is young, physically strong, and considered a versatile player on both ends of the court, with a knack for making good decisions. He was also a highly-touted prospect entering college and was the third-leading scorer on a stacked Duke team that reached the Final Four of the NCAA tournament.
If Keels remains on a two-way deal for all of 2022/23, he’ll earn about $509K, be limited to 50 games in the regular season and ineligible for the postseason. He will need to be promoted to a standard contract at some in order to be playoff-eligible.