Sixers sign Haywood Highsmith to two-way contract


It didn’t take the Sixers long to fill the roster spot vacated by guard Demetrius Jackson.

The team Tuesday signed swingman Haywood Highsmith to a two-way contract.

Highsmith, a product of D-II Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, signed with the Delaware Blue Coats as an undrafted free agent back in October after a local tryout. He’s had an impressive season in the G-League which led to a workout with the Sixers back in early December and now a two-way deal.

Highsmith has great length at 6-foot-7 and is an outstanding athlete. He’s steadily improved all season down in Delaware. Coming into today, he’s averaged 13.7 points while shooting 40 percent from three on almost five attempts a night in 21 games (20 starts). He’s also an excellent rebounder off the wing, averaging 7.1 boards.

The 22-year-old Baltimore native has a skill set that would seem to suit the Sixers’ bench and Brett Brown’s system quite well. He has a smooth jumper and excels in catch-and-shoot situations. He seems to have a good feel for spacing and moving without the ball. With length and quick feet, he’s also an ideal player for the Sixers' switch-heavy defensive scheme.

You can see some of those attributes in the highlight below from his 22-point game the other night.

NBA teams are allowed to sign two players to two-way deals, taking up their 16th and 17th roster spots — or in the Sixers' case 15th and 16th with the open spot from the Jimmy Butler trade. Players that sign two-way contracts can spend up to 45 days with the NBA team that signs them. Because of the timing of Highsmith's signing, he's only allowed to spend 24 days with the team, not including any time spent with the Sixers following the conclusion of Delaware’s regular season.

He joins Shake Milton, a 2018 second-round pick that has gotten sporadic time with the Sixers, as the team's other two-way player. Highsmith is an ideal candidate for one of the team’s two-way spots. With all due respect to Jackson, Highsmith is younger, fits more of the Sixers’ needs and seems to be just scratching the surface of his potential.

We likely won’t see Highsmith Tuesday night against the Wizards — he actually played in a game for the Blue Coats at the Wells Fargo Center in the afternoon — and he’s not just going to get immediate minutes for a team near the top of the Eastern Conference. 

But for a team that’s desperately needed bench help, especially with the skill set of someone like Highsmith, he could force his way into some action.

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