A few days after signing guard Jordan Ford to a training camp deal, the Sacramento Kings have signed Ford to a two-way contract, per Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) September 14, 2023
This always seemed a likely outcome for Ford, a former Folsom High Bulldog who grew up a Kings fan, after his strong performances for Sacramento in the 2023 Summer League games and with the Stockton Kings G League squad last year. In 32 games with Stockton (all starts), Ford averaged 14.7 points, 4.8 assists, 2.1 boards, and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 49.7% from the field, 40.1% from three, and 80.6% from the line. Across the Kings 6 Summer League contests in Sacramento and Las Vegas, Ford averaged 14.2 points and 5 assists on 50% from the field and 34.6% from deep. Ford’s best individual game of the summer came in a loss against the Bulls, where he finished with 25 points, 8 assists, and 4 made threes while showcasing his on-ball craft, quickness in transition, playmaking instincts, and quick-pop shot.
Can Ford make an impact for the Sacramento roster this season? It seems unlikely that there will be real minutes for Jordan, given the Kings bench depth—Malik Monk and Davion Mitchell are locks for key bench roles, and Chris Duarte and rookie Colby Jones will likely fight for reserve opportunities at the guard spots. Fellow two-way player Keon Ellis will make his case as well, and given his strong defensive prowess and improving deep shot, he could be the Kings most-utilized two-way pro.
But aside from Monk, Ford may be the best shooter of the bunch—he shot 40% from deep in each of the past three regular seasons in the G League, and shot 41.6% from deep across his 4-year career at Saint Mary’s College. Sacramento always needs more shooters on the roster, especially at the point guard position behind De’Aaron Fox and Mitchell. And Ford is also a strong playmaker on a fast-paced team, and led the Stockton team in assists in 2022-23 and finished the year with a 3.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Kings haven’t yet found a true diamond-in-the-rough prospect who snagged a real NBA role after working through their development squad. While it’s likely a mistake to bet on a 6’1 guard being that breakout surprise, I wouldn’t make that bet against Ford. He’s a smart player who has a near-elite skill for the modern NBA.
Ford signs the Kings’ third and final two-way contract of the season, joining sophomore Ellis and rookie Jalen Slawson. The two-way deal system, which was expanded from two spots to three this offseason, allows NBA teams to keep additional players in their organization that do not have to count against their 15-man regular season roster. The Kings can swap Ford, Ellis, and Slawson between the Sacramento and Stockton rosters as needed, so long as each player does not participate in more than 50 NBA games in the season.
The Kings have one of the deeper benches in franchise history this year, and on the surface it seems unlikely that any two-way player, Ford included, will crack real minutes for Sacramento. But Jordan is an excellent depth signing for the Kings, and can continue to be a floor general and primary scorer for the Stockton squad as needed. Retaining Ford and giving him an opportunity to challenge for NBA minutes is a smart decision by Monte McNair. Even if Ford doesn’t find minutes on a fully healthy, optimized Kings roster, he’s an excellent fit for the Kings as a third bench guard who can help space the floor and keep the offense moving should Mike Brown need to dig deep into his reserves.