Usually, players signed to two-way contracts play just a modest amount of basketball over the course of the season.
Chicago Bulls big man Tyler Cook, however, is currently starting for the team and playing at a high level.
Filling in Admirably
The 6-foot-8 Cook has a wide frame of 255 pounds, which he’s put to good use while starting in place of injured Javonte Green, who took over starting duties after Patrick Williams went down in the fifth game of the season.
While Cook’s stat line is modest – 4.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game coming into Sunday’s game against Orlando – he has made his presence felt with his physical play and defensive prowess.
Cook doesn’t shy away from bigger players, nor stars. During Friday’s loss at Milwaukee, Cook frequently checked superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, holding his ground and forcing the former MVP into taking shots outside his comfort zone.
Offensively, Cook is aggressive at the basket, having dunked 11 of his 15 field goals on the season, and done so emphatically. He positions himself well in the dunker’s spot and gets off the ground quickly, using his wide frame and athletic ability to deter defenders from challenging him.
Cook isn’t likely to stick in the starting lineup as players begin to return from injuries, but it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the 24-year-old to stick in the rotation as a backup power forward.
The Bulls have struggled this year defensively at the big positions, often going small and playing star DeMar DeRozan at the four for a lack of options.
Cook gives Chicago a size advantage they don’t have a ton of as it is, and his energetic play gives the Bulls a motivation booster during rough patches.
For a team clinging to the second seed in the East while struggling with health, getting this caliber of production from a two-way player is a strong, and even necessary, boost.