NBA hardship contracts: Top performances by 10-day signees

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The month of December proved to be a rather difficult time for teams and players alike in the NBA after dealing with the latest outbreak of the coronavirus.

Over 200 players entered the health and safety protocol in December and 11 games were postponed as a result of the outbreak. Teams have called up nearly 100 players from the NBA G League to replace those in the protocol, creating opportunities for under-the-radar guys.

With several roster players sidelined in the protocol, teams relied on those call-ups to field teams and avoid further postponements. Several players signed via hardship exception took advantage of the opportunity and made a name for themselves.

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The performances by those players will go a long way in securing long-term contracts in the NBA. The latest obstacle surrounding the coronavirus certainly proved to be difficult but one uplifting consequence is seeing several players realizing the opportunity of a lifetime.

With most teams through the worst of the latest coronavirus outbreak, Rookie Wire took a look at some of the top performances by players signed via hardship contracts. We will continue to update this list with each notable outing.

Note: List current through games played on Jan. 4

Brandon Goodwin, Cleveland Cavaliers

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Stat Line: 13 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds

The Cavaliers signed Goodwin once Darius Garland and newly-acquired guard Rajon Rondo were placed in the health and safety protocol. He turned in his best performance on Dec. 31 with 13 points, six assists and four rebounds in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks. He earned praise from head coach J.B. Bickerstaff for fitting right in with the team so the signing certainly appears to be blend in with the team culture.

Malcolm Hill, Atlanta Hawks

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Stat Line: 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals

Hill, who went undrafted out of Illinois in 2017, joined a depleted Hawks roster and immediately made an impact on the court. He produced 13 points, three rebounds and three steals for his best outing with the Hawks on Dec. 29.

The signing of Hill gave Illini fans an opportunity to see him matched up on Ayo Dosunmu for a couple of appearances when the Hawks faced the Chicago Bulls. Unfortunately, Hill was placed into the protocol himself and, to this point, has not signed with the Hawks or another team.

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Cameron Oliver, Atlanta Hawks

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Stat Line: 13 points, 4 rebounds

Oliver, who played in the National Basketball League last season, also joined Malcolm Hill on the Hawks with the team down several players due to the health and safety protocol. He had 13 points and four rebounds on Dec. 29 and also scored 10 points on Dec. 31 in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Tim Frazier, Orlando Magic

AP Photo/Mary Schwalm

Stat Line: 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists

Frazier signed with the Magic on Dec. 21 as the team had five players in the health and safety protocol. He produced 14 points, five rebounds and three assists on Jan. 2, three nights after scoring 13 points and five assists. He was signed to a second 10-day contract on Dec. 31. He has provided a veteran presence to the team during his stint and may have helped himself land a long-term deal in Orlando or elsewhere.

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Xavier Moon, Los Angeles Clippers

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Stat Line: 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals

Moon, the nephew of Jamario Moon, spent the last three seasons in the Canadian Elite Basketball League before joining the Agua Caliente Clippers this year in the NBA G League. He has logged four appearances with Los Angeles and is averaging 5.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals. His best outing came on Jan. 3 after scoring 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals. The Clippers signed him to a second 10-day contract on Jan. 4.

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BJ Johnson, Orlando Magic

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Stat Line: 14 points (6-7 FG), 4 rebounds

BJ Johnson, who has spent time previously in the NBA, was among four players signed by Orlando from the Lakeland Magic. He produced his best game on Dec. 22 after scoring 14 points and four rebounds in a win over the Atlanta Hawks. The Magic did not sign Johnson to a second 10-day contract as he will return to Lakeland.

D.J. Wilson, Toronto Raptors

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Stat Line: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 assists, 1 block

Wilson debuted with the Raptors on Dec. 26 and instantly stuff the stat sheet. He registered 15 points, eight rebounds, five steals, four assists and one blocked shot in a blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers; his five steals tied a team record for a debut game. He was eventually placed in the health and safety protocol and has not re-signed with the team.

Alfonzo McKinnie, Chicago Bulls

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Stat Line: 16 points, 5 rebounds

McKinnie was the first player signed via hardship exception to ink a standard contract with a team. The signing came after producing 16 points and five assists in a win over the Houston Rockets on Dec. 20. He proved to be a tremendous fit with Chicago and the team opted to keep him around for the rest of the season. He previously had stops with the Golden State Warriors and Los Angles Lakers and will now have the chance to make a name for himself in the Windy City.

Chaundee Brown Jr., Atlanta Hawks

AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.

Stat Line: 16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists

Brown, who also played this season with the Los Angeles Lakers, has started in two of his four games with the Hawks. He produced 16 points, three rebounds and three assists in his second start on Dec. 29 against the Chicago Bulls. He has a few more days left on his 10-day contract and could sign for another 10 days with the Hawks still down several players in the protocol.

Kyle Guy, Miami Heat

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Stat Line: 17 points (4-6 3PT)

Guy, in three games with the Heat, is averaging 12.7 points, three assists and 2.7 rebounds on 50% shooting from 3-point range. He scored a career-high 17 points on Dec. 31 and had 14 points two games later. Guy is certainly showing out on his 10-day contract and could be a player the Heat look to keep around for the duration of the season.

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Keifer Sykes, Indiana Pacers

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The Pacers signed Sykes to a two-year contract on Dec. 27 after a strong season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Sykes, who went undrafted in 2015, debuted on Dec. 29. He eventually started for the Pacers in just his third game on Jan. 2, scoring 10 points and five assists. On Tuesday, Sykes recorded 22 points, six assists and four rebounds.

He previously played with several teams overseas and made stops in Korea, Turkey, Italy, China, Greece and Australia among other locations. While Sykes’ performances have come on a standard deal, we still felt as though his recent play deserved some attention given his journey to this point.

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