League-Leading 3-Point Shooter Gets Contract Guaranteed

Saturday, Jan. 7th is the day that contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season. There are a number of minimum-salaried players around the Association who stood to be waived by their teams before that magic date, but Brooklyn Nets fans can rest assured that Yuta Watanabe will not be one of those unfortunate souls.

The league's leading 3-point shooter, Watanabe will indeed have his contract guaranteed for the rest of the season, along with Nets teammates Edmond Sumner and Markieff Morris. 

Watanabe is a great success story in Brooklyn, and now will earn the entirety of his $1.97M contract this season. He was waived by the Toronto Raptors after two years of mixed performance combined with injuries. He shot 37% from three in Toronto, but was only able to play a total of 88 games over that time, and averaged just 4.4. points in 11 minutes per contest.

The Nets took a chance on the 28-year-old, and he has paid off huge dividends, shooting a sizzling 51.4% from 3-point land and becoming a key contributor off the Brooklyn bench. 

But Yuta doesn't hold any grudges against the Raptors for letting him go. 

"I cannot thank them enough for giving me two years [of] opportunity," he said. "I've been through like a lot of up down, there was a time I was playing a lot of minutes, there was time I was playing like zero minutes, but there's still every game, every practice, just being on [that] team, I learned a lot of stuff, learned from [the] coaches a lot. So, yeah, having success now it's because of them."

The irony, of course, is that the Raptors' biggest downfall this season has been their atrocious 3-point shooting. They're 29th in the NBA at just 32.4%.

Photo: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports