Where Are They Now, 2009; Part 21
January 28th, 2009
– I was first alerted to the presence of Blake Griffin about 18 months ago, when an Oklahoman resident told me he was brilliant. Apparently this has become a widely-held opinion, as Griffin is the unanimous #1 pick on both of the draft websites that I look at. (I really ought to start following the draft more, you know. But it’s hard. I can’t watch the games. And that, to me, is an important part of knowing about someone. Oh well.) Griffin averages huge numbers of 22.2 points and 13.8 rebounds for Oklahoma, despite being only 19 years old, and his PER is a staggering 38.1. And that’s….a lot.
– Rashard Griffith is in Romania. Where else? In his second season with Asesoft Ploiesti, a team that currently lead the Romanian league with a 14-2 record, Griffith averages 10.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists, but those numbers dropped to only 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in EuroChallenge play. So, just to confirm, Rashard Griffith’s NBA window is shut, and has been for about seven years. Other players on the Ploiesti team that you may have heard of include Carl Krauser (former Pittsburgh standout who I seem to recall had a try-out with the Pacers once, although I can’t be sure of this) and Tyson Wheeler (who tried out for every team at some point, and who signed very briefly with the Nuggets back in the last millennium).
– Anthony Grundy is playing for Panellinios in Greece, where he is actually doing some passing. Grundy averages 10.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in EuroCup play, along with 16.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in the Greek league, playing the point guard to Brad Newley’s shooting guard. Grundy is about to turn 30, however, which lowers the curtain on any more NBA opportunities.
– Dan Grunfeld has had a weird yet productive month. Earlier this month he received Romanian citizenship, because his father Ernie was born there. This new found passport wealth has allowed him to travel with much greater ease around the European leagues, and instantly he signed with C.B. Valladolid in the Spanish second division (the LEB Gold), shooting 1-4 in six minutes on his debut.
– Tom Gugliotta is out of the limelight, presumably dining out off of the successful internet start-up company search engine that shares his name. (This is a Google joke, by the way. Give it the laughter it deserves. That is to say, none.)
– Marcus Haislip is getting better. Stumbling out of the NBA due to his rawness a few years ago, Haislip is now into his second season with Unicaja Malaga, a good Spanish team. Haislip averages a team-high 15.8 points as an inside/outside scoring forward, along with 5.0 rebounds.
– Mike Hall plays for the middle of the road Italian team, Armani Jeans Milano, a team that are sponsored by a jeans company. See if you can guess which. Hall averages 10.9 points and 7.1 rebounds in the Italian league, while playing mostly at small forward, but those numbers drop to only 7.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in the EuroLeague. Hall has shot a combined 97 three-pointers and only 40 free throws, so this would suggest that he’s still working on those much-needed perimeter skills.
– Yotam Halperin is signed with Olympiacos in Greece. On a very deep team, Halperin averages 7.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in the Greek league, alongside 8.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in the EuroLeague. Halperin is a combined 44-63 from two-point range (70%), 23-54 from three-point range (43%), and 39-45 from the free throw line (87%). For the points per shot fans amongst us, that’s 196 points on 117 shots, a startling 1.68 points per shot average. I like this guy already.
– Adam Haluska is signed with Hapoel Jerusalem, the Israeli league leaders, but has played all of one game, scoring 5 points.
– Darvin Ham gave it one last shot last season, signing a training camp contract with the Mavericks. He failed to win a spot, so he upped sticks, went to the D-League, did OK, then retired and became an assistant coach for his final team, the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, alongside former Timberwolves centre Dean Garrett. By the way, there were a lot of commas in that, the previous sentence. For that, and also for that previous sentence, and for this one, and for every time I’ve ever done this, I am, truly, sorry. You didn’t come here to read a Virginia Woolf novel.
– Finally, an update on two players that we’ve already had, but whose circumstances have changed. Esteban Batista, recently waived by Maccabi Tel-Aviv, has gone back to South America, signing with Libertad Sunchales in Argentina after deciding that Russia was too cold for him. And journeyman point guard Dee Brown has signed in Maccabi to replace him, sort of, indirectly, maybe, not really.
I am continuously intrigued by the esoterica and minutiae of all the aspects of building a basketball team. I want to understand how to build the best basketball teams possible. No, I don’t know why, either.
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