After going undrafted out of Clemson, Sykes signed a training camp contract with the Phoenix Suns. He had little to no chance of making the team, however, and was waived within a week. Sykes then took his energetic style of play to the D-League and spent the year with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, averaging 10.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 3.0 fouls in 23.9 minutes per game. His PER was 16.7; over 48 minutes, that equates to a PER of 33.5, which is almost Lebron-like (38.3 PER per 48.)
Wally Szczerbiak looks to be done. His contract with the Cavaliers expired last summer without incident, and he has not signed elsewhere since. Szczerbiak was a target of the Denver Nuggets back in November, but he declined their minimum salary contract as he was still recovering from left knee surgery. He also was supposed to work out with the Knicks, but it did not happen for the same reasons. No official announcement about his retirement has been forthcoming, but then again, they rarely do.
The PER thing was a joke, by the way.
Bucks draft pick Shevcheck is signed with Air Avellino in Italy. Air Avellino have made the news for other reasons this week, but Shev has helped to keep the boat steady. He is averaging 11.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 27 minutes per game; in Avellino’s absolutely must-win game last night versus Angellico Biella, Shevcheck played 41 out of 45 minutes, and totalled 16 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks to ensure victory.
Szymon Szewczyk was born in Szczecin. This prompts the question; how much is the Z worth in the Polish version of Scrabble?
Former Suns guard Yuta Tabuse returned to Japan a while ago, still with NBA aspirations. Playing in his second season for Tochigi Brex in the JBL league, Tabuse averaged 12.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists (third in the league) and 2.1 steals per game (second). Tabuse shot 41% from three-point range, which is unusually high for him, although it came on a Lou Walding-like number of attempts. Brex won the JBL Superleague title this year, and Tabuse was named to the All-JBL second team; however, since the league has only eight teams in it, and few imports, and little premier homegrown talent, it wasn’t quite the same calibre of achievement as would be an All-NBA second team berth.
Chris Taft has been out of basketball basically since 2005. Formerly touted as a future #1 overall pick, Taft eventually slumped all the way down to being only a 42nd pick for the Warriors in the 2005 Draft. He played 18 games to begin the season, and averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 8.5 minutes per game, shooting 61% from the field and 17% from the foul line; however, his rookie season was cut short by back spasms. Taft had surgery for a herniated disc in early 2006, and the Warriors waived him in 2006 preseason with a full guaranteed season remaining on his contract. It was discovered that Taft’s recurrent back problems were due to polymyositis, a progressive disease which weakens core muscle strength.
After two years on the shelf, Taft returned in January 2008 when he was acquired by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League. Taft played eight games with the team, totalling 100 minutes, 32 points and 20 rebounds. However, in that eighth game, Taft landed awkwardly on an opponent and dislocated his right foot, so that it pointed at an angle that feet shouldn’t point at. Taft then got a bone infection in the wound, and was again looking at a lengthy period on the shelf. He has not played anywhere since.
Taft attended a try-out with the quirky Philippines national team in early 2009, but it fell through when it became apparent that Taft had not suitably recovered from his injuries. He continues to try to rehab with the help of polymyositis specialists, and in the interim has returned to the University of Pittsburgh to complete his degree. He is looking to land a summer league berth as the next stage in his comeback.
Ex-Southern Illinois and Blazers point guard Jamaal Tatum started the year with Cholet, a French EuroCup team. He totalled 38 points on 43 shots in eight games before being released. He moved to Latvia the next month to play for Ventspils, another EuroCup team, for whom he has totalled 108 points on 71 shots in six games. However, he was released in March due to injury.
Oregon’s Bryce Taylor has spent the year in Germany, playing for Telekom Baskets Bonn. In 32 Bundesliga games, Taylor has averaged 12.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, but has shot only 32% from three point range.
Speaking of Bonn, ex-Nuggets forward Vincent Yarbrough has finally returned to play for them after six months out due to injury. He has not scored a point since returning, however.
Taylor got a training camp contract with the Blazers to start the year, but did not make the team. He subsequently entered his name into the D-League draft pool, and was drafted second overall by the Erie BayHawks. Taylor played 13 games for Erie, averaging a team-high 18.7 points, 6.2 rebounds 2.8 assists and 3.5 turnovers per game, before the team traded him to the Idaho Stampede for Mike Gansey. In the remaining 35 games of the regular season for the playoff-less Stampede, Taylor averaged 21.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists, shooting 49% from the field and 37% from three-point range, and posting a triple-double in the team’s penultimate game.
After the conclusion of the D-League season, Taylor went to Venezuela for some summer money. He averaged 9.7 points in four games for Trotamundos before being replaced by Julius Hodge.
Maurice Taylor was out of basketball for over two years. He signed with the Sacramento Kings in October 2006, who waived Justin Williams to open up a spot for him, but was waived a couple of months later, replaced by Justin Williams. Between January 2007 and January 2009, Taylor was unsigned, and presumed retired. But then out of nowhere came the news that Taylor had acquired an Italian passport and signed with Armani Jeans Milano, to a deal that was potentially three years long.
It didn’t last three years, of course. Taylor averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 16.3 minutes of 17 Serie A games for Milano, but they did not invoke his option for this season, so Taylor moved to China. He played 29 games this year for Shanxi Zhongyu as Stephon Marbury’s teammate, and averaged 18.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in 30.3 minutes per game. Unusually, the man who had shot only 5-33 from three-point range in 537 NBA games and 13,324 NBA minutes had now become a three-point shooter, shooting 43-100 from there in CBA play, including going 10-16 in one game.
When the CBA season ended, with Shanxi missing the playoffs, Taylor returned to Italy to play for Benetton Treviso. As a half of Benetton’s bench big men tandem alongside Donatas Bumpyjunas, Taylor has totalled 27 points and 8 rebounds in 83 minutes. With one game to play, Benetton are one game back of Air Avellino for the eighth and final Serie A playoff spot. Unfortunately, Benetton’s last game is against Taylor’s former team, AJ Milano, who are second in the league, and Air Avellino are matched up against Vanoli Cremona, who are in a three-way tie for last. The saving grace for Benetton is that Vanoli have more to play for. If they win, they might play Serie A ball again next season.
Taylor was waived by the Clippers early last offseason before his contract became guaranteed. He caught on with the Grizzlies for training camp, but lost out on a roster spot to Allen Iverson; we didn’t know at the time that Taylor would have been of more use than the future Hall of Famer.
From there, Taylor went to Serbia to sign with my favourite European team, Crvena Zvezda (often known in English as Red Star Belgrade). He averaged 9.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in the EuroCup, alongside 11.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game in the EuroCup However, Taylor left the team when Red Star failed to advance to the EuroCup Final Four, as did almost every senior player. Red Star ran out of money, and it is unclear whether they will even be allowed to play in the Adriatic League next season because of that.
Teletovic is with Caja Laboral, just as he has been since 2006. His role has increased year on year, and this year he’s one of the team’s best players, keeping Walter Herrmann firmly nailed to the bench. Teletovic was a big part of Caja Laboral’s EuroLeague quarter finals run, averaging 14.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in the competition, eighth-highest of anyone. He also averages 14.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in the ACB. 60% of Teletovic’s field goal attempts are three
-pointers, and he’s shooting 40% from there in the ACB alongside 44% in the EuroLeague.
13.5 points and 5.0 assists per game in the EuroLeague, 9.8 points and 4.2 assists per game in Greece. Still awesome.