Blalock’s recovery from a life-threatening stroke continues, as he gets back to nearer his NBA-calibre best. He started last year with the Maine Red Claws, and was traded after 25 games to the Reno Bighorns, for whom he averaged 11.8 points and 7.4 assists per game. Blalock has battled weight problems since his stroke, but he lost weight during the D-League season and improved as the campaign went along. Blalock turns 27 in February and will probably never get back to the NBA, but his good D-League season, aided by a decent summer league performance, should see some good European gigs in the near future.
Brown is back for his seventh consecutive season on the cusp of the NBA. After hundreds and millions of summer league appearances, mini-camp tryouts and training camp contracts, the former DePaul forward has 75 NBA games played to his credit, and is looking for the big three figures. Brown is athletic and a good rebounder, but is not without his flaws; his defence is more energetic than effective, he never ever passes, and his jump shot and free throw strokes are poor due to a bad cross-handed release that he has never corrected. Brown is 29 years old now and hasn’t got any better; what he is is pretty good, but what he is is permanently juuuuuust on the outside.
Chase is a 5’9 scoring guard with a 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. That doesn’t bode well for a man’s NBA prospects. Chase has actually spent time on an NBA regular season roster when he spent the first two weeks of the 2006-07 season with the Utah Jazz; however, he did not appear in any games. More than a little bit like Earl Boykins, Chase is extremely quick and a very good three point shooter – in fact, a much better one than Boykins, who is more into his long twos – but that’s the only significantly plus skill that Chase has going for him. And you can always sign taller shooters.
Former Lakers camp invite Giles started this year in the Philippines as Smart Gilas’ import player. Smart Gilas are a Philippines team that aren’t like normal club teams; even though they play in the domestic Philippines league, they were founded to be the next Philippines national team. A selection of amateur and college standouts were chosen to form the basis for this new team, along with one import player, training religiously with a veteran Serbian coach (Rajko Toroman) in order to have created a competitive team in time for the 2012 Olympics. It’s a unique plan, and the fact that Smart Gilas are competing in the Filipino PBA league makes it all rather strange, but the intent makes sense.
Smart Gilas tabbed C.J. Giles as their import player, perhaps on account of his surname. However, he was released by the team for disciplinary reasons, reasons which (allegedly) include an intense nightlife, unashamed marijuana consumption, an uncooperative attitude and a punch-up with his brother. Giles played in 2 PBA games with the team and totalled 27 minutes, 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 fouls before his release.
Giles is 6’11 and very athletic. Those two statements are true statements. However, everything else is a work in progress. In fact, calling them “works in progress” might be generous. For no progress appears to be being made.
Ingles was a member of the Warriors summer league team last year, and later went to Spain to play for CB Granada. He put up a good season, averaging 11.0ppg, 4.1rpg and 2.6apg. Ingles shot more threes than twos and hit only 35% of them, but to go to Spain and be a genuinely effective point forward aged only 22 is no mean feat. I stand by my claim that he should have been drafted. After all, Chinemelu Elonu was.
With a bit more luck, Kasib Powell could have had a multi-year NBA career by now. He went undrafted out of Texas Tech and has had to scrap for NBA looks since then, getting a few contracts here and there but always losing out in a numbers game. The only 11 NBA games he has ever played were with the Miami Heat, for whom the very comparable Da’Sean Butler will soon be playing. Three days before he signed, this happened:
That happened two years, three months and 21 days ago. And now look at them.
Rich is a small scorer out of Florida State, who last year went to summer league with the Washington Wizards. He shot 21% with them, and then moved to Israel to play for Maccabi Haifa, where he averaged 14.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists. 6’3 shooting guards without much of a jump shot are generally deemed to not be of NBA calibre; also factoring into Rich’s chances of making the Warriors team is the fact that he has already signed for Hapoel Jerusalem for next season. Rich’s jump shot is certainly improving, though, and it’s always fun to watch him shoot them, if only to see how high he jumps on every attempt. He also uses that athleticism to be a pesky, persistent perimeter defender.
Tremaine Townsend is an athletic 6’9 forward, formerly of Cal State Northridge. He played two years there; both years, he led the Big West Conference in rebounding. In his first and thus far only professional season, Townsend led the Czech Republic league in rebounding, grabbing 10.9 in only 32.5 minutes per game. [For some reason he was known as Tremaine Ford there, and is going by the name Tremaine Ford-Townsend for the purposes of this summer league.] It is easy to see, therefore, why the team that ranked last in the NBA in rebounds by a hundred million miles might value his contributions.
Working to Townsend’s advantage, Diamon Simpson was signed by the Warriors last year with much the same skillset. Furthermore, in addition to his rebounding, Townsend has the size and athleticism of an NBA forward. However, he has no real offensive game. Simpson shot 9% from three point range in the Czech Republic last season (3-34), and shot only 58% from the line. He also didn’t get there much, partly because he can’t dribble, and also because he does not create in the post. Louis Amundson is the obvious upside, but as things stand, Louis Amundson is better.
Kashif Watson graduated from Idaho University last year, and averaged 10.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 26.6 minutes per game in his senior season. The 6’4 guard can get to the line (142 free throw attempts to 227 field goal attempts), but can’t make them (68%). He hit only 1 three pointer all season, took only two, and has no defensive stats to report.
He is here because he is C.J. Watson’s brother. This happens a lot with player’s brothers – Tony Durant was on the Thunder’s summer league team last year, and Joel Bosh has played with the Raptors one before now. Rodney Billups once played with the Pistons, Zach Marbury with the Knicks, William Pippen (Scottie’s nephew) with the Blazers. Additionally, LeBron James’s high school team mates Dru Joyce and Romeo Travis have received numerous summer league stints with the Cavaliers, at James’s behest. But the common trait behind that list of players is that the famous brother is a star for that time. This is not true of C.J. Watson, who is a free agent backup.
I guess they’re trying to give him an incentive to stay.
Ol’ Sleepy Brows is into his third summer league season. In his first two – with the Mavericks and Lakers respectively – Williams did not play much. He was forced to sit behind players who, little did we know at the time, were far inferior to he. But given an NBA opportunity with a mid-season call-up to the Warriors, Williams responded emphatically with averages of 15.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, with 50% shooting and a 16.0 PER. And he’s not even a three point gunner. Not yet.
Even though I love to claim accuracy on salary information, I don’t actually know if Williams’s minimum salary is guaranteed for next season. But I do know that it will be irrelevant. He’s staying.
Last month, Wise was looking to join the list of players drafted out of the D-League, a list that currently features only two other players (Mike Taylor and Latavious Williams). His D-League season was pretty outstanding; 16.6 points per game on 52%/38%/86% shooting in only 31 minutes per game, with a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, terrific ballhandling, athleticism and transition play. Wise is small, more of a scorer than a creator and not much of a defender, but there’s a lot of scoring talent in the little bugger, even if he only drives left. However, due to the nature of this year’s second round, Wise did not get picked.
On his Twitter account, Wise lists his occupation as “Ball Player and Entrepreneur”. Is it possible to be an entrepeneur when you’re a professional basketball player whose only paycheck to date came from the incredibly badly paid D-League?
Woodside is a 5’11, 185lb scorer. So there’s your problem.
Without the size or athleticism for the NBA, Woodside was always destined for Europe, where his style of play is tailor made. He has begun his professional career in France, and this season for Gravelines-Dunkirque, Woodside averaged 14.5 points and 4.7 assists per game in the French league, alongside 12.5 points and 3.2 assists per game in the EuroChallenge. And he has a blog that details some of his adventures along the way.
After three years, Brandan Wright has simply been a massive bust. It’s not that he’s played badly; Wright has a career PER of 18.2, a career true shooting percentage of .574%, and career averages of 16.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per 36 minutes. The problem instead is that he hasn’t played much. Wright missed all of last season with a torn shoulder capsule, and played in only 39 games in his sophomore season after dislocating the same shoulder. He had played in only 38 games in his rookie season, due to a realm of DNP-CD’s an insanely inconsistent minutes, and has played only 77 of a possible 246 career games.
With Anthony Randolph and Ronny Turiaf now in New York out of the way, Wright and Ekpe Udoh (not playing in summer league due to injury) should have all the backup big man minutes to themselves. Only another serious injury to Wright should mean Vladimir Radmanovic plays in his place; if both are healthy, it should never happen.
Of course, it’s Don Nelson who needs convincing of this, not any of us.