October 6, 2010
Gist was drafted by the Spurs with the 58th pick in 2008, at a time when they're usually drafting foreigners. In his first professional season, Gist averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds for Italian team Angellico Biella - it's rare to even an American rookie in Serie A, let alone to have one play that well. Last year, Gist moved to Russia to play for Lokomotiv Kuban, averaging a further 11.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. Gist is that classic tweener, the athletic 6'8 shotblocker who needs to develop either ball handling skills, some much improved strength, or both. But one thing he does have going for him is a decent jumpshot; despite shooting only 31% from three in Russia last season, and whilst not being very consistent with it, Gist is a decent and constantly improving outside shooter.
July 13, 2010
James is the Spurs's forgotten second rounder. While San Antonio love to draft either international steals, international busts, or NCAA players that everyone else overlooked, Gist is none of the above. Gist was a four year player at Maryland, the consummate power forward in a small forward's body, who needed to develop a jumpshot and ball handling abilities. He has the size and athleticism for an NBA small forward, but still likes to play around the basket, where he's undersized. Gist spent last year in Russia playing for Lokomotiv Kuban, and barely played at the start of the year, but crescendoed nicely and finished up averaging 25 minutes, 11.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. If Gist were to join the Spurs roster, he'd give them a dimension that they otherwise don't really have, of an athletic entry-level Damion James-type combo forward that might work out better than Marcus Haislip did. Then again, they don't really need that.
June 19, 2010
Another ex-NBA draft pick to have signed in Italy is Milovan Rakovic, whose rights are owned by the Magic. Rakovic was one of the best players in the Russian Superleague last year, averaging 15.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 25 minutes per game for Spartak St Petersburg. He's cashing in on that and moving to Italy to play for Italian powerhouse Montepaschi Siena. There's lots of upheaval in Russia at the moment; the Superleague teams have all signed a pact vowing to break away from the current governing body, with whom they are thoroughly disenfranchised, and to begin running operations on their own. Amidst this upheaval, many players have left; Spartak also released James White (14.8/3.7) and Goran Suton (played 94 minutes all season). Additionally, Unics Kazan have released veteran Lithuanian jumpshooter Saulius Å tombergas, and Lokomotiv Kuban have released their imports James Gist, Andre Owens and Gerald Green. It's probably fair to say that Green will not be returning to the Dallas Mavericks.