April 24, 2010
- Diamon Simpson
St Mary's graduate Simpson started the year in training camp with the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors seemed to understand how biblically terrible of a rebounding team they are; despite the pace they play at, Golden State grabbed the fewest rebounds per game of any team this season (38.4rpg, 11th worst of any team in the last 40 years), with a huge -9.7 rebounding differential. To put that into context, only 4 other teams had a rebounding differential of worse than -1.8 this season; New Jersey (-4.3), New York (-4.5) and Indiana (-5.1). Golden State grabbed only .444% of all available rebounds, far below Indiana's second worse mark of .474%, and even worse than their 2008-09 mark of .472%. And so that's why they brought in Simpson and Shaun Pruitt, two very good rebounders, for training camp.
However, they didn't make a roster spot available for either player. Nor did they really attempt to. Both were cut. Simpson joined the D-League and was assigned to the L.A. D-Fenders, for whom he averaged 15.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocks per game in 30 contests. He was bought out of his contract to play for the Alaska Aces in the Philippines.
The Philippines basketball season is a bit odd, in that it doesn't have a regular season like all other leagues do. Instead, teams play a couple of competitions throughout the year, which, while technically of an equal footing, do not have equal prestige within Philippines basketball. The most prestigious one of the two, the Philippines Cup, runs from October to early March. In this years's Finals, a Simpsonless Aces team (no imports are allowed in the Philippines Cup) lost 4-0 in the finals to the wonderfully named Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants (who, unfortunately, will be known as the B-Meg Derby Ace Llamados from next season onwards).
The Aces are now playing in the second tournament, the PBA Fiesta Cup, which runs from late March until July. Each team is allowed one import in the Fiesta Cup (or Fiesta Conference), but that import can't be taller than 6'6. I guess Simpson wore no socks on measuring day. Simpson had a whopping 36 points and 25 rebounds on his debut in the competition, but no statistics can be found for other games.
(As is perhaps obvious, Philippines teams are often if not always named after their corporate sponsors. While looking some of the above stuff up, I found a team called the "Licealiz Shampoo Hair Doctors". Before that, they were known as "Fash Liquid Detergent". And before that, they were known as "Hapee Toothpaste". It simply does not get better than that. God bless the Philippines. Could you imagine if NBA teams started taking the same approach? We could have had the Charlotte Dishcloths, the Toronto Whole Wheat Biscuits and the Oklahoma City Fabric Softener. Tell me that's not better a million times better than naming teams after television channel owners, mid-90's film motifs and aggressive weather patterns. You just can't do it.)