January 5, 2011
Oliver Lafayette - Rumours persisted all summer and all autumn that Serbian team Partizan Belgrade were in talks to sign former Baylor point guard Curtis Jerrells, despite the fact that Jerrells was under contract to the San Antonio Spurs the whole time. Once Lafayette had been released by the Boston Celtics, he moved to Partizan instead to be their replacement for Bo McCalebb, yet the Jerrells rumours persisted regardless. And when the Spurs cut Jerrells a month into the season, the inevitable happened; Partizan released Lafayette and snagged CJ. It was the worst kept secret since Sylvester Stallone's porn debut.
Importantly, Lafayette had struggled with Partizan. He did fairly well in the Adriatic League, averaging 10.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game, but in Euroleague play he shot only 15 for 68 from the field. After being released, Lafayette returned to the D-League, coming back to the team whose GM said he never should have left. He has averaged 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists in the 8 games hence. Rather like Jackson, he is better defensively, a good athlete who rebounds surprisingly well for one so small, and who produces in transition. But he's turnover prone in the half court, and his jumpshot, while improved, remains mediocre and inconsistent.
Lafayette played in the NBA with the Celtics last year, totalling 7 points and 4 rebounds in their regular season finale (his only game for the team) and having a great seat during the team's lengthy playoff run. If he never makes it back to the NBA, he certainly had one of the best minimal NBA careers imaginable. But he may yet make it back.
July 6, 2010
Like Gaffney, Lafayette is a late bloomer, a man who shot only 35% from the field in his senior season at Houston before a couple of years in Mexico and the D-League straightened him out. Now that he has learned to shoot, Lafayette is the complete stats package, adding 38% three point shooting to great rebounding numbers for a point guard, decent assists numbers, an acceptable 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, and prolific steals numbers. Lafayette is very athletic and a great slasher to the basket, who now has the jumpshot. If you want a cheap version of Nate Robinson without the ability to win a game single-handedly but with much more interest in playing defense, Olly Fats could be your man.