March 15, 2010
[...] But the larger, general point remains. You see it a lot, when D-League players come in and contribute at least 85% of what the multi-year veteran they're replacing can give, to a watching audience shocked by their competence. This happens every year, and this year has been no different, with players such as Sundiata Gaines, Reggie Williams, Anthony Tolliver, Chris Hunter and others readily contributing to NBA teams. Utah themselves kind of did this when they brought in Wesley Matthews in the offseason, a man so beautifully average that he made Ronnie Brewer expendable. About 40 or so NBA rotation players are entirely replaceable by players outside of the NBA, who would be deemed to have NBA talent had they had the opportunity/fortune of those in front of them. This is particularly the case with wing players, but also applies to all positions, and it's not just something that's been the case since the D-League existed. For example, for all these years Calvin Booth has been bringing in paychecks and signing multi-year contracts, how much worse than him has Zendon Hamilton been? Pretty much no worse at all, really. But Booth had opportunity and fortune, and Hamilton did not. So Hamilton grafted for whatever money and employment he could get, while Booth got much more money than his play merited and a prolonged career based off one timely summer. It's somewhat unfair, but it's just how it is. (And despite how it may appear, that's not meant pejoratively towards Booth. Take what you can get, Calvin, and God bless you for that.)
The NBA prefers familiarity, and familiarity breeds the opposite of contempt. Some players get more than they deserve, while their comparable peers run up the air miles just trying to find the right situation. There is nothing especially wrong or flawed about this circumstance, and it sure as hell applies to all works of life in some way. Yet it perhaps should be less of a surprise when a D-Leaguer or undrafted free agent is brought in and is able to be a consistent distributor in an NBA rotation. It's normal, it's sensible, and it's worth considering when you start giving average players MLE money. Any team that does its homework can find minimum salary talent. Utah are one such team - they've since done it again with Othyus Jeffers - and it's a shame they didn't have one more left in the gun.
March 14, 2010
- Zendon Hamilton
Perennial journeyman Zendon Hamilton is still going, although his best days are behind him now since he's turning 35 next month. He signed with Al Jalaa Aleppo in December, a team in the mighty basketball powerhouse of Syria, but no statistics are available. He got injured in January and may have been released.