On Thursday morning, March 18, you had no idea who Omar Samhan was. Admit it. I didn’t, and I live in California and watch a whole lot of basketball. This guy, and St. Mary’s, were not on the NBA radar.
By the next Monday, he was your favorite new player. He had dropped 29 points on Richmond and 32 on Villanova. Didn’t really look like an NBA body, was not leaping out of the building, but the guy was getting it done. And those guys — big men who can just find a way around the rim — can find their way in the NBA.
Then he went up against an actual future NBA frontcourt in Baylor and needed 17 shots to get his 15 points. He impressed nobody that night.
So, can Samhan play in the NBA? ESPN’s player development guru (and all around good guy David Thorpe) said, basically, nobody knows (the link is Insider, but Thorpe would be the reason to get Insider, he’s that good). Samhan hasn’t played much against the kind of competition you can judge him against. Samhan is going to get a chance in camps and workouts to prove he belongs.
“The upcoming NBA draft workouts will be the first time he’ll see NBA size and talent almost every day, from his pre-draft training to the three or four workouts per week he’ll likely be attending throughout the spring. Some of the smarter teams will schedule an early workout with him, then plan on seeing him again just before the draft. It’s an excellent way to mark progress.”
Basically, does he get better as workouts go on, does his conditioning dramatically improve and does he figure out how to use his body on better players? If so, there is “upside” and somebody may take a second round shot with him. If he doesn’t improve, well, there are other places to make a living playing besides the NBA. It’s on him.
Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.