James Southerland is a 6’8″ forward who averaged 13.3 points per game in his senior year at Syracuse, while knocking down almost 40 percent of his shots from three-point distance.
Southerland went undrafted, though he had an offer from the Spurs to take him late in the second round if he agreed to spend this season playing overseas, instead of earning a salary at the end of the San Antonio bench.
He played for the Sixers at the Orlando Summer League and for the Warriors at the Las Vegas version, but didn’t get a ton of opportunity in terms of minutes in either situation, and his shooting didn’t live up to the numbers he displayed in college.
Players who can shoot with Southerland’s size are going to get multiple looks from NBA teams, however, and he’ll at least get a shot to prove himself beginning with the invite he received to training camp with the Charlotte Bobcats.
From Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer:
Southerland will come to training camp at UNC Asheville on an unguaranteed contract and he’ll have a challenge making the team. The Bobcats have plenty of power forwards. They drafted Cody Zeller fourth overall and re-signed Josh McRoberts. They have Jeff Adrien on an unguaranteed deal and recently signed Anthony Tolliver, also to improve their shooting.
What often happens in training camp is that players who show initiative and work ethic (along with the requisite skill set) get noticed, and even if a spot isn’t necessarily available on the team they’re in camp with, coaches around the league talk, and the hard work can potentially pay off with a chance to ultimately play somewhere else.
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.