Take this report with a grain of salt. That said as a caveat, each year a couple NBA players who had standout seasons in China get a chance with an NBA squad at the end of the season.
This year’s candidates are Jimmer Fredette and Carlos Boozer, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
Jimmer Fredette, fresh off an MVP season with the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks, is back in the United States and eagerly awaiting the phone call that affords him another NBA shot.
Carlos Boozer, meanwhile, remains in China but has also played his way back onto the NBA’s radar, having helped the Guangdong Southern Tigers, along with veteran guard Donald Sloan, advance to within one game of the Chinese Basketball Association finals…
One source plugged firmly into the Chinese scene says that the Miami Heat and the aforementioned Clippers are among the teams tracking the 34-year-old’s (Boozer’s) progress with Guangdong.
Do either of these guys really help an NBA team headed to the playoffs? I don’t see it.
Boozer makes a little more sense, and the report has actual teams attached to him. While he’s 35, has been out of the NBA two years, and has lost enough of his athleticism that nobody in the NBA gave him a contract this season, he still is a proven veteran who can get some buckets. Remember, he averaged 11.8 points a game while shooting 49.9 percent, and pulled down 6.8 rebounds a night for the Lakers two seasons ago. He could be a pick-and-pop threat who can bang inside during the postseason.
Fredette put up monster numbers in China averaging 37.6 points per game, but there’s a reason for that — that league plays no defense. Here’s a list of the other players who averaged more than 30 points per game in China this season: Errick McCollum, MarShon Brooks, Jared Cunningham, Jabari Brown, Jamaal Franklin, Lester Hudson, Dominique Jones, and Darius Adams (all fringe NBA guys at best). China has to feel like college again for Fredette because he’s got the ball in his hands and nobody has the athleticism or will to stop him. That doesn’t solve his issues at the NBA level on the defensive end or with his decision making. I’d say I’d be surprised if an NBA team was serious about giving him a short contract for the end of the season, but you never know. That said, give a 10-day contract to a D-Leaguer, it has a better chance of panning out.