Guys under rookie contracts are gold in the NBA — they don’t cost much, and some contribute a lot. Guys on those contracts almost always get them picked up.
Joe Alexander was not picked up. After two injury plagued, low production seasons — one in Milwaukee, one in Chicago — he got to test the market.
The Hornets worked him out — they are on a quest to find some backup big me — and were impressed, so he got a partially guaranteed invite to camp, according to a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.
Alexander had raw athleticism out of West Virginia to go No. 8 overall in the draft (ahead of Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, JaVale McGee and JJ Hickson among big men). Alexander was raw but had good athleticism, good work ethic and the kind of intangibles that made teams think he would figure it out.
But injuries — starting with a hamstring issue in his first camp — robbed him of a chance to prove any of that. He never got on track.
He’s going to have to compete for a roster spot with Craig Brackins, Aaron Gray, Darryl Watkins, Darius Songaila and Pops Mensah-Bonsu. We’ll see how he does against guys who have proved they belong.
Still, good risk. If he’s healthy, the Hornets may have a steal.