It seems that there is money out there for the glut of talented, undrafted free agents this summer, it’s just not in the States. Following a number of college stars and productive Summer Leaguers who have already made the jump, Sylven Landesberg has signed a two-year deal with Maccabi Haifa, according to the Associated Press. Landesberg played with the Sacramento Kings in the Vegas Summer League, but wasn’t afforded the chance to really showcase his skills with the depth on that Kings roster.
If Landesberg had secured an NBA deal for next season, it’s unlikely that he would have played much, anyway. He definitely has NBA talent, but Landesberg’s game is still a good year or two away from being viable in the big leagues.
Playing for Haifa should give him a chance to hone his craft while getting a legitimate opportunity for playing time, and I definitely see this as more of a step in a process rather than an end in itself. There are plenty of players forced to go overseas because they’re not talented enough to play in the NBA, but Landesberg isn’t one of them. He just hasn’t figured it all out yet.
Landesberg has a very natural feel for the game, but his skill set still has some holes. He was never a very good finisher at Virginia, and that skill is rather important for off guards in the NBA. However, his biggest limitations are on the defensive end, where Sylven will need to figure out how to compensate for his relative lack of athleticism (he’s not a bad athlete, but far from a standout). Two years down the road, we should be looking at a new and improved Sylven Landesberg, hopefully complete with NBA contract in-hand.