Kansas big man Cliff Alexander was one of the best players not drafted back on June 25. He was considered a bubble first round guy who just plummeted off the board. He has a big, NBA-ready body as a center with fantastic athleticism. What he lacked was much of an offensive touch — he has a straight-line game that relies on his athleticism to get things done. He was a project.
The Nets gave him a chance in Summer League and he looked athletic and raw. In 22 minutes a game he averaged 8.3 points, but on 37.7 percent shooting, plus he grabbed 7.8 boards a game.
That was enough for Portland to sign him — and point guard Phil Pressey – to contracts, the team announced.
Pressey’s contract is guaranteed for one year. Alexander’s is a make-good deal — there is some buyout cash but he needs to make the roster to really get paid.
While the Trail Blazers have a couple potential roster spots available, it’s going to be hard for Alexander to earn one. They will start Mason Plumlee at the five with veteran Chris Kaman behind him, plus Meyers Leonard can play the four or five depending on the lineup.
The more likely scenario is Alexander heads to the D-League to work on his game, and if he can add some offensive versatility he will get a call-up next season. He’s got the tools; it’s just a matter of learning how to use them.