Imagine a player compared to Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett. He’s a 7-footer who was classically trained in ballet growing up, giving him gracefulness scouts drool over. During workouts, he drains 3-pointers and handles the ball like he’s a half foot shorter.
The Clippers are signing that player.
Unfortunately for them, it’s Nikoloz Tskitishvili.
The Nuggets drafted Tskitishvili No. 5 in 2002, and he lasted just four disastrous seasons in the NBA. He left the league in 2006, returning to Europe. Most recently, he played in Lebanon.
It would be an incredible, amazing, phenomenal story if he makes the Clippers’ regular-season roster.
For that reason, it probably won’t happen.
The Clippers have 14 players with guaranteed salaries. That means Tskitishvili will compete with Chuck Hayes (unguaranteed) and whomever else the Clippers sign for the final regular-season roster spot. I don’t like Tskitishvili’s odds.
He says he’s stronger, smarter, more confident now – and that might be true. But the NBA was far too athletic and fast for him nine years ago. That usually doesn’t come easier at age 32.
It’s really quite impressive he got this far, though – given that then-Denver general manager Kiki Vandeweghe admitted he never saw Tskitishvili play live before drafting him – I wonder how much Doc Rivers has watched the forward.