Monday, March 31, 2014

Scotty Hopson Makes It Back

After not being drafted in 2011 and bouncing around a few summer league teams, Scotty Hopson looked like he would slip through the cracks in the NBA. There's no question he had the talent - Hopson is an athletic 6'7 200 guard who averaged 17 points a game on 49% shooting at Tennessee.

However, at the next level, one-dimensional scoring guards are a dime-a-dozen. Hopson wasn't a great rebounder, passer or defender and he didn't get a ton of pre-draft publicity - he didn't have anything that made his resume stand out. Maybe he could have been MarShon Brooks, but that's hardly a big deal.

He ended up heading overseas and playing in Europe. It's a better living than the NBDL, but not many guys who go out there end up making it back to the NBA. It's easy to be out of sight and out of mind while the longer rotations and shorter games make it harder for guys to put up huge stats.

That's one thing I've picked up on covering the NBA draft - the line between making it and not can be very thin for non-elite perimeter players. It just isn't a huge deal if you are the 400th or 500th best player in the world. For 7th-8th men, it all comes down to opportunity. 

If Hopson succeeds, like Patrick Beverley before him, he could help blaze the trail from Europe back to the league. I don't see why more NBA teams don't use Europe as a minor-league - if you need to add a role player, why not get a 27-year old man as opposed to a 20-year old boy?

The best players will still get scooped up out of college, but there's no real reason to commit a rotation spot to a late first-round-early second round talent when you can get that same guy, except 4-5 years older, coming out of Europe. 

Not only that, working as a professional overseas for a few years humbles and matures players in a way that the NCAA does not. You can see it in Patrick Beverley - he plays every night like he's fighting for his spot and trying to prove every team in the league wrong.

If Hopson buys in on the defensive end and plays unselfish basketball, he has the size, athleticism and shooting ability to help the Cleveland Cavaliers. The real question is how many more Scotty Hopsons and Patrick Beverleys are out there, waiting for a chance.

No comments:

Post a Comment