Well, it happened. It seemed inevitable, but a handful of hopefuls (including yours truly) were praying to the basketball gods for an alternative answer. The NBA lockout is in session.
With that being said, the level of play in Europe is going to skyrocket. In fact, this may be one of the best things to happen to Dr. Naismith’s game since 1998. While the European style of play is different, so is the celebrity lifestyle, and a change of scenery may be just what these gentlemen need to snap their booties back to reality. But that’s for another time.
As the Bleacher Report recently speculated, Deron Williams may not be the only big name player to jump ship and head abroad. After all, the only way to improve and build upon your game is to play, and since that is clearly not happening for a while in the U.S., many of these guys will aim for the next best option. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Pau Gasol: Ah yes, the gentle giant. While Pau has been absolutely dominating the league with his post play, it could do him some good to take his finesse-based post play overseas. After all, the Spaniard is a native, and since the style of play over there is more similar to his own, he may be forced to pick up a few new tricks, which would come in handy for those pesky Lakers.
Enes Kanter: Yes, PLEASE go abroad. I understand this guy stands at a gravity-defying
6’11”, but he is also 19, and taking the time to work out the kinks in his game could play out well for the Jazz. Whether or not he opts to play in Turkey, Kanter should use the extra experience to learn to use his physical prowess to dominate in the paint.
Deron Williams: As of this morning it was announcedthat Williams would be employed by Turkish-based
club Besiktas, aka Allen Iverson’s old crew. This move is huge for Williams. Fresh off of a tough year during which the point guard was traded from the Jazz to the Nets and then failed to make the playoffs, Williams could use the time to prove his worth. His contract ($34 million) is up in two years, and he will most likely be faced with numerous options as he is currently one of the best PGs in the game (my opinion–take it or leave it). By going abroad and leading the way for others like him, Williams can build a successful club in Turkey and prosper–maybe he can even work some of his frustrations out from the 2010-2011 season.
All undrafted players: This year, being undrafted turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With no contract suspended and no money being withheld, young players have the option to prove their worth and essentially gain another tryout by playing in Europe. There is also plenty of opportunity to run with the big dogs as franchise players begin to trickle overseas, which will help these young guys to get rid of their sea legs and preseason jitters.