San Antonio Spurs: What Will Damion James Offer?
Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs have resigned Damion James for the rest of the season, following the end of his 10 day contract.
So far, in 10 minutes, James has grabbed three rebounds and missed two shots.
He has a +/- of +1. Even though he was signed so late in the season, James will be eligible for the Spurs in the playoffs, similar to Tracy McGrady last year. McGrady apparently was busy warming up his pitching arm, so couldn’t make a repeat performance in Alamo City.
Despite a solid career at the University of Texas, and being drafted in the first round of the NBA draft (albeit in the 20s), James has never done a lot in the NBA. He currently has made under 40 career appearances, and has scored a total of 144 points over four years. He was cut from the Denver Nuggets roster just before this season started, and even though he went through training camp with them, and knew all of their sets, he wasn’t called up from the D-League to play for the Nuggets despite their injury problems this season. I think that tells you all you need to know about his standing around the league.
The two things that James does offer to the Spurs this year are his athleticism and his rebounding ability. In the D-League he has averaged over eight rebounds per game this season as a combo forward. As a four year player at in college, he averaged over seven rebounds per game every season, and over 10 in two of them.
Although not renowned for his defensive ability, James did average one steal and one block per game in seven games for the Nets back in 2011/12. He seems to have all of the tools to be a good defender, he has just yet to have the coaching and experience necessary to become a shut-down player.
Any long-term (or short-term) fan of the Spurs will know that Gregg Poppovich often has a player excel for him during the playoffs that no-one expects be it Kawhi Leonard or Tony Parker. Damion James could absolutely swing a game during the playoffs potentially as a Kevin Durant defender, or as a transition scoring threat. It’s equally likely that he never sees a minute of playing time. Either way, with an empty 15th roster spot to fill, this is the sort of low risk/medium reward that we all wanted to see the Spurs take.
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***All stats courtesy of nba.com/stats