As the NBA preseason nears, it’s important to be able to identify the underdogs. As most NBA players are pushing Lamborghinis and taking advantage of drunken interns, many players are hard at work trying to land a spot in the show. You might not know all the guys listed below, but they’ll be in training camp, so, don’t sleep on them.
Von Wafer / Denver Nuggets
In 2007, Wafer had a really impressive summer league stint with the Nuggets in Vegas, where he averaged 24-plus points, good for second in the entire league. In the last game, Wafer ripped the Knicks for 42 points in 27 minutes. It would seem that after leaving Florida State early and bouncing between the NBA and D-league, Wafer is poised to earn a permanent place in the show.
Brian Chase / Washington Wizards
Brian Chase is a player with a tremendous reputation in and around the basketball world. A Washington, D.C. native, Chase is a pint-size PG with a ton of skills. Roughly 5-foot-8, his floor generalship is arguably the best outside of the NBA and he is an above average shooter. He spent most of last season with the L.A. Defenders in the D-league and even though he didn’t get a chance to play a lot in summer league, Chase confidence should be pretty high going into training camp with the Wizards.
Jamario Moon / Toronto Raptors
Forward Jamario Moon earned what no other player outside of the D-league earned last year, an NBA contract. In July, the Raptors signed Moon to a 2-year deal, thus, making him the only player from last years CBA or USBL season to get called to the NBA. After leaving school after only one year of JUCO ball, the Alabama native wandered the minor leagues since 2001. He split 06-07 between the CBA, USBL and Mexico, helping the Albany Patroons to the CBA finals and finishing in the All-USBL first team.
Robert Hite / New Jersey Nets
Former University of Miami guard Robert Hite began last season with the Miami Heat and showed some promise before he was arrested on a DUI charge last February (speeding home from D.Wade’s birthday party). Recently though, Hite seems to have bounced back nicely. After spending the remaining part of last year with the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the D-League, the New Jersey Nets brought him to summer league, signed him, and appear to be pretty optimistic about what he can bring to the roster.
Amir Johnson / Detroit Pistons
In 2005, Amir Johnson became the last high school player ever selected in the NBA draft. In his two years in the league, Johnson has only played in a total of 11 games. But in April, Johnson played 37 minutes against the Celtics and dropped 20 points, 12 rebounds and had 3 steals. In his only appearance in this year’s Vegas Summer League, Johnson finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Because of his steady improvement Johnson Look for him to earn a full-time job.