While Los Angeles Lakers’ second-round draft pick Derrick Caracter impressed in NBA summer league play – even to rank third behind John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins in the NBA.com “Rookie Ladder” – the former UTEP Miner may yet have to wait one more year to play in the big league. No matter, though, as reportedly some four major European clubs are interesting in obtaining the services of the big man.
After missing one season in college ball due to a transfer out of Rick Pitino’s Louisville, Caracter stomped through the 2009-10 NCAA season in producing a line of 14.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 0.9 blocks and 1.0 steals per game: stats impressive enough to earn Caracter the label of The Second-Round Steal of the 2010 NBA Draft.
Amazingly, Caracter only bettered his play in the summer league, putting together a crazy line of 15.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg and 1.4 bpg in five games – and Lakers fans ecstatically awaited another big man with high basketball IQ who might someday take over for Pau Gasol and/or be coming off the bench when the inevitable injury to Andrew Bynum occurs.
Except that the Lakers front office went out and shored up that frontcourt real good with a trio of veterans in Theo Ratliff and Matt Barnes. Los Angeles currently has 10 forwards and centers from which to pick and choose (figuring in the fairly safe assumption that Adam “The Moustache” Morrison won’t be back): Barnes, Bynum, Gasol, Ratliff, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, D.J. Mbenga, Luke Walton and Devin Ebanks. We can also reckon that Mbenga and Powell will be gone with the new signings coming aboard.
(Could the 12th roster spot actually come down to a choice between Caracter and Sasha Vujacic? Weird.)
Should Caracter not make the Lakers roster, however, there’ll be no shortage of suitors. According to a Twitter from New York Post sportswriter Marc Berman on Saturday, “If [the] Lakers, [Denver] Nuggets or [New York] Knicks can’t sign Caracter, word is two Italian teams, one Israeli club and Olympiakos have interest.”
Now it doesn’t take Holmesian-level logic capacity to deduce the identities of at least two of the three unnamed (presumably) Euroleague teams in the running to bid for Caracter’s services: Clearly the “Israeli club” is Maccabi Tel Aviv – presuming Santa Claus hasn’t recently dumped an early Xmas gift of a few million on Galil/Gilboa – and one of those “two Italian teams” is certainly the American player-loving Virtus Roma. The logical assumption would be to pencil in Montepaschi Siena as the second Italia squad.
But the best fit of all in Europe (and probably the highest contract offer) for Caracter would probably be with the Reds. Caracter might even ultimately be considered an upgrade from the departed Sofoklis Schortsanitis: Caracter may even be adding a few pounds over Shortsanitis in addition to possessing higher speed and slightly better mobility.
At least one Clipper blogger noted that “Sofo did *not* acquit himself well in Summer League, even taking all of those things into consideration. […] He didn’t handle double teams well, and he didn’t convert free throws when he went to the line.” While Caracter did get whistled mighty often, his hustle was well noted and his free-throw shooting was fine at 65%, a number dragged down by his game two when he went just 3-of-7 from the ‘stripe. (In three years of college ball, he shot 62.8% from the line and 67% in his senior year.)
So how about it, Olympicos fans? How would you like this guy on your team…?