Deron Washington has to be closing in on an NBA Summer League record that would make the immortal Crash Davis (the catcher played by Kevin Costner in the baseball classic Bull Durham) blush. That record? The number of Summer League competitions played in, which for Washington, is now four. I don't have the official count on that record, but the Summer League in any form or fashion, has only been around since 2004. Washington was drafted in 2008 and has played in every Summer League since with the exception of 2008 and 2011, making appearances for the Pistons, Bucks, Jazz and now the Bobcats.
As I wrote in the preview of Hokies playing in this year's Summer League and don't want to bother repeating because it's basically going to be the exact same sentiment:
"Deron Washington knows all too well about that life, as he was a former second round pick of the Detroit Pistons, who chose to not keep him on their 15-man roster in 2008-09, opting to go with a 14-man roster instead for trade flexibility, an advantage that never really materialized in that season. He has since bounced around the D-League, Europe and even played in Israel, but has on several occasions (2009, 2010 and 2012) made the pilgrimage back to the states to play for a Summer League team. Last year, Washington was a member of the Utah Jazz Summer League roster, and despite being brought in as essentially roster filler, made an impression with his play on the circuit (as he has done before), but did not receive an NBA offer from the Jazz. He will likely reprise in that role again this year as the Bobcats have many young players they will be looking to audition. However, if there is any team that Washington might be able to stick on, it could be the lowly Bobcats, who have shown an eagerness to pick up low salary backups when they know they will not compete."
Summer League Review
This time around, Deron didn't play in any of the team's first three games (Spurs, Mavericks and Knicks), but played relatively heavy to heavy minutes considering that from the team's fourth game on, even starting the last one, as the Bobcats rested their young starters and core. Below we look at what Deron did in what minutes he did get:
Washington played hard, as you'd expect him to do based on his body of work both in college and overseas and in the D-League and Summer Leagues, a trait that earned him the nickname "Crash" (though it was quickly amended to "Smash" once they realized Gerald Wallace already retained that nickname) for his penchant to throw his body around. Personally I like Crash, and think it fits Washington better, if only when considering what the nickname is for, how it relates to Crash Bandicoot, a video game character that throws his body around like Washington.
Outside of that, there wasn't too much positive to go off of. It certainly wasn't all bad, but 1. there just wasn't enough to see and 2. there wasn't anything that jumped out. Yes, in the game he started, Washington got to the line 13 times, but on some of those trips, he was pretty fortunate to get the call. He played hard, kept possessions alive, and played adequate defense. That's about it.
Deron did not look like the Deron of old, which is concerning because, even though the door is closing on Deron's NBA chances, he is still relatively young (he's only 27), so he should be in the prime of his career. But for a guy whose game relies so much on his athleticism, Washington has lost a step off the dribble and didn't throw down a dunk or block a single shot in the entire 60+ minutes he spent on the floor. He had the opportunity to do both, but didn't or wasn't able to physically. He also didn't rebound the ball as well as you'd want for a team with so few bigs (at least while he was on the floor), another indicator of his lost athletic prowess. Take that and add to it that Deron's two-worst seasons professionally and in the Summer League are the last two seasons (most likely) and you have a picture of why Washington's struggling to make a roster in the NBA.
Also, Deron, despite hitting a much greater percentage of his free throws this year than in last year's summer circuit, he regressed behind the 3-point line, not hitting a single shot from deep despite several good, open looks.
As I wrote in the preview, while this Charlotte Bobcat team may have been one of the better or even best options for Washington to try to stick with for money reasons, I doubt that with their current state of their team they'd be willing to take Washington. In fact, since I wrote that, the Bobcats have perhaps given themselves a glimmer of hope (or at least a temporary cessation of their futility) with the signing of free agent Al Jefferson, which changes their situation at least marginally. While they do still have roster spots (between 3 and 5), depending on if they are able to keep Gerald Henderson (who they have made a qualifying offer to) and if they want to keep Jeff Adrien, who is on a partially non-guaranteed contract, they could use those spots those who impressed more than Washington in the Summer League for the Bobcats, such as Jerome Dyson, Abdul Gaddy, Patrick Ewing Jr., Troy Daniels or even Brandon Triche. They could also fill those spots by picking up available free agents. At this point, even though the two positions that are not completely filled out (small forward and perhaps power forward, Washington's two most likely landing spots), Washington's best bet is to end up as a training camp invite and see what happens from there. If he works hard, does all the little things and catches some breaks (which could mean other players going down with injuries), he could end up on their roster and fill a role a lot like former Buck and current King Luc Richard Mbah a Moute does on an NBA roster. Otherwise, it's looking like Washington's bid to end up in the NBA is nearly quashed.
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