Players with Legitimate Shots at NBA Roster Spots in Training Camp
After a long offseason, training camp is nearly upon us. As players prepare themselves for two-a-days come October 1, front office members around the league are carefully deciding who will get an invite to training camp.
With the invite lists beginning to be finalized, we can start to decipher who has a good chance of making a team and who doesn't. Roster composition plays a big role of course, and it's important to remember that some teams like to carry 14 players into the season instead of the maximum allowed 15 for flexibility purposes.
Whether they're old faces in new places on non-guaranteed deals or undrafted players just happy to get a camp invite, these are the players to keep an eye on during training camp.
Matthew Dellavedova, G, Cleveland Cavaliers
If you're an insomniac, you've probably happened upon a few late-night West Coast Conference games that starred Matthew Dellavedova. The floppy-haired point guard with the giant mouthpiece didn't look like much at first glance, but once you watched him compete, you knew he was a player.
Dellavedova patterned his game after Steve Nash, another WCC point guard, and it shows in his play. The Australian native can really stroke it from the perimeter, and that's an asset the Cleveland Cavaliers need after finishing 23rd in the league in three-point percentage last season.
Just about every team likes to keep a third point guard on the final roster and, for the Cavs, that's especially necessary. Kyrie Irving can't seem to shake the injury bug, and backup point guard Jarrett Jack may find himself playing a lot at the 2 if Dion Waiters struggles out of the gate.
With 13 roster spots pretty much locked up, the Cavs have guaranteed Dellavedova $100,000 of his contract. Since he fills production and positional needs, Dellavedova could be a great fit in Cleveland.
Josh Akognon, G, Memphis Grizzlies
Josh Akognon was put on this earth to get buckets.
Despite a tiny frame and just a few short minutes of NBA experience, Akognon is a high-volume three-point shooter who has shown at every stop that he can really fill it up.
That said, he'll be facing an uphill battle to make it with the Memphis Grizzlies, as he's essentially a shorter, less athletic version of Jerryd Bayless.
With Nick Calathes handling backup point guard duties along with Bayless, there may not be a good fit here. Add in that the Grizzlies have 13 guaranteed contracts on the books already, and things get a little more dicey.
Akognon's saving grace may be that the Grizzlies are clearly looking for more perimeter shooters this offseason.
He will have to outplay bigger guys at camp, but Akognon can nab the final roster spot if he shoots the lights out in camp and preseason. Perhaps he's a luxury an already deep Grizzlies team can afford.
Marcus Landry, F, Los Angeles Lakers
Marcus Landry will certainly have some competition for a roster spot with the Los Angeles Lakers, as he'll be going up against bigger names without the benefit of a partially guaranteed deal. Still, of all the camp invites for the Lakers, he's the best fit with Mike D'Antoni.
Landry has turned himself into a pure three-point shooter during his time in the D-League and, at 27 years old, he should be ready to reunite with D'Antoni once again and provide some size and shooting at the 3 spot.
It's hard to imagine the Lakers are too confident in Wesley Johnson and Nick Young holding down the small forward position all year, and Landry just might combine the best traits of both players.
It's dangerous to look too much into Summer League performances, but Landry was the best player for the Lakers in that setting and certainly caught some eyeballs. He could very easily do it again in training camp and win a spot.
Ian Clark, G, Utah Jazz
Speaking of Summer League performances, perhaps no one raised their league-wide stock more in Las Vegas than Ian Clark.
Clark was one of the NCAA's best shooters at Belmont, hitting over 40 percent of his shots from behind the arc in four straight seasons. He kept that sweet shooting up in Vegas, knocking down a ridiculous 48.5 percent on threes and earning the Championship Game MVP award with 33 points.
The Utah Jazz wisely snatched Clark up and guaranteed $200,000 of his contract, which bodes well for his chances to make the final roster.
Utah only has 12 guaranteed contracts on the books, so adding a young perimeter shooter to replace Randy Foye and provide floor spacing for Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter makes all the sense in the world.
James Anderson, G, Philadelphia 76ers
James Anderson has bounced around from the D-League to the NBA, but after a good showing at the end of the last season with the Houston Rockets, he might have found a more permanent home with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Although it's a little scary that the 76ers plan on bringing 20 guys to training camp, Anderson can take comfort in the fact that the 76ers claimed him off waivers from the Rockets. That's all the work of new GM Sam Hinkie, who had to have liked what he saw from Anderson while they were both in Houston last year.
The 76ers only have 11 guaranteed contracts on the roster. Anderson will have to fight off some intriguing talents, but with three or four spots open, he should provide the 76ers with some badly needed wing depth.
Anderson should make the roster, and don't be surprised if he works his way into a starting position at some point this season.
Julyan Stone, G, Toronto Raptors
It's all about who you know, right? Like James Anderson in Philadelphia, Julyan Stone has the advantage of knowing that someone in the front office is looking after him.
New Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri decided to take Stone along with him after leaving the Denver Nuggets, and the signing makes sense. Stone never really got a chance to show off his unique skill set as a big defender with ball-handling capabilities due to the insane perimeter depth Denver enjoyed.
In Toronto, however, Stone can compete with D.J. Augustin for backup point guard minutes and provide some additional size behind Kyle Lowry.
Stone will have to hold off all the camp invites since the Raptors have 14 other guaranteed contracts, but he kills two birds by being a defensive specialist and a much-needed backup point guard.
Seth Curry, G, Golden State Warriors
Finally, a Western Conference team that isn't the Phoenix Suns is showing some brotherly love.
The Golden State Warriors gave Stephen Curry's little brother, Seth, a partially guaranteed contract this offseason, which isn't a bad way to appease your star player.
To Seth Curry's credit, he showed in his final year at Duke that he was a very efficient shooter and worthy of a roster spot, regardless of the name on the back of his jersey.
Seth isn't nearly the well-rounded player Stephen is, but he can light it up with limitless range. You can be sure that he'll be given every opportunity to succeed during training camp.
The Warriors have only 12 guaranteed contracts, although Kent Bazemore will surely make the roster as well. That leaves at least one spot for Seth, and barring an injury or slow recovery to someone in the frontcourt, he should be able to slide in and make the final roster.
Brandon Davies, F/C, Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers were happy to see big man Brandon Davies go undrafted this year, and with good reason.
With more perimeter-oriented big men like Byron Mullens and Antawn Jamison already on the roster, the Clippers could stand to add a young, traditional glass-cleaner like Davies.
Although he may not have a high ceiling, Davies has a high floor and is capable of providing physical play—which is needed, given the rather soft nature of the Clippers' current backup bigs.
The Clippers have 13 guaranteed contracts on the books, so Davies has a great shot to make the final team. Unless a veteran free agent comes out of nowhere at the last second, Davies seems to be the best possible fit for the Clips.
Michael Beasley, F, Miami Heat
Despite all the knowledge we have of Michael Beasley's trouble with the law and general approach to the game, it's still shocking to see the second overall pick of the 2008 draft enter training camp on a make-good deal.
Beasley's decline certainly has been drastic, but perhaps this will finally serve as the wake-up call he needs so desperately. Getting the chance to return to a place where he was actually a pretty good NBA player is a big opportunity and, if it doesn't work out, it could very well be his last.
From Miami's point of view, it's a no-risk, high-reward move to invite Beasley to camp. Miami will be able to tell right away whether he's serious or not, and you can guarantee that the other players in camp will be working their tails off to get Beasley out of the picture.
Miami has 13 players on contract, so the chance for a career revival is right in front of him. Maybe it takes a fool to still believe in him at this point, but if this hasn't humbled Beasley, nothing will.