Can Joe Alexander Revitalize His Career In Chicago?
Look out, folks. It's the great white hype all over again.
Closely resembling what happened to Adam Morrison two years ago, former top-ten pick Joe Alexander has been traded away from his original team.
The difference? He's not going to an NBA champion-caliber team, and his contract will expire after the season is over.
That gives Joe Alexander less than 30 games, and perhaps the playoffs, to carve some kind of a niche in Chicago's rotation, and prove that he's worth a second look in this league.
Why He Failed in Milwaukee:
Let's get the obvious out of the way. Joe Alexander is an excellent athlete with good scoring ability and good explosiveness.
The fact is, he entered the draft too early, and was taken by a team (and a coach) that expected too much out of him too soon.
And on top of that, he never really got the opportunity to prove himself.
Before you call him a bust and a wasted pick, it's best-advised that we all take a closer look.
The kid is young and raw, and doesn't play great defense. Needless to say, he never had the perfect combination of Scott Skiles-desired skills. He's a dynamic offensive player with elite athleticism. He's not a shut-down defender or an amazing shooter.
He's a volume scorer that needs to be "the" guy, or at least "one" of the guys in a rotation, and he needs minutes to be productive. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, most of the NBA players fit this exact bill.
They have offenses built around them, plays designed specifically for them, and they actually, you know, get to see the floor.
Alexander sat behind hot free-agent acquisition Richard Jefferson for most of 2008, and even when he did see the floor, it was sparingly, as he averaged under 15 minutes per game.
Then came 2009, when Alexander had a productive summer league.
However, that's where the optimism came to a crashing halt, as Alexander's underwhelming rookie year, combined with a hamstring injury that kept him out of the first few months of the season, led to Milwaukee declining to pick up his option for the following season.
Alexander was then demoted to the NBA D-League, and never hit the floor in a regular season game for the Bucks.
The fact is, Alexander was a young, athletic kid that the Bucks' brass put too much stock in, and demanded too much from him way too early.
But just because it didn't work out in Milwaukee doesn't mean Alexander's career is over.
Why Being Traded Can Turn Alexander's Career Around
He's a bust, can't play defense, and he has an expiring contract. Sounds like the perfect guy to leave on the bench and count the days until he's off your books, right?
Maybe, but when a guy can affect games in a variety of ways on the offensive end, he still deserves a good, hard look.
And with the other trades the Bulls have swung on Thursday, it's not completely unrealistic to think Alexander could carve a solid niche in the Bulls rotation.
With Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons now playing in different cities, that leaves two foward reserve roles that will be up for grabs.
Cue Joe Alexander?
The Bulls are still in the thick of a playoff race, and while they have one eye on 2010's offseason, they still know better than to leave a quality talent on the bench and not see if he can produce.
Look for Alexander to get some minutes starting out to see if he can make an impact.
With the writing already on the wall for Alexander, he really doesn't have anything to lose.
Considering his fortunes were set in stone in Milwaukee, Alexander knew that being traded was the only possible way he could prove he belongs in this league.
The guy has a chip on his shoulder. He can elevate, get his shot off, and get to the rim. He can finish in traffic, rebound well, and even block shots on defense.
When you've got athleticism and determination, and the world is against you, sometimes you can be capable of some extraordinary things.
For Alexander, if he wants to keep playing in the NBA, he'll have to do just that.
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