08
Jan

Kolumne: David Pick #81

Do anyone remember that Derrick Brown is a free agent? 

He is just 31 years old. A former EuroCup champion. At one point he had a deal set with CSKA Moscow and played EuroLeague at a high level with Anadolu Efes. Sure, DB had his fair share of injuries and fluids in his meniscus. But with that being said, he is still hands down, no argument, one of the most talented power forwards outside the NBA.

Which begs the question - why is Derrick Brown still a free agent? Not many people know that he is actually still under contract for the 2018-19 season, collecting well over $1.3M. However, he is at home in the United States, collecting his money, as opposed to collecting points on the basketball courts.

Brown averaged 7.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 dimes over 19 appearances in the Euroleague last season. He shot with great accuracy at 37.7% from beyond the arc and 85% from the free throw line. But head coach Ergin Ataman did not want him back this season. In fact, he did not at all believe in Derrick Brown's abilities to be productive and healthy for a full season, so he chose to move on without him.

With DB on the market, few believed he'd still be a free agent by Christmas. Brown tried to ping the interest of several powerhouses like Maccabi Tel Aviv but was turned down. As time passed, he became hungry to get back on the floor and decided that for the right money, he would sign with a EuroCup club on a deal that includes a buyout for the Euroleague.

Lots of clubs had serious interest. Israel, Russia, Spain - even Germany: ALBA BERLIN made Derrick Brown a fair proposal to join the club and make a strong push in the Bundesliga until he gets an offer to make the jump back to Euroleague. However, Brown declined. For what reasons? Those aren't 100% known, but for sure he still thinks he can compete at the Euroleague level and wouldn't want to settle on the mid-level club.

***

Malcolm Hill's injury is absolutely crushing for MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg. The returning BBL forward finally shook off the offseason rust and was finding his groove. Over the last four games in the Bundesliga against EWE Baskets, ALBA BERLIN, Würzburg and ratiopharm Ulm, he posted averages of 17 points per game and killed Polish side Anwil in the FIBA Champions League with 31 points in 33 minutes shooting 10-17 from the floor. He was on fire.

Credit to Michael Wichterich and Telekom Bonn for another brilliant scouting signee last season. Hill played for Bonn in the 2017-18 campaign and logged double-digits scoring figures in FIBA's elite competition. He made the jump to the league's latest final four attendee, but will now need to work his way back and climb the ladder back into competitive basketball due to his devastating heartbreaking season-ending injury.

***

Let's get back to Bonn. I watched the team play vs Hapoel Holon in Israel last week during a 94-74 blowout loss to Dan Shamir's club. As a matter of fact, Holon came into the game in a weird situation.

They dropped their last two games to Maccabi Tel Aviv and Tenerife by a combined 65 points differential. In addition, Shawn Jones is on his way out of the club and performed very poorly, while head coach Shamir missed a game after the passing of his mother.

I thought Bonn would give them a fair battle. It was also very nice and encouraging to see a group of small but loyal and devoted Bonn fans that traveled to Israel to support their favorite club and loudly chant their German cheers. After the game, sports director Michael Wichterich walked over to the fans, shook their hands, and thanked each and every one of them for their support. That’s a real high class official right there who warrants a lot of respect.

There wasn't a lot to be encouraged by or take away from that game to be honest, but here are some of my short summaries.

1. I LOVE Yorman Polas Bartolo. Great deal for Bonn to lock him in to a deal through 2020. He isn't the most crafted or talented offensive player, and he is adventurous at times and not the best finisher in traffic. But he brings A LOT of energy, killer instincts on defense, a relentless approach when picking up his man on the ball, and a good attitude even when things don't go his way.

2. Rashad James is a talented scorer, but NOT a PG and too small to be a high level performer at the SG position. His decision making is questionable and he has trouble reading situations before he decides to pass, shoot or attack the rim.

3. Josh Mayo can't control the tempo of the game or facilitate for his teammates. The opposing team doesn't respect his jumper and slides under screens. On a team with limited offensive weapons, Bonn needs more from their PG.

4. T.J. DiLeo vs Khalif Wyatt. One guy came off the bench, the other is a starter. Temple grad against Temple alumnus. It isn't really a fair matchup, but it was nice seeing some Temple fans come out in red shirts to support both guards.

5. James Webb III is very talented. He actually had a deal set and done in Israel with Hapoel Tel Aviv this past summer. But he changed course and agreed to join Cantu in the Italian Serie A for more money. Believe it or not, that didn't even come to life and eventually he found himself headed to Bonn. It's not easy for players from the NBA to make the transition overseas, and for some guys it takes longer than others. Down the road James Webb III will figure it out, but hopefully he does it sooner than later for the good of the team.

6. Charles Jackson, at 2.08 meters and just 25 years old, gets a huge opportunity to showcase himself at a high level after playing in the Turkish 2nd division last season. He's actually been not bad at all. He has a soft touch around the rim but needs to be far more aggressive and focused with the basketball. He must develop a go-to hook shot or spin baseline move to his arsenal to become a more dominant threat in the paint.

But he has a lot of upside to grow. What he also needs to focus on doing less is TALKING TO THE REFS during games. It's a bad look. It shows he can get distracted and allows for animosity from the referees. Put your head down and go to work. Let your game speak for your, not your mouth.


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