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Summer League Star Waiting for Opportunity
Posted By Joel Brigham On January 21, 2013 @ 12:00 pm In All,NBA | No Comments
We’re supposed to take Summer League performances with a grain of salt because the level of competition in Las Vegas and Orlando is admittedly not all that great. Still, one of the two best players in Vegas this past July was rookie Damian Lillard, who was able to transfer that momentum over to the regular season and is now the current favorite to win Rookie of the Year.
But the other top player in the 2012 Vegas Summer League, Josh Selby of the Memphis Grizzlies, hasn’t had the same luck. In fact, he’s played in only ten games this season, something which comes as a bit of a surprise after he put up 24.2 points per game in Summer League play. Maybe Selby isn’t the burgeoning superstar that Lillard is, but he at least thought he’d have more of an opportunity to show what he could do against real NBA competition this season.
“I just thought I was going to be able to showcase my game in the regular season, but it hasn’t worked out that way,” Selby said. “So I’ve just been working hard, paying attention to the games and watching film so I can work on whatever Coach needs to me to work on and I can try to better my game.”
That’s a hard thing to do at this point in the season, though, as most teams generally have their rotations figured out, and the ones that don’t are either seriously struggling or facing major injury issues. The Grizzlies are neither of those things, so Selby is, unfortunately, stuck at the end of his team’s bench with no real hope for major change in sight.
That doesn’t mean he’s given up, though.
“It all starts in practice and when you get your two to three minutes at the end of the game,” Selby said. “So when you get those opportunities, you have to take advantage of it and show the coach that you’re ready for the situation. Somebody might get hurt, and that’s when it’s more likely that your chance would come, so you’ve got to stay patient, work and when your opportunity comes, take advantage of it.”
This season, however, Selby is seeing even less floor time than in his rookie campaign. Despite that, he thinks he’s a much better player in just about every way.
“Maturity, my point guard skills, defense… I’ve been working on all aspects of my game, and I will continue to work because I’ve got a lot of areas where I need improvement,” Selby said. “I will stay working and will continue to get better at every aspect of my game.”
Perhaps it’ll take yet another Summer League explosion to prove that Selby deserves increased floor time, but he’s still a prospect the organization values, and there’s still a chance that proves to be the second-round value he appeared to be when he was drafted in 2011.
For now, though, he’s struggling to find minutes, and there’s nothing he can do but wait for his shot. He’s not the only young player in this league waiting, but he is wearing an NBA uniform and he does occasionally contribute on a team that could very well represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals this year. Things could be worse; we just all thought they’d be better based on the way he played in July. He’s certainly talented enough, but like all young players, he just needs an opportunity. For now, he’s still waiting for it.
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