Can a player continue to have opportunity soon after 7 several years in the NBA? If so, no cost agent middle Willie Cauley-Stein may perhaps have prospective.
The place at the time he was a large-lottery pick, Cauley-Stein is now out of the league, and has been slipping steadily down the ziggurat for the past few a long time. Job per-activity averages of 8.7 details, 5.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and .8 blocks sound fairly great, and the more highly developed metrics of +23.3 job Earn Shares and a +4.4 VORP ranking do, way too. When more viewed in the context of his agile 7-foot body, when nevertheless aged only 28, this appears to be like the profile of an NBA rotation participant.
Even so, in 3 several years, Cauley-Stein has long gone from getting an 81-game starter to a guy out of the league, on many situations.
Waived by the Dallas Mavericks in January, Cauley-Stein’s only other deal to date was a 10-day deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, 1 that was terminated after nine days. And as the bulk of this year’s free company movement is currently guiding us, Cauley-Stein is once again unsigned. With others this sort of as Montrezl Harrell, LaMarcus Aldridge, Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard and Markieff Morris even now on the marketplace as properly, there is practically nothing to counsel that a next NBA return is imminent, or even heading to happen at all.
Cauley-Stein has had some extenuating circumstances over the past few of seasons that have led to this loss of momentum. He opted out of the bubble to be at the start of his youngster, had a thumb problem in 2020/21, and then in 2021/22, skipped a pair of games owing to illness ahead of missing the upcoming 6 months with a personalized make a difference.
None of people seem to be his fault, basically instances that can befall us all. They have on the other hand in combination intended that he has now been handed in excess of 3 periods in the final three years in favour of Marquese Chriss (whom the Mavericks slice him to make a roster spot for), DeAndre Jordan (who the 76ers terminated his 10-working day offer for despite Jordan’s constrained success) and Justinian Jessup (drafted with the 51st in general pick in 2020 that the Golden State Warriors traded him for in January 2020, months soon after landing him as a free of charge agency “steal”).
For all those fringe NBA items to nevertheless be forward of Cauley-Stein in the pecking buy, irrespective of what appears to be like like a helpful mixture of creation and overall body type, there ought to as a result be some thing flawed about that manufacturing. And the tale of the tape confirms that, specifically on defense.
The hallmark of Cauley-Stein’s NBA vocation to day has been inconsistency, each in terms of hard work and effects. It far too typically feels as even though he normally has a great video game or a negative a single, with little in concerning. In the fantastic online games, Cauley-Stein will get himself at the rim, rolls, hits a number of foul line bounce photographs, works as a substantial-small passer and disrupts in the passing lanes really well for a centre. In the lousy ones, he does not do substantially at all.
Cauley-Stein has all way too normally not done enough get the job done to defend the paint and the rim. He drops his hands, is spotty with his 2nd attempts, and often eschews the a lot more physical aspect of the game. Above the past couple of seasons, Cauley-Stein has been made use of (and seemingly sought to be) significantly less of an offensive player, to the betterment of his effectiveness, still the defensive efficiency continues to be spotty, when it have to have not be.
Even so, what might give Cauley-Stein residual “possible” as he enters his athletic key is the point that, the moment on a time, he definitely was a tantalising defensive prospect. You have to go back again to right before his NBA vocation, but in higher education, Cauley-Stein flashed all the instruments.
At Kentucky, he was a defensive purpose player extraordinaire. He contested everything, typically with out fouling, employing his duration to deflect anything, currently being disruptive in the passing lanes and on any makes an attempt around the major. He expected, utilised his fingers, rotated and took prices, and though he did not routinely box out and essential to produce superior core strength, he utilized his size, mobility and hustle to rebound outside of his area.
In fact, the mobility was the highlight. For a 7-footer, Cauley-Stein moved his feet extremely very well on the perimeter, to the position in which at moments he was having set into defensive assignments on opposing wings by style. With his fingers and help, Cauley-Stein was so good on the perimeter that he would in idea make every little thing switchable in the NBA, exactly where these complicated schemes have been considerably much more common. But in follow, the defensive motor has been easing off for 8 decades. Fairly than be the crux of these a unit, he has been at best a peripheral piece.
People groups that like reclamation projects and “redraft” players – see, for illustration, the Detroit Pistons and their targeting of Kevin Knox/Marvin Bagley III/Josh Jackson forms – could perhaps accrue some least-income price from Cauley-Stein, whose job ought to be considerably far more secure than it at present is on his expertise profile by itself. He can engage in.
With superior obtain-in, better health and fitness and improved luck, he would under no circumstances have fallen out in the to start with location. Nevertheless, with his age now operating versus him fairly than for him, those of us even now holding out hope for Willie Cauley-Stein’s NBA vocation should take it could be now or hardly ever.