It was a very short start to an NBA career for former Syracuse star James Southerland this season. The undrafted small forward got three minutes with the Charlotte Bobcats and then it was all over. How would you feel if three shots from the field was your only chance to impress a franchise? Pretty bad, I’m guessing.
Southerland was signed by the Cats on Dec. 11 in an effort to gain some depth at the small forward position. During that time period, both Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (since returned from his broken hand) and Jeff Taylor (who will be out for the remainder of the season) were out for the foreseeable future. He never really got that chance for people to see what he was made of and that’s probably something that will drive him to become a successful player in the near future.
The Bobcats could not send him to the D-League due to being at the roster limit (must still waive someone at 15-player max). Then in came the news that after just one game in a Charlotte, Southerland was once again left without a place he could call home, similar to the 2013 NBA Draft. He was then signed by the D-League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders on Dec. 17. Chris Douglas-Roberts was signed to fill the open roster spot.
Though the beginning of his hopeful career only lasted one game, the D-League could greatly benefit his standing in being signed for a full season by a team. Thats what the D-League is for, development to makes players better than they have ever been. If Southerland can improve his game day by day with hard work and determination to succeed, teams will take interest in the former Big East prime time player in a flash.
Southerland is already impressing in the NBA’s “minor league” in his first 11 games with averages of 13.7 points a game along with 7.9 rebounds. Though his career with the Cats could not have been any shorter (three minutes, three shots, one game), hard work in the development league will make him slightly more prepared for the biggest stage in the game. It doesn’t mean the Bobcats will sign him (most likely won’t take a chance at all after giving him a non-guaranteed deal earlier), but mark my words, teams will take interest.