NBA teams don’t need a rotation guy who’s a B- across the board. They don’t need someone to come in and be just like the starter, only a little worse. They want a different look, something the other team has to gameplan for. A defensive stopper, a slashing combo guard. They want a specialist. In James Southerland, they’ll get the long-range sniper.
A Queens native who played youth ball with AND1 rep Lance Stephenson, Southerland shot a blistering 40% from deep in his senior season at Syracuse. With his size (a legit 6’7” without shoes), catch-and-shoot prowess and quick, compact release, that number should hold up in the League.
But “3-and-D” is hot with NBA GMs right now: guys that can catch and shoot while providing rock-solid defense at the other end. And if you look at Jason Kidd, who played into his 40’s on veteran smarts; Danny Green, who went from an afterthought to nearly a Finals MVP; or even Matt Barnes or Jared Dudley, who haven’t seen the rim up close in a few years…defense isn’t athleticism alone. ‘Cuse had the nation’s fifth-ranked defense last season, with Southerland playing 30 minutes per game. He knows team defense, and we know he can shoot the rock; now who wants that impact rotation player again?