One needs either prodigious talent (LeBron James, Stephen Curry) or dumb luck (Kwame Brown, Darko Milicic) to be able to penetrate such a cutthroat business. Even then, majority of these hopeful superstars don't survive the pros, and ultimately find themselves stuck in the D-League or flat out ballin'...overseas.
All hope is not lost. For well-run organizations like the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks, scouts are working overtime in searching for those hidden gems, and giving oft-shunned players their due. Most of the time, these smart gambles pay off handsomely, like in the case of Spurs guard Jonathon Simmons.
Going undrafted in 2012 and spending a couple of years as a member of San Antonio's D-League affiliate the Austin Toros/Spurs, Simmons finally got a call-up from coach Gregg Popovich and suited up for the Western Conference powerhouse last year. Primarily as a backup shooting guard, he introduced himself to the league with a career performance (20 points) in this season's opening game against the Golden State Warriors.
These days, when "Juice" isn't tracking down unsuspecting prey for a chasedown block, he has been busy submitting entries for the NBA Dunk of the Year:
The poster dunk's hapless victim, Meyers Leonard, and the Portland Trailblazers may have gotten away with the win off a broken play, 99-98, but Simmons has definitely made a case for the nonexistent award, and fittingly, his place on the team's bright future.
Erik Matti is back with his toughest shoot ever
House Speaker Alvarez just announced that Mocha will run for Senator in 2019
Although he's not keeping it