A Daily Babble Production
Label me hopeful for some more information to come out over the next couple of days about Quinton Ross' signing. An odd request that is, indeed.
But it's the thought that's on my mind this morning, three days after word came that Ross would be signing on in Memphis. The Memphis Commercial Appeal's Ronald Tillery reported the expected signing Thursday with the caveat that the deal would be at the veteran's minimum and non-guaranteed.
That's why we're wondering. The Dallas-born and SMU-educated Ross isn't from Memphis. He didn't sign on there for the lucrative deal. Which makes me curious as to whether this guy legitimately couldn't get an offer from a contending team.
The rap on Ross is that he is an abysmal offensive player. The statistical and anecdotal evidence bears that out. In four NBA seasons, the guy has averaged 4.8 points per game and put up one campaign of true shooting as high as 50.8 percent, and his mark for his career is 47 percent. He can't shoot the ball from the outside, doesn't attack the rim and doesn't provide much else at that end of the floor. No sugarcoating, Ross is a liability at the offensive end of the floor. Understood.
But what has kept the undrafted 27-year-old free agent signee in the league for four seasons is that he is quite the opposite at the defensive end. At 6-foot-6 and 195 pounds, Ross possesses good height and length for a two-guard. Perhaps even more importantly, he is also the proud owner of a high level of tenacity, and that has turned him into a solid defensive piece for the Clippers. He consistently guards the opposition's top back-court scoring thread, and he works all night to stay inside his man's jersey. Ross has been referred to in the past as a lite version of San Antonio's Bruce Bowen (at least on the defensive end), a compliment of the highest order for a player working to make it by on scrappiness and defensive hustle.
Which brings us back to the question of how this guy ended up in Memphis. This team won 22 games last season and was 28th in defensive efficiency. Sure, with their collection of young talent, the Grizzlies expect to improve this season, but they aren't likely to be all too close to playoff contention. That makes it hard to believe that Ross was salivating to sign in Memphis for the vet's minimum just for a shot to make the squad, unless he has some connection to the area or team with which I'm unfamiliar (and if this is in fact the case, anyone who knows the rationale is welcome to enlighten me).
But going on the presumption that Ross wasn't especially enamored with Memphis, could it be that no contending team even offered him an invite to camp? And if so, how is this possible? No one, not a single team in the playoff picture felt it worth taking a flyer on having a non-guaranteed contract player into camp in order to have the option of bringing a perimeter stopper on board? Five of the last six NBA titles have been won by one of the league's top three teams in defensive efficiency that season, and yet this guy couldn't at least draw a look? From Denver? From Orlando? Toronto? Utah? The list goes on.
That above statement isn't to imply that Quinton Ross is suddenly some sort of essential championship piece. He's not even close. But he is a very capable defensive player in a league in which having guys who can play defense is fairly conducive to winning. He also costs as little as possible, and his presence in training camp doesn't even require a guaranteed contract.
What don't we (or perhaps it's just me alone in the dark) know about Quinton Ross?