Red Claws Luck Spans Both Sides of the Spectrum
Newton's law states that for every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction and, while the Red Claws spectrum of luck hasn't always been "equal and opposite," Maine's terrible luck with injuries to top players has certainly been offset by the team's luck in claiming players off of the D-League's waiver wire.
The Red Claws injury misfortunes this season have included losing NBA call-up candidates Stephane Lasme and Magnum Rolle to injury less than a week into the regular season, though the blow in losing both of the talented pivot men was slightly lessened this week when the Red Claws were able to add Boston Celtics summer league big man DeShawn Sims via the waiver wire.
"We've had unbelievably bad luck and we continue to have bad luck. We lost Stephane Lasme early in the preseason, Magnum Rolle is injured right now and Mario West has a hamstring pull that caused him to miss last game," Red Claws president and general manager Jon Jennings recently told FanHouse. "For all of our injury problems over the last couple of years, though, we've been very fortunate in the player pool."
The addition of Sims should work well as he'll be able to fill a need in the front court with the Red Claws current injury woes. It may also benefit the Red Claws bond with their already closer-than-close NBA affiliate Boston Celtics as the Michigan alum was reportedly invited to play for Boston in training camp this fall, though Sims opted to turn it down to begin his professional career in Greece before recently returning stateside.
"I saw DeShawn play this Summer down in Vegas and in Orlando as well and anyone who saw him would have to think he could potentially be one of the better players in our league," Jennings said. "I'll be honest with you, we were fourteenth on the list so I never ever thought that we would get him, but we were very fortunate to get him."
Jennings reference to being very fortunate in adding Sims is based both on his talent level as well as the amount of luck it took in order for the Red Claws to actually acquire his rights.
For those unfamiliar with the inner-workings of the NBA Development League, the "player pool" Jennings referred to operates on the same basis as a typical fantasy' league's "waiver wire." Once a player signs a contract to play in the D-League, he is then placed on waivers to allow all teams a chance to claim him. To begin the season teams were ordered in the waiver wire opposite of their position in the D-League Draft so the Red Claws, who had the third overall pick, had to have the thirteen teams in front of them decline to pick up Sims in order for them to be awarded his rights.
As impossible as that might seem in a league in which every team should be looking to load up on NBA prospects, it's become almost a regular occurrence for the Red Claws.
"We were able to pick Mario West up last year (through waivers). I think we were ninth or tenth on the list at the time and we were still able to get him," Jennings noted. "We had Mo Ager actually go all the way through and we were able to get him and then we were able to get Paul Davis. We were very fortunate last year with how all of that worked."
All three of those players have NBA talent, though Maine also lost Paul Harris, their first round pick in the D-League Draft, to a season-ending injury prior to the beginning of last season. Harris, like Lasme this season, was expected to be integral part of the Red Claws last season before the team waived him due to injury and thus retaining his rights for this season. It seems that a similar path could be taken with Lasme.
"We'll see if Lasme can come back this year, but we're unsure. The surgery was very successful and I believe the doctor said eight weeks for him to recover from the surgery and then he can start working out so we'll see where he is in a few months," Jennings said. "Obviously he was one of the players that I think was a call-up candidate this year so my hope is he can get back on the court for the end of our season and then get called up to the League."
Hopefully Lasme's luck is a bit better than the Red Claws.