Free agent profile: Lester Hudson
This is the 19th post in a series focusing on this year’s free-agent class.
Player: Lester Hudson
Former team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Type of free agent: Unrestricted
Positives: It might be a stretch to say Hudson surprised the basketball world in the same vein that Jeremy Lin did during last year’s Linsanity. But the circumstances appear similar. Hudson jumped around, ranging from stints in the NBA (Boston, Memphis, Washington), the Development League (Austin Toros) and China. The Cleveland Cavaliers then took a chance on Hudson, who averaged 12.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 13 games. He even had a four-game stretch when he averaged 23.3 points, leading owner Dan Gilbert to joke there’s “Lessanity.”
Gilbert’s enthusiasm for Hudson clearly wasn’t that high, considering he let Hudson walk after two 10-day contracts. The Grizzlies picked up Hudson and he only averaged three points in 6.7 minutes a game. But there’s very little risk in giving someone a chance when at this point he just wants the opportunity to play. Hudson, at 27, can be a combo guard. During his impressive stretch, Hudson drove to the basket with quickness and aggressiveness. He often scored in bunches, showing he’s capable of bringing instant energy off the bench. Kobe Bryant might not remember it, but Hudson also nailed two consecutive three-pointers over him in a regular-season game in 2010. If nothing else, it showed Hudson’s not afraid of the moment.
Sure, Hudson is still unproven. But there’s enough to suggest he’s at least worth a training-camp invite.
Negatives: The Lakers are in win-now mode and can’t afford to bank on an unproven player developing into a reliable reserve. The Lakers have to accept the reality that devoting a veteran’s minimum to their pending free agents yields players with many flaws. But Hudson has yet to prove that he can sustain his scoring in the NBA. Though Hudson is a combo guard, he has more experience at point guard. That isn’t a pressing need, considering the Lakers have plenty of point-guard options with Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Darius Morris, plus combo guard Andrew Goudelock.
Verdict: The Lakers should invite Hudson to training camp, assuming he doesn’t sign with another team. If he proves he can hang with the veteran unit, keep him. If not, let him go. It’s that simple.
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