Playing for a team that is coached by one of the greatest coaches in the league i.e. Gregg Popovich is not for the faint hearted. That is a hard fact that even seasoned players in the NBA acknowledge after joining the San Antonio Spurs. However, Brandon Paul who is a rookie guard has a secret that goes way back when it comes to dealing with the renowned coach. This information can influence how you place your bet on NBA next season.
Brandon played at some point for coach Mom. Lynda Paul who initially played college basketball at Ball State, coached the AAU team where her son was a player during his middle school days.
Nonetheless, Paul mentioned that the experience was a bit different. This was after completing a recent workout at the practice facility of the San Antonio Spurs. He said that he could recall going to gyms and finding Lynda as the sole female in there. However, all the kids were well aware that she was no nonsense.
Paul took his first provisional steps in the basketball journey with his mother as the coach. It has been a wonderful journey that has ultimately landed him the position of an NBA rookie at the age of 26 years.
A month or so ago, Paul was plucked by the san Antonio Spurs from the Las Vegas Summer League. The spurs offered him what would be his very first guaranteed NBA contract after 5 professional seasons of moving from one European League to another as well as the Development League (D-League).
This can only be viewed as one of the lowest risks that the Spurs have ever taken on a player. This is because he was given a 2-year long contract that is worth $815,000 guaranteed. It is a chance to find out if Paul will be their next underrated player to rise to stardom after guard Jonathon Simmons of the Orlando Magic. Paul has had a very difficult journey to his first NBA job as he said that nothing was just handed to him, he had to toil hard. His first professional gig was in Russia following a 4-year standout during his college career at Illinois. It was the very worst time in his life as a basketball player.
As an undrafted player who had graduated from college, Paul was only sustained for twelve games by BC Nizhny Novgorod (a Russian Club). This was during the 2013 – 2014 season prior to him returning to the U.S.
The Russian winter was very harsh on him and he spent a majority of his time in his apartment due to language barrier. Paul said that the language barrier greatly affected his life when in Russia as all he did was play or practice. Paul spent the remaining time of his professional season with the Development League’s Canton Charge after his horrific experience in Russia. The Development League has since changed its name to the Gatorade League. He suffered many injuries before his shoulders finally gave up on him.
However, it comes with no surprise because Paul has always had several injuries in his journey. For instance, he broke a jaw during a pickup game in the summer that preceded his senior year at Illinois. He lost fifteen pounds during the recovery period for that particular injury. There is a possibility that it might have led to Paul being undrafted because it negatively affected his last season in college.
Another instant is when he seriously injured his left shoulder to the extent of needing surgery in March. It was an injury that killed his first season in Canton. Paul suffered a torn cartilage in the right shoulder in the summer that preceded his 2nd professional season. The injury occurred in Chicago during a summer-league game. He had to go for a surgery to fix it.
Paul reinjured his left shoulder before going back to the court and had to undergo another surgery. That makes it 3 shoulder surgeries and all were in a span of one year. Paul had lost a whole season. He said that he struggled through rehabilitation but that is what made him the player he now is i.e. tougher.
He spent the 2015- 2016 season in Spain after recovering his health. He had 13 points per game to lead in scoring for the FIATC Joventut. It was a performance that earned him a training offer from the 76ers of Philadelphia in the past summer. It was his first offer from a club in the NBA but unfortunately failed to qualify for the team. He went to Turkey after Philadelphia officially waived him. It was at this time that Paul remembers doubting if he would ever have a shot at joining the NBA.
Paul’s big break came in Las Vegas, this was after he had just completed a game with the summer squad of Cleveland Cavaliers in the month of July. His agent informed him of the Spur’s intentions to sign him.
Paul was very happy with the news but also with the fact that the Spurs were his first stop in the NBA journey that had just began. The fans of the San Antonio Spurs would have been excited to sign a player named Paul when the offseason took off. At the top of the team’s wish list was the Chris Paul who was a possible free agent. However, Chris was traded in June to the Houston Rockets by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Chris is believed to be the best point guard of his generation as displayed by his 10th appearance at the NBA All Stars. Brandon is not on Chris Paul’s level but if he can make it to the final roster of the Spurs then he has an opportunity to make an impact in their bench. A bench that is highly regarded in the league. Brandon has been compared to many players including Gary Neal who performed for the Spurs during the 2013 finals.
Paul said that he is aware of his abilities and is quite confident in himself. He added that he would do his best in playing his role and was not keen on trying to be the leading scorer.
Paul was to keep the news of his signing concealed until his name was actually on a contract. This proved to be difficult because his mother inquired why his Summer League ended prematurely and Paul had to disclose the news partially. He told her about the NBA signing but did not mention the exact team.
The mother who is a big fan of Tim Duncan was happy to learn that it was the Spurs. He has since talked to Coach Pop on several occasions but was rings in his mind is the words that Popovich told him that you are the guy we wanted.