In a move that seemed to come out of nowhere, the Cleveland Cavaliers added to their bench with the late season edition to the roster with the signing of Scotty Hopson, a 24-year-old small forward who has been a standout player in Europe.
Hopson went undrafted in the 2011 NBA Draft. Although he entered the draft with high hopes, several red flags came up during the process. It was the interview process specifically that seemed to do the most damage to his draft prospects. A few weeks before the draft, Draft Express quoted an anonymous NBA GM as saying, “That guy is not from the same planet as the rest of us.”
Since then, Hopson has been playing professional basketball in Turkey, with time in both the Turkish Basketball League and the Euroleague. In just 11 games of Euroleague action this season, Hopson had averages of 15.5 points with more than solid averages from the floor (68 percent) and from long distance (48 percent), all in under 29 minutes a game.
On the season, the Cavaliers have been league average from 3-point range, as they currently rank 15th in the league with a 35.8 percent completion rate. The hope in Cleveland is that Hopson can show some maturation and help the team on the court, in what basically amounts to a seven game tryout. With barely any time left in the season, Hopson needs to make an immediate impact in order to stick in the NBA next season.
At 6′ 7″, Hopson brings decent height for an NBA wing, adding in the fact that he has a 6′ 11″ wingspan, Hopson has great physical measurements to contribute defensively. As long as he is mentally prepared, he could be an intriguing addition on both sides of the ball.
Realistically speaking, Hopson is already behind the eight-ball. He has very little time to prove himself useful in the NBA. With having signed only a two year, his time in Cleveland may already be ending. Hopson will be paid $1.3 million dollars, pro-rated, for this season. In total, this means that Hopson will walk away with roughly $128,000 for seven games of work.
The second year of the contract is for roughly $1.5 million, none of it guaranteed. This may be where the most value is for Cleveland. With the new, more punitive, salary cap there will be teams this summer who will be looking to cut salary. Hopson could be included in any trade, and then be immediately waived by the receiving team to save money.
At worst, the signing of Hopson simply gives the Cavaliers an additional trade asset for the coming summer. If he can’t be included in any trades, he could simply be waived by Cleveland. At best though, Cleveland just found a wing with intriguing size and shooting ability.
Only time will tell … and we only have seven games to wait …