Mar 11, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger (10) against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 106-97. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Standing tall at 6-foot-7, Chase Budinger isn’t your prototypical guard. The Brooklyn Nets may have added a player who can bring the depth that was previously missing at the two.
Drafted 44th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft, Chase Budinger was a multi-sport athlete, excelling not only in basketball, but also in volleyball. In fact, in 2006, he was voted the best volleyball player in the nation. In terms of basketball, he was a 5 star recruit out of high school, ranked 4th in the nation.
“If your fantasy basketball league required every team to draft a crossbreed of Larry Bird and Napoleon Dynamite, your man is Chase Budinger.” – ESPN.com
During his first four seasons in the NBA, Budinger averaged 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. The numbers were low, but those statistics are primarily due to the fact that he hasn’t been able to get enough minutes to showcase his true talent.
Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson have been trying to model the Nets’ play after the Spurs, and they know that they’ll need to develop a roster that facilitates ball movement and passing in order to efficiently score points. What Budinger brings to the table is a high IQ, and he is a great off-ball player. He can create his own shot, make cuts, or pass the ball to an open teammate, making him a great fit to the new system in Brooklyn.
Before being waived, he played 49 games with the Pacers. Below is a video showcasing his best highlights from his past season in Indiana.
Jan 22, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr meets with Indiana Pacers forward Chase Budinger (10) after the Warriors defeated the Pacers 122-110 at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Budinger’s potential to be phenomenal rebounder shouldn’t be overlooked. Given that he has a background in volleyball, he knows when and how to use his athleticism to jump and secure the ball regardless of the speed, direction, and angle it is going in.
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His explosiveness and ability to attack the rim earned him a spot at the dunk contest back in 2012, and he will possibly be the go-to-guy for alley-oops. A great passer with fantastic court vision as well, Budinger provides the depth that very few can at his size and build.
The intangibles he brings are high character and maturity, matching what Brooklyn’s front office is looking for. He doesn’t have an ego that divides a locker room. As one of the veterans, Budinger can emerge as a leader for the young Nets squad, along with Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez.
All three of them have similarities: Lin, Lopez, and Budinger are all 28 and were originally from California. What they have in common will serve as the basis for the Nets success because it will provide unity. Despite the fact that they all come from different backgrounds, they have some common ground, and it will be amazing to see them work together as the main leaders for the Nets. The new signing of Budinger may as well be one of the final keys to the puzzle for this season in Brooklyn.