The NBA free agency period kicked off this July with some of the biggest names in the game, Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony et al, testing the market for their talents. As teams prepared flights, meetings, and presentations to court these superstars to their respective cities, the rest of the free agent market remained at a virtual stand-still, waiting for Lebron to sign so the league’s balance of power for the following season could be realized. Now that the King is returning home, Anthony is expected to make his decision in the next few days, leaving teams to fill out their rosters with a quality supporting cast. Increasingly, executives on contending teams have been turning to former ACC players, and with good reason.
Steve Blake (University of Maryland)
Former Maryland standout Steve Blake, who led Maryland to their 2002 national title, was recently picked up by Portland on a two year deal. Although he will by no means be one of the team’s major contributors, his reputation as a solid, fundamental passer will certainly help guide Damian Lillard as he navigates the Trail Blazers through the gauntlet that is the Western Conference.
Josh McRoberts (Duke University)
At Duke, McRoberts was an uber efficient scoring big who played well on both sides of the ball. He led the Blue Devils to the ACC tournament championship in 2006, but once drafted to the league, he struggled to find a consistent starting job until this past year in Charlotte. Look for McRoberts to contribute early and often to a Heat team who just lost the focal point of their offense.
Ed Davis (University of North Carolina)
Some things never change. While playing in Chapel Hill, Davis was an unstoppable force in the paint, averaging 13.4PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 2.8 BPG until a broken wrist ended his sophomore season. Despite not signing with any teams yet, Davis has drawn interest from the Grizzlies and the Clippers. In Memphis, he will likely retain his role as a serviceable, backup big man; however, if Davis chooses to play for the Clippers, he stands to play a more important role defensively for a team who has as much frontcourt depth as a kiddy pool.
Greivis Vasquez (University of Maryland)
The pride and joy of Maryland basketball in recent memory, Greivis recently agreed to a two year contract to stay with the resurgent Raptors. Although his minutes dipped last season while backing up a capable floor general in Kyle Lowry, he posted a career high in 3FG% and continued to show flashes of the talent that once earned him the Bob Cousy award over top pick and all star John Wall. Vasquez solidifies Toronto’s backcourt for the immediate future, providing a reliable option off the bench.