With training camp inching ever closer, most teams are looking to add some additional depth to their squads. The Nets are not strangers to this practice either. On September 21, they signed Chase Budinger to a training camp deal. The 6-foot-7 Budinger has plenty of NBA experience, having spent seven years in the league. During that time, he averaged a respectable 7.9 points, three rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. The NBA journeyman has a reputation of a solid outside shooting, as he averaged 35.2 percent from deep throughout his career.
After a successful college career with the Arizona Wildcats, Budinger was drafted 44th overall in the 2009 NBA draft. He spent the first three years of his NBA career with the Houston Rockets, where he was mostly used as a spark off the bench. The 2010-11 season was his best one to date. While starting in 22 of his 78 games, he averaged a career-high 9.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. In the season finale against the Timberwolves, he recorded a career-high 35 points. It’s fair to say that this particular game had a big impact on his career, as he was soon traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Following an uninspiring three-year stint in Minnesota, he was again traded, this time to the Indiana Pacers in 2015. After getting waived by the team in March, he spent the remainder of the season with the Phoenix Suns.
At 6-foot-7, Budinger has an excellent frame for a modern NBA wing. He proved himself as a respectable spot-up shooter from deep, although he can be annoyingly inconsistent in that regard. He is a sort of jack-of-all-trades, at least on the offensive end. He can do a bit of everything, thanks to his excellent feel for the game and high basketball IQ. He is a big threat in transition and while moving off the ball. He is good at getting into the paint, though he could stand to work on his finishing around the basket.
Budinger is a net negative on defense, mostly due to his lacking lateral quickness and a high center of gravity. This makes him prone to being exploited in isolation or off-the-dribble, as we’ve seen during his career. To make matters worse, he is often unable to make up the difference on the offensive end. He’s not good at creating his own shot or making contested jumpers. He is an average distributor and ball-handler, which makes him rely on his outside shooting more than he would like. He also has a long history of injuries, though the worst seems to be behind him.
After a disappointing 2015-16 season in which he made only 27.9 percent of his three-point attempts, Budinger will look to bounce back and make the Nets’ final 15-man roster. However, this particular team is made up of veterans who can contribute immediately and talented youngsters hoping to break out. At 28 years old, Budinger needs to prove he can still be a role player in the NBA. Given the team’s lack of depth at the wing positions, he certainly has a shot. If he is healthy and can rediscover his outside shot, Budinger can be a solid backup to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
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