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Portland Trail Blazers sign James Southerland: Analysis

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed James Southerland to a one-year deal, according to RealGM.com.

James Southerland has signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, a league source told RealGM.

Southerland, a 6-foot-8 sharpshooter, played four games for the New Orleans Pelicans and Charlotte Hornets in his rookie season. After going undrafted out of Syracuse, Syracuse signed a training camp contract with Charlotte and earned its final regular-season roster spot.

Southerland averaged 3.5 points and two rebounds while hitting three of six 3-pointers a year ago. In the middle of his release from Charlotte and signing with New Orleans, Southerland logged 42 games with the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the D-League.

This is pretty much just a training camp flier to bring a body in. The Blazers already have a player on a guaranteed contract in Dorell Wright who fills much of the same role that Southerland does.

That role is as a big spot-up shooter. Southerland knocked down 40 percent of his three-pointers on over six shots per game in college for Syracuse. That’s a skill that can keep someone in the NBA for a long time. However, he struggled with his shot in the D-League last year, only making about 32 percent of his nearly five threes per game. Ultimately, the real problem is that I don’t think Southerland has enough other skills to differentiate himself from other shooters. He’s a defender with slow-ish feet on the perimeter, not much of a passer, and can’t attack with his dribble effectively.

Given the lack of fit for Southerland on Portland, he either got bad advice from an agent or got a pretty decent-sized guarantee monetarily to come in. Unless Wright — or Thomas Robinson, or Victor Claver, or Meyers Leonard, or Joel Freeland — gets hurt, I don’t think there’s a place for him on this team. They’re at 14 guaranteed contracts plus Will Barton, who should just about be a shoo-in to make the team.

But hey, a lot of who makes the end of an NBA bench is about chance and luck. If Southerland comes in, shoots the lights out for two weeks in preseason, and impresses coaches across the league, there’s a good chance that he can get a roster spot somewhere else.

Sam Vecenie

Sam Vecenie is the editor-in-chief of Upside & Motor, as well as an editor at Hardwood Paroxysm. He likes to spend endless hours watching random NCAA game film, and scouring the internet for international basketball. You can find his other work at SBNation's college basketball platform.