Undrafted Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin is signing in Australia, according to Shams Charania of RealGM.com.
Florida’s undrafted Scottie Wilbekin has signed a 1-year deal with Cairns Taipans of Australia NBL, source tells RealGM. NBA out until Dec.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 18, 2014
The fact that Wilbekin has an NBA out until December means that this is probably his backup plan. He’ll still try to sign a contract with an NBA team for training camp, impress there, and hopefully stick with a team that needs backup guards. In the likely event that he is unable to stick, he’ll go over to Australia like James Ennis did last season, and try to improve his game there.
I am a pretty big fan of Wilbekin. He differentiates himself most from other point guards with his play on the defensive end, where he works hard and is able to use his size to bully other guards. But beyond that, he’s a heady game manager that doesn’t turn the ball over. Possessing a 2.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio with slightly under two turnovers per 36 minutes, a team could trust Wilbekin to enter a game and at least run an offense. He was the player most responsible for Florida’s excellent offensive execution this past season. Plus, he shoots pretty well from beyond the three-point arc at about 38 percent for his college career.
Unfortunately, Wilbekin also has some red flags, including multiple suspensions throughout his Florida career. He’s also not an elite athlete, and could really struggle to get penetration against NBA defenders. That’s basically what happened in the Las Vegas summer league for the Sixers this season, where he played 21 minutes per contest and was rather ineffectual on offense. It’s worth mentioning he performed a bit better in Orlando for the Grizzlies, where he created plays for others averaging nearly five assists per contests. But these aren’t necessarily concerns that will just go away until he goes out and plays well.
My guess is that Wilbekin ends up signing a camp deal, then gets cut and heads over to Australia. It will probably make much more monetary sense for him to do that than go to the D-League and pray for an eventual NBA call-up that may never come. While I think there is a chance Wilbekin can eventually get to the league as a caretaker, he also should make as much money as he can throughout the early part of his career.