Any time I evaluate a player's season, I ask myself two questions: 1. Did the player fulfill his expected role? 2. Did the player meet all his reasonable expectations? When it comes to Brendan Haywood's Contract - referred to as BHC from here on - the answers to these two questions are yes and yes. BHC did everything I expected from him and sometimes more.
BHC's role this season was to be a contract, and he filled that role amazingly. There was no point in the season when I looked at BHC on the bench and thought, "that's not a contract." It's hard for any NBA player to maintain his role for a whole season, but he somehow managed to do that without fail. This is why you sign veteran contracts to your team. They rarely try to do too much.
He also exceeded all my reasonable expectations. I thought BHC would do nothing except sit on the bench the entire season, but he did so much more. Sometimes when enough players were injured or the game was a blowout, BHC would stop sitting on the bench and start standing on the court. In uniform. During game action. Checked into the game!
He even scored some buckets. Fourteen of them to be exact. We've counted. Add in his 2 total assists, 2 total steals, 10 (10!!!) total blocks and 29 total rebounds, and that's a combined 57 total contributions more than I expected from BHC this season. Color me impressed.
On the surface, BHC took up valuable cap room - about $2.2 million - and a roster position this season that could have been used to find another contract. Preferably one attached to a player capable of doing anything useful on the court. That's a valid complaint, but trading for BHC was much like drafting a rookie. It's not about what the rookie can do to help a team right away. It's about future potential that should help lead to long term sustainable success.
For as good as BHC was this season, that future potential is what had everyone excited when Cavs GM David Griffin traded for him. That $2.2 million 2014-2015 figure becomes about $10.5 million next season. The catch is it's non-guaranteed money unless he manages to stay on an NBA roster until after August 1, 2015. So the Cavs could trade that contract for a player making around the same amount of money, and the other team could cut BHC and not pay him anything.
Even if he never reaches his potential of being traded for another player who can actually live, breathe, and play basketball all at the same time, BHC did everything within his ability to set himself up for that giant leap into being traded for someone much better than he is. Namely, he managed to stay alive and not retire the entire season.
Whether or not his promising 2014-2015 season pays off with an off-season trade doesn't really matter when it comes to assessing how he played this year. He was great. Everything we expected and more. He should be commended for this season's accomplishments even while we hope for BHC to transform into someone more useful in the offseason.
All stats and contract figures courtesy of Basketball-Reference.