D.J. Stephens can jump very, very high, an advantageous skill in the game of basketball.
The Bucks have made efficient use of the extra roster spot opened up by waiving Caron Butler last month. First it was Tony Mitchell joining the club, then Chris Wright.
D.J. Stephens, come on down!
The Bucks inked the former University of Memphis standout to a 10-day deal Monday, keeping with the theme of bringing in prospects heralded for their athleticism.
It’s no secret Stephens is a world-class leaper – he set the NBA combine record with a downright bonkers 46-inch vertical leap – but his struggle to find a defined position has thus far prevented the 23 year old from making an impact at the highest level. Technically listed as a power forward, the 6-5, 200-pound Stephens is clearly well below the league’s typical standards for the position.
After going undrafted last June, Stephens was a member of Miami’s summer league squad but failed to make the final roster. Rather than giving the D-League a shot, Stephens opted to instead sign with the Greek club Ilysiakos, where he averaged 9.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 18 games.
So, where does Stephens fit in with Milwaukee over the final month of the season? It’s tough to speculate without hearing from Larry Drew, of course, but Drew wasn’t shy about giving the previous 10-day-ers some significant run. In Sunday’s loss to the Kings, Wright played 26 minutes, second only to O.J. Mayo’s 28. While Stephens is not as well-rounded a player as either Wright or Mitchell, he’s easily the best athlete of the three. And that’s saying a lot, considering Mitchell is the two-time defending D-League dunk contest champion.
Check out these highlights if you want some more evidence – or if you just want to feel really discouraged about your own athletic ability.
So yeah, it was pretty difficult to find any non-dunk highlights of this guy. But hey, the season’s almost over. Why not bring in a guy who may be best suited for a career on the And 1 Mixtape Tour (is that still going on?). Either way, Stephens should be plenty of fun to watch.