No matter how well a rookie plays in his first season, there invariably comes a moment where he gets somewhat humbled on the court by an NBA veteran. Here at All Ball, we’ll do our best all season to keep track of these moments, which we’re calling “Welcome to the NBA” …
By Jeff Case
A short trek around the Internet after the 2013 Draft found most pundits praising the Bulls’ selection of former New Mexico standout Tony Snell with the 20th pick. The shooting guard was seen as a player who could help spread the floor for the Bulls with his shooting range and someone with the potential to be a good defender.
Snell isn’t seen as a key cog for the contending Bulls this season — at least not yet — but he got his first taste of real NBA action last night against the defending-champion Miami Heat. He checked in with 6:44 to play in the second quarter of last night’s game, took (and missed) a 3-pointer with 5:20 left and, seconds later, got his Welcome To The NBA moment from the MVP, LeBron James.
After Snell’s miss, the Bulls ran back in transition and he found himself guarding James after the Heat star got the ball off a long pass from Norris Cole. James waited for a second, spun baseline and hop-stepped for an and-one layup.
The good news for Snell is it’s a long season and, of course, this isn’t the first (or last) player LeBron will victimize in 2013-14. And, in comparison to how Paul George treated fellow rookie Victor Oladipo on the same night, Snell got off kind of easy.