Shawn Long Deserves A Shot In The NBA
Shawn Long's name already appears in the record books for the Ragin' Cajuns. Now, he's just waiting to see his name appear somewhere else: on an NBA roster.
NBA teams are longing to talk to the big man from Morgan City. Numerous teams asked him to work out for them since finishing his senior year, and his decision to return and play another season for Bob Marlin looks like it is going to pay off, literally.
He's a 6'10" big man with wingspan to spare, he rebounds like a man possessed, and his jumper is wet. In the modern culture of basketball, where everybody needs to shoot, Long fits right in.
There's a chance Long's name won't get called. It's a harsh reality. On 60 men get drafted, but even if he doesn't get that moment, these workouts mean there is real interest.
His former teammate, Elfrid Payton, was drafted 10th overall, then traded to an Orlando Magic organization that invested in him heavily. Long might have to work his way through the developmental league to make an NBA roster, but he has a chance to join Elfrid.
Long's numbers are mind-boggling. He scored 2,342 points and ripped down 1,447 rebounds in his college career. He was a double-double machine in vermilion and white (and sometimes black), and his instinctual shot-blocking ability sent many basketballs into the seats. The most impressive part of his basketball resume has to do with an internal change, and it has nothing to do with playing the game.
When Long entertained the thought of going pro last year, the main knock against him was his maturity. He addressed that. His interaction with the media changed dramatically, and his on-court performances became incredibly consistent.
His 23 double-doubles tied him with LSU's Ben Simmons, who most consider the top pic in the NBA Draft, and he scored over 15 points in 27 of the 34 games he played. Day in and day out, Long went to work.
At times in his career as a Cajun, Long rode the roller coaster. One game, he would dominate, but there were also head-scratching games where he underperformed. During his senior year, head coach Bob Marlin handed him a heavy load, and he handled it like a man.
If he has to go overseas and play European ball to develop his game a little bit more, that will just be a bend in the road. With the growth he displayed from 2015-16, who knows where he could be in a couple years.
I'm not saying Shawn Long is going to be an All-Star in the NBA, I'm just saying he deserves a shot to prove himself. When your name is in the history books alongside Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon, you at least deserve a shot.