By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
A few noteworthy items regarding Bonnies and the NBA…
Bona Nation rejoiced when Andrew Nicholson agreed to a four-year, $26 million deal with the Washington Wizards, and for good reason.
Nicholson’s time in Orlando was marked by frustration. After playing in 151 of 164 possible games his rookie and sophomore campaigns, and starting 33 of them, the man who led Bonaventure to the 2012 Atlantic 10 championship played in just 96 of 164 in his final two years with the Magic.
After Jacque Vaughn was fired on Feb. 5, 2015, the hiring of Scott Skiles had some optimistic Nicholson would play more consistently, but he still got a “Did Not Play (Coach’s Decision)” in many contests.
The fresh start in our nation’s capital is promising for many reasons. The most obvious plus is that Nicholson is much more likely to play on a nightly basis with the Wiz. He will back up Markieff Morris, who was traded from Phoenix at February’s trade deadline. You don’t make a guy your sixth-highest paid player (only John Wall, Ian Mahinmi, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Morris will make more) to have him sit the bench for 48 minutes.
In addition, the Bonnies fans who have rooted for no. 44 the past eight years will be rewarded with many more opportunities to watch him on television.
The Magic made two national TV appearances over the past four years, the most recent one an April 13 ESPN game at Charlotte that Nicholson played the last 3:44 of. The Wizards played 16 regular-season national TV games over the past four years, in addition to 21 playoff games in 2014 and ’15. Better team means more TV time.
I also expect playing with superstar point guard John Wall to have a positive impact on Nicholson’s growth as a player. The 25-year-old Wall is a three-time All-Star who finished third in the league in assists this past season with 10.2 a game. He also averaged 19.9 points a game, making him one of four point guards to average a double-double (Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul are the other three).
With a guard like Wall running the show and a team that has made the postseason two out of the last three seasons, the 6-foot-9 Nicholson is in a great situation with Washington. You might see him facing off with LeBron’s Cavaliers in the playoffs next May.
The Wizards were also interested in another SBU alum, Marcus Posley, a couple weeks ago. Unlike Nicholson, however, this one didn’t end with a deal.
Sources say Washington, impressed by Posley’s pre-draft workout, offered him a spot on their roster for the Las Vegas Summer League. Posley’s agent, Gilad Berkowitz of Berkowitz Career Ventures, decided to wait for other teams to offer. The other offers never came, and Washington moved on, finding other players to fill their remaining slots.
Posley’s 1321 points in three D-I seasons, along with his 47-point showcase against St. Joe’s, figured to be enough to garner more NBA attention. Unfortunately for him, any summer league action looks unlikely now, barring a last-minute offer.