April 16, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Dallas Mavericks small forward Kelenna Azubuike (4) warms up prior to a game against the Utah Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Cleveland Cavaliers Player Profile: Kelenna Azubuike

When you think of Kentucky Wildcat alumni in the NBA, you probably think of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or maybe John Wall.  So, you may be surprised to know that the Cavs have a Kentucky Wildcat on the roster in Kelenna Azubuike. The 6-5 shooting guard hasn’t played much in his NBA career thus far, but with the lack of depth at shooting guard on the roster, he could possibly get some more playing time.

The current Cavalier shooting guards are Azubuike and Dion Waiters. Daniel “Boobie” Gibson could also play the two, but he’s not big enough to play the two fulltime. It would take something drastic to have him play there, but overall, this is a weak position. Waiters is an untested rookie with conditioning issues and Azubuike is essentially a mystery with no NBA track record to predict his season on.

Playing under coach Tubby Smith, Azubuike averaged 10.0 points per game in 97 college games, shooting at a 48.5 percent clip. Upon entering the NBA Draft in 2005, he was not drafted and played for the Fort Worth Flyers of the NBA Developmental League. He averaged 12.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game in his time as a Flyer.  He then signed up with the summer league team of the Denver Nuggets, where he averaged 16.4 points per game. After that, he played for Houston, Fort Worth again, and then Golden State. While a Warrior, he signed a three-year, $9 million deal and played as a Warrior until he was traded to the New York Knicks in December of 2010.  He was inactive in his entire time as a Knick, and then was signed by the Mavericks in March of 2012. But in June, just three months after signing, he was traded to Cleveland.

Azubuike does not have a real NBA track record. He hasn’t played in a real game since 2010 and has seen his averages drop each year over the last three years. The editor-in-chief of Right Down Euclid, Zak Kolesar, thinks that he could help out in the rotation right away. I, on the other hand, am not real sure. Could he jump in the rotation and stay there for the whole season? Sure, but he also could get stuck behind rookie Dion Waiters and Daniel “Boobie” Gibson and never see the floor. And if I have to pick, I tend to favor the latter happening. He hasn’t played a game in a few seasons, and the Cavs likely only acquired him so they could acquire Tyler Zeller in the draft. So, if my hunches are right, Azubuike will not play this season and could even be waived. Is it possible that he plays? Absolutely, but don’t count on it.

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