Less than two years after being dismissed from UCLA, Reeves Nelson appears to be on the fast track back to redemption.
Since leaving the school, Nelson traveled overseas to Lithiuania to join Zalgiris Kaunas, which featured Arvydas Sabonis as team president and former Raptors shooting guard Sonny Weems as their prized possession. Zalgiris was optimistic after acquiring the 20 year old forward, but things took a turn for the worse the moment Nelson stepped onto the Euroleague court.
Nelson's stay in Lithiuania was both short and painful as his stint with Zalgiris Kaunas lasted only seven games after he averaged a disappointing 2.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in only 10 minutes per game.
Having spent training camp invite with the Lakers last fall and going on to participate in a short, but promising, stint with the LA D-Fenders this season, Nelson is heading into an offseason where his future as a basketball player may be on thin ice. The 21 year old has faced a bumpy road in the 17 months since leaving UCLA, but it looks like he's finally putting the past behind him.
A source close to Nelson has informed RidiculousUpside.com that there's, nevertheless, reason to be optimistic with regarding Nelson in the near future yet again. He's expected to have a variety of workouts in the coming weeks, with the ultimate goal being ending up on an NBA Summer League team in July. In order to achieve that goal, Nelson has been working out constantly to get into the shape and condition that NBA teams desire out of their players. Despite the previous issues that he has faced in the past, his ultimate goal is to reach the NBA and, thus, has made basketball his number one priority.
Though it may too early to predict just where Nelson is headed next month, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and members of the Rockets organization have previously shown interest in the stretch forward and are the two most likely destinations.
Due to his past experience with UCLA and the D-Fenders, the Lakers would definitely be a fit because of Nelson's ties to California. The team may also be interested in the 6'8 forward because of his abilities to stretch the court, which may become a need for the team, depending on the future of All-Star forward Pau Gasol.
Meanwhile, player development is clearly a major priority, as evidenced by their multitude of young players and past success in the D-League. The Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston's affiliate) is regarded as a D-League powerhouse, because of their wide array of talent and head coach Nick Nurse.
Despite his checkered past, Nelson is an extremely talented and young prospect who could still have a future in the NBA. He's gone through a lot to get this point, but don't close the book on Nelson just yet. There's reason to be optimistic regarding his talent once again, as he gears up to don an NBA Summer League uniform next month.