Jakarr Sampson left Steve Lavin's St. John's team in search of an NBA roster spot - and he's much closer to that dream than some observers would have imagined. With last night's news, perhaps the lesson here is that even when naysayers say no, dreams can come true for a player like Sampson - blessed with raw athletic ability.
As reported by the NY Post, NY Daily News, David Aldridge, Jakarr Sampson will get a chance to play in the NBA Philadelphia 76ers after signing a partially guaranteed three-year contract for the league minimum, according to sources. An undrafted free agent, Sampson impressed the Sixers GM Sam Hinkle in workouts and in the Orlando Summer league.
Sampsons's agent Seth Cohen said, "JaKarr has a real shot at making their final roster. He is a wonderful kid and deserves all the success in the world. We believe strongly in JaKarr and his potential to have a long career in the NBA."
The deal means that Sampson will make the 76ers training camp and possibly the full-season roster; if not, he will likely play for the 76ers D-League team.
His calling card is his athleticism. He has a pretty strong dunk game, which is always a nice thing to have. He's something of a tweener 3-4, both in his size, and that he doesn't have the skillset you'd hope for as a three, like any semblance of an outside shot for example (he attempted 13 threes in two years at St. John's and you don't want to know how many of them were successful), but he has demonstrated some good rebounding instincts, both at St. John's and during his Summer League stint. He does have decent touch on a mid-range jumper as well, so he's not strictly an undersized post player.
Sampson averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds for St. John's last season, taking just under 25% of the team's shots while he was on the floor. He shot 50% from inside the arc, and preferred to shoot long 2-point jump shots, connecting on 40% of those opportunities vs. 66% at the rim.