Chase Budinger, small forward
IND: 14.9 MPG, 4.4 PPG, 1.0 APG, 2.5 RPG, 0.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .418 FG%, .290 3PT%, .708 FT%, 49 G
PHX: 11.8 MPG, 3.2 PPG, 0.9 ASP, 1.7 RPG, 0.2 SPG, 0.1 BLK, .511 FG%, .235 3PT%, .625 FT%, 17 G
Who is Chase Budinger?
As an NBA fan, you likely know who Chase Budinger is, however, you might not know where he’s been for the last three seasons — so let’s catch up with the newest member (for now) of the Brooklyn Nets. Of course, Budinger found moderate success with the Houston Rockets after he was drafted in 2009, including a 22-start season in 2010-2011 where he averaged 9.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. The following season, and his last one in Houston, Budinger hit from beyond the arc at a 40% clip, which is certainly some of the magic the Nets are looking to recreate off the bench.
In 2012, Budinger tore his meniscus with the Minnesota Timberwolves and missed the remainder of the season. Then, just before training camp in 2013, the Timberwolves announced that Budinger would need a second procedure done on the knee and he promptly missed half of the season again. Budinger’s once promising career has been consistently derailed by injury and, since recovering fully, has struggled to find his niche again — adding short stints with both Phoenix Suns and Indiana Pacers in 2015-2016. The 6’7 forward is an interesting signing, if only because of the potential gains he offers from three, but expectations should be understandably tempered.
Budinger will look to leave a disappointing 2015-2016 in the past as he saw drops in almost every major statistical category. The former Arizona Wildcat couldn’t carve out an important role with the Pacers, playing in 49 contests but only averaging 14.9 minutes a game. Unfortunately, Budinger’s highlight of the year came against the Philadelphia 76ers in November when he scored 15 points and secured 6 rebounds over a season-high 30 minutes. In order to sign Ty Lawson in March, the Pacers waived Budinger and although the Suns were quick to pick him up, he would only play 17 games and saw both his minutes and three-point percentage drop.
For all the talk about his three-point shooting, Budinger shot just 28% from three last season.
Will he make the Nets?
At the age of 27, Budinger could instantly becomes a veteran voice in the Nets’ locker room, particularly those that have or need to recover from debilitating injuries. Additionally, he’d also add some three-point shooting at the wing position, something the Nets need desperately. Perhaps, then, that’s where Budinger’s value lies — imagine him lining up a wide-open three-pointer after a Jeremy Lin penetration and kick-out. While the Nets have some shooting in Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Harris, and Sean Kilpatrick, Budinger could offer a new look from the small forward position should head coach Kenny Atkinson see fit.
For now, we’ll be closely monitoring his situation throughout preseason as the Nets’ roster is currently quite crowded.
The Budinger Highlight Reel Theater:
Fun fact: Budinger was the co-MVP of the 2006 McDonald’s All-American Game with Kevin Durant.
The Bottom Line:
For Budinger, there are more than a few roadblocks standing in the way of a season-long deal with the Brooklyn Nets. First and foremost, he’s only on a training camp deal right now and the Nets already have fifteen guaranteed contracts on the books — that alone will make it tricky to find Budinger a spot in October. However, Atkinson will certainly continue his search for more three-point shooting, so if a glimmer of that past success is still hiding within Budinger, there’s a decent chance he’ll make the team.
Budinger is still an NBA level talent, the only question is if his inclusion is worth less playing time for youngsters like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson or the aforementioned Kilpatrick. This one will likely come down to his performances in the preseason — so tune in if you’re a big Budinger fan, it may be your only chance!