Josh Childress Comes Back for A 2nd Helping of Euroleague
What Happened Last Year
Josh Childress earlier this week announced that he was going to come back to the Greek team Olympiacos for another season. Childress signed a 3 year contract last year and was given the highest yearly salary of any player in Europe. After averaging a disappointing 8.8 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game, Childress is out to prove that he is worth the money he was given. While he was hurt for some of the Top 16 and it takes some time to adjust to the Euroleague game, Childress should have posted better numbers. Olympiacos will again be a Final Four contender next year after losing by two points to arch rival Panathinaikos in the semi-finals last year. The core of the team will be back with veteran point guard legend Theo Papaloukas, veteran big man Nikola Vujcic, All-Euroleague first teamer Ioannis Bourousis, and combo guard Yotam Halperin. Childress is the x-factor to how good Olympiacos can be.
What’s Going to Change This Year
The book on the Josh Childress experiment is still open and depending upon how well he does this season could impact the migration of NBA players to Europe. When Childress originally arrived in Europe he was thought to instantly be one of the best players in the Euroleague. He was an athletic small forward in his prime who had just come off a spectacular season for the Atlanta Hawks as their sixth man. Childress immediately brought athleticism, defense, and slashing ability to the Reds. After averaging 14 and 15 points in his first 2 games he dropped to 8 and 4 points in the next two games. It took time to get used to the style of play, fluctuating minutes, cultural change, and limited number of shots. What people need to expect from Childress next year is great defense, a point forward who can set up a half court offense or run the wing on the fast break, but Childress’s best quality is that he can fit into any role. He isn’t going to score 20 on back to back nights, his role is to do whatever the team needs whether that is running the point, taking the scoring load, or playing the other team’s best player on defense. While I expect Childress’s scoring numbers to be better, he won’t rank with the best in Europe. With one year under his belt and a passion for taking care of unfinished business; look for Childress to step up this year and become one of the better players in the Euroleague.
Childress’s Effect on NBA Players Going to Europe
In the overall scheme of things the success of Josh Childress is a big deal. After the Greek Championship game against Panathainkos when fans were throwing lit objects and glass onto the floor, Childress has second thoughts about coming back to Europe. With the amount of money he is getting paid in these economic times it was hard for him to say no to a second year. If Childress is able to flourish next year and European teams continue to scout the NBA for players willing to come to Europe, things could take off. Now Nate Robinson has an offer from Olympiacos and as the rules change more Americans will be allowed on European teams. With Greek teams already being able to add an extra American, NBA players going overseas is going to become more frequent. Once the European economy picks back up and NBA players start to have more success in the Euroleague, more players will be brought over. And when we look back on this we will say it all started with the goofy fro-haired kid from California, Josh Childress.