What’s next for Alex Poythress?

LAS VEGAS — Unless you have a multi-year guaranteed contract, there’s always uncertainty in NBA — and in sports for that matter. And just because you have a guaranteed contract, it doesn’t mean you’ll be where you had planned.

For coaches, they can be fired. For players, they can get moved or waived.

The latter occurred for Pacers forward Alex Poythress, officially on Friday while he was in Las Vegas playing with the franchise’s summer league entry. By waiving him, the Pacers saved $1.54 million, twice as much as he earned last season.

Poythress, 24, was bumped up from a two-way deal to an NBA contract in late December, signing a two-year deal. But only the 2017-18 season was guaranteed.

Again, there’s that uncertainty.

[Poythress discusses his new contract with Pacers; says it’s a dream come true’]

“There’s always room for uncertainty,” Poythress told VigilantSports.com after the Pacers’ second summer league game. “I’m just trying to control what I can do and control my game.”

Poythress has started in each of their two games, and averaged 9.5 points (on 7-of-15 shooting) and 3.5 rebounds per game. His focuses for this summer: “Shooting the ball well, being active, playing defense. I’m really trying to focus in on defense.”

If he could become a solid two-way player, he would have a job in this league for at least another five years.

“I think AP has to continue to stretch the floor and hit that open shot, the 3-ball,” summer league coach Steve Gansey said. “Defensively, continue to be able to switch one through five, keep a smaller, a quicker guy in front of him. He’s strong, he’s got great hands. He should be on an NBA team. I’m really happy for AP and I hope he gets a shot somewhere.”

Poythress has heard from team executives, several of whom are in Las Vegas – President Kevin Pritchard, GM Chad Buchanan, and Director of Player Personnel Ryan Carr.

“They told me it was for salary cap reasons and that we still want to keep a relationship. And then we’ll try to figure out something later on down the road,” Poythress shared. “I’m just trying to control what I can control and just try to take advantage of my opportunity.”

Poythress isn’t a player who plays with outward emotion, so he can be difficult to read.

“He’s a quiet guy,” said Gansey, who coached him in seven Mad Ants games last season. “That’s just his personality. He’s got a high motor; he can run; he’s very athletic and can get up and down.”

He’s stoic, rarely showing any kind of emotion. Just watch his reaction to this nifty split and finish at the rim from day one.

The Pacers have 13 players signed to contracts for the 2018-19 season, the latest being center Kyle O’Quinn. Plus, Edmond Sumner is signed to one of their two-way contracts. Second-round pick Alize Johnson says he expects to put pen to paper “very soon.”

The majority of summer league players  are using Vegas to demonstrate what they can do to all 30 teams. It’s not just a job interview with one team. Poythress’ NBA experience is limited to just 31 games and just over 250 minutes of game time. He’s still maturing, growing, and learning the NBA.

The question is whether he’ll continue to do so with the Pacers after summer league.

One Response to What’s next for Alex Poythress?
  1. […] to fight to prove to any of the 30 teams in attendance that he is worthy of a roster spot.  He entered the Summer League having completed the first year of a 2-year contract with Indiana, but …  With 14 points tonight and a huge dunk, hopefully, he is attracting more attention and will find […]

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