While head coach Luke Walton and the Los Angeles Lakers hand over the reigns to the new era of core players, the National Basketball Association remains a learning experience. For many players, a key veteran presence always set the stage on how to have a successful career.
Jose Calderon, an 11-year veteran, understands his role heading into training camp. The product of Spain will handle the backup duties to D’Angelo Russell, attempting to help mature the young player into a molded product.
While Russell’s game remains raw, another year under his belt alongside a proven guard will help evolve his game towards becoming successful in today’s run-and-gun style of offense.
Calderon, now playing with the fifth team in his career, understands what he can bring to this young Lakers roster, via Mike Bresnahan of Time Warner Cable Sportsnet:
“Very excited about the season coming up. I think I can be a good guy for all these young guys,” Calderon said. “I’ve been around a while, so I’m just ready for whatever minutes I get, just go out there and play my basketball.”
While Calderon is widely known for his time with the Toronto Raptors, he has proven his worth with other teams. Calderon is a tenured member of Spain’s national team, while also remaining a constant in the NBA.
Throughout his four different stops prior to joining the Lakers, Calderon was respected for his abilities to be a floor general and manage an offense. The pass-first guard can continue to bring that thought process of execution into Walton’s rookie season as head coach, aiding other guards such as Russell and Jordan Clarkson:
“Think first. If they don’t know me, they’re going to know soon enough,” Calderon stated. “But that’s me, just a team guy, going to do whatever it takes to help make my teammates get better. That’s going to be my role.”
During his last season with the New York Knicks, Calderon averaged 7.6 points, 4.2 assists and a career-high 3.2 rebounds per game.
Calderon also goes on to talk about his experience in the NBA and what is was like to play with a young roster during his tenure with the Raptors.
During Calderon’s 11-year NBA career, the 34-year-old is averaging 9.9 points, 6.5 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game.