Signing Snapshot: Yudai Baba to Melbourne
With free agency underway, NBL Media’s Liam Santamaria is taking a look at each and every signing and breaking down what it all means ahead of #NBL21.
Signed by: Melbourne United
The deal: One year
2019-20 team: Texas Legends (NBA G League)
2019-20 stats (per game): 6.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 50.5 FG%, 41.5 3P%, 70.0 FT%
Projected role: Back-up shooting guard.
Quote: “We haven’t signed a Special Restricted Player before, so we are definitely excited to have signed Baba and we’re looking forward to welcoming him to our club.” – Vince Crivelli, Melbourne United CEO
My take: I like this move from United. The ‘Special Restricted Player’ rule allows NBL teams to sign a guy from a list of Asian countries and have him play as a local. The best bit: his salary is almost completely exempt from cap calculations.
That’s what makes this such a shrewd signing by Vickerman and Crivelli. You see, Baba can play – he’ll serve as a productive back-up to Chris Goulding – and the salary cap savings will enable Melbourne to spend more on other key pieces like CG43 and, potentially, an import big.
The 24-year-old Japanese guard ran with Finn Delany in Vegas last year and then played for Dallas’ G League affiliate until that season shut down.
He’s got good size, is quick and athletic and his ability to attack the cup will definitely help MU’s second unit. His perimeter shooting has always been a little suspect but if he can keep shooting like he did in the G League last season you won’t be able to leave him open.