Breaking down Devon Hall decision to sign in Australia

devon hall uva basketballAt first glance, it might seem odd to see UVA alum Devon Hall signing a pro contract in Australia, seemingly passing on the NBA.

Hall, a second-round pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder, will play the 2018-2019 season in Cairns in the NBL, whose alums include the likes of Luc Longley, Patty Mills and Andrew Gaze, so there is movement back and forth between Australia and the States.

But, OK, Hall was drafted by OKC. Why wouldn’t he go to camp with the Thunder?

One, second-round picks aren’t guaranteed a job. First-round picks get a guaranteed contract, but second-rounders have to make the team, or absent a roster spot catch on in the G League.

Players in the G League are paid $7,000 per month, or $35,000 for the league’s five-month season.

Terms of Hall’s NBL deal weren’t released, but American imports typically make $60,000 to $100,000 a season in Australia.

But, the NBA rookie minimum was $562,493 in the 2017-2018 season. Why not take a chance at making the roster?

Specific to OKC, the Thunder already have 15 players signed to guaranteed deals, so it was looking more and more clear that Hall was going to be limited to the G League in 2018-2019.

It was hard for Hall to even get minutes with the OKC summer league team. He got just 15.2 minutes per game in the summer, averaging 5.4 points and 1.2 assists per game.

Hall will get more minutes in Australia, in a league with other guys aspiring to play in the NBA, and make a little more money.

And according to his agent, Hall fully intends to make a go at the NBA in 2019-2020, though, admittedly, you have to worry a little here.

The one big knock on Hall heading into the draft is his age – 23, after five years, including a redshirt year, at UVA.

He’ll practically be a grandfather after another year away, and trying to break in as a rookie at the ripe old age of 24.

So, yeah, a gamble, but, it’s probably a wise one.

Column by Chris Graham

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