Lester Hudson probably wasn't a name on the tips of any tongues when NBA fans were clamoring for a mid-season addition to their favorite team's roster. The combo guard has made a name for himself playing for the already-eliminated Cleveland Cavaliers, however -- and has likely already earned an NBA contract for next season.
Hudson was called up from the NBA Development League a couple of weeks ago -- coinciding with yet another Kyrie Irving injury -- without a lot of fanfare. The too-short-to-be-a-shooting guard has opened a lot of eyes since being unleashed on the NB, though, averaging a wild 19 points to go with 4.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds since finding himself thrust into the rotation five games ago.
And that, right there, brings us to the beauty of April in the NBA.
Hudson could have been called up much earlier in the season to a contending team as they attempted to squeeze the potential out of the 6-3 guard that tore up small-school competition while playing at Tennessee-Martin --something the Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards were unable to able to do in his previous NBA stops.
An NBA team signing him wasn't an option for a while, Hudson played the majority of this season in China. There he averaged 33.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.9 assists for Qingdao Double Star, the team Ivan Johnson played for before becoming an NBA force with the Atalnta Hawks. Hudson returned stateside and was relegated to signing in the D-League with the Austin Toros.
Hudson was pretty impressive with the talented Toros, averaging 17.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists in five games for the San Antonio Spurs-owned team. He was called up to the Cavs after just two appearances in his team's starting lineup. Yep, Hudson wasn't even a D-League starter until Austin teammate Justin Dentmon earned a call-up (the team also employed NBA-caliber guards in Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson and Cory Joseph).
The preceding few paragraphs probably didn't present any new information to those that have followed Hudson's career, but that demographic probably makes up approximately zero percent of the internet's readership. Hudson essentially came from nowhere, according to the majority of the NBA's fanatics, and that's not such a bad thing.
Like Jeremy Lin, Gerald Green and the others before him this season, Hudson's showing that an opportunity is the only thing a lot of basketball players need to succeed. Said opportunity likely would not have happened earlier in the season.
It kind of stinks that Hudson has been living predominantly in garbage time, but it'll be fun watching to see what else Hudson's able to do ... at least for the rest of the regular season and before NBA teams decide to sign a "proven veteran" that has done less with more opportunities.