The Miles Basketball Minute: For Justin Cobbs The Money Doesn´t Stink But Only The Olive Oil Will in Turkey

Only few would have expected Justin Cobbs to have such an impact on the season of the Fraport Skyliners as he arrived at the end of November and was a big factor why the 2004 BBL champion went from near the bottom into the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and the Eurochallenge final 4 when all one really knew about the rookie was that he had had a stellar career at California had hit a few amazing buzzer beaters against then number one school Arizona as his fade way in the corner almost landed him in the lap of his head coach Mike Montgomery or Oregon and had been given the name a poor man´s Derrick Rose, but the Los Angeles native was the real deal in his five and half months with the Fraport Skyliners. Even if one had to force out words out of him as talking was less on the agenda, but more often the sight of him in deep thought as the NBA was swirling in his mind as it is for just about every other American player be it realistic or not. Cobbs never explicitly talked about the NBA, but when asked about it he didn´t hesitate to let it be known that that was his ultimate goal even if that wasn´t stated until the last few months in Frankfurt. Cobbs was mostly the last player exiting the locker room in the Fraport arena sporting his Los Angeles Dodgers cap displaying his general like aura that he always had on the court even if he didn´t lead his team out of the dressing room after a game as each player had their own shower time ritual and duration time. In the last few months, he would at times exit with his unforgettable swagger not far behind his teammate fellow rookie Sean Armand as they harmonized on the court. If Cobbs had any idea in the latter part of the season that he might be teammates next season with the New York native Armand in Turkey was most likely not possible, but unfortunately after being the last cut of the Charlotte Hornets in the 2014-2015 season, his path to the NBA seems even more distant now after hardly getting any minutes this summer at the NBA Summer League in Orlando. If Cobbs sensed first that his NBA route might be delayed with his sparse minutes or the acquisition with Jeremy Lin is unknown, but having NCAA champion Kemba Walker and ex Brose Baskets Bamberg point guard Brian Roberts before him must of brought him back down to earth that his NBA way through Charlotte might not be derailed, but blocked. Instead Cobbs most likely will return back to Europe and take the dough as money doesn´t stink for Cobbs, but only the olive Oil will in Turkey. According to reports Cobbs will lace up his sneakers with Turkish team Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) and be teammates with Sean Armand once again.

Justin Cobbs traveled to Orlando for the 2015 Summer League with high expectations, but in the end was deeply disappointed as he didn´t become a central figure in the clubs Summer League offense, but instead had to hang out on the bench seeing others get the minutes while waiting for a legitimate chance that never really progressed. Cobbs came into only three games averaging 1,3ppg and 2,0apg in 13,3mpg. Some may argue that he could of heightened his stats somewhat, because 13,3mpg aren´t 5-6 minutes, but more than double that and with 3-4 shots, he could of averaged at least 4ppg. The biggest problem in the NBA Summer League is that every guy wants to reach the NBA and just shine and have the club become observant of their play and aggressiveness tends to be the key factor for just how successful a player will become while showing his special talent. Other players just seemed to be more aggressive than Cobbs and even in the three games where he did play 13 minutes, he was unable to have that silver dollar performance that would make him stand out from the other guards on the floor. He was on a good way in his first game against Oklahoma with four assists, but after that wasn´t able to build on that as he registered only two more assists, three turnovers and went 1/6 from the field. His mid range game is his big strength, but he was unable to put that into the spotlight. Possibly Cobbs had no chance as he entered into the 2015 Summer League play. As so often is the case a NBA team already know what they want to do, what players to test and keep a watchful eye on while the other guys are only practice players. Perhaps Cobbs was one of those players. The Hornets also seemed to disregard the point guards Justin Cobbs and Aaron Craft while focusing their eye more on Troy Daniels who is more a shooting guard and shot a ridiculous 54% from downtown. Even a 29 year old Jonathan Wallace who balled with NBA standouts like Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert at Georgetown and has had a solid career in Germany surely isn´t expecting an NBA training camp invitation played more than Cobbs averaging 5,5ppg, 1,0rpg and 2,0apg. Another proof that the NBA Summer League can be unpredictable and not only a showcase for the very young players. Cobbs also needs to be realistic and really question himself, is he really that special player or really just a dime a dozen in the world guard pool. No disrespect to Cobbs, but the talent pool of guards at the NBA Summer League is huge. Cobbs is a very good player and showed at the European level that he can play, but when looking at some of the teams in Orlando and what they had to offer, one has to be realistic and truthful that the talent is as fierce as Serena Williams is on the tennis court blowing her opponents off the court like a ugly tsunami. Cobbs not only had unbelievable competition at the guard position with Charlotte, but even if he would get an NBA training camp invitation with another NBA team, he will go up against amazing guards elsewhere. Some of the other talented point guards in Orlando was 2014 German BBL leading scorer Darius Adams who also led the French league in scoring last season before being shipped to Spain and Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, a Ryan Boatright who was 2014 NCAA champion with UCONN and has excellent stats, a Russ Smith who is a borderline NBA player who has had his experience in the D-League, or a Nate Wolters who played 11 games with the Milwaukee Bucks last season and then got shipped to the D-League to Grand Rapids where he put up stellar stats with 15,3ppg, 5,3rpg and 7,2apg. These are all worthy candidates for NBA spots as well as many more, but with way to little roster spots. Then again there are the players that could be a Justin Cobbs clone alone from just the stats. Travis Trice who is a rookie and played at Michigan State and as a senior averaged 15,3ppg, 3,2rpg, 5,1apg, 1,0spg and shot 36% from outside. One could substitute the name of Trice and put Cobbs there and nobody would notice or care as this is near to what Cobbs put up at California as a senior and in the Eurochallange with the Fraport Skyliners. Cobbs just has to realize that he is in a pool with many very good players, but that there are still players above him as stats don´t lie and experience doesn´t either. Sometimes a player is just in the right place at the right time and is that needed part for a certain role for an NBA team. This has happened to lesser talented players than Cobbs as opportunity and luck is something that comes hand in hand. This could happen to Cobbbs down the road, but it might not, but getting further experience in Europe will help his development as he will surely play NBA Summer League down the road.

So the next step for Justin Cobbs is to build off his strong rookie season where he showed determination and never quit despite being the last cut of the Charlotte Hornets and not finding his groove with VEF Riga (Latvia-LBL), but finishing off a very successful rookie season with the Fraport Skyliners. According to reports he will continue his basketball career in Turkey with Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL). It was no secret that if Cobbs didn´t make the NBA in his second professional season that he would return back to Europe, but not to the Fraport Skyliners as he now had good leverage in going elsewhere where he could make more money. Turkey isn´t necessarily the best league in Europe, but an interesting league with very strong Euroleague teams and a league due to its financial resources growing and attracting better players each season. With a team like Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) Cobbs will surely earn 3-4 times more than he did with the Fraport Skyliners. He would join a team with very talented players like ex NBA player Sasha Vujacic who played seven seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers winning two NBA titles and was in the gossip magazines with ex girlfriend tennis ace Marija Scharapowa, or ex NBA player Damir Markota who played with Bamberg, or combo guard Zach Wright who had the distinction of going from the Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig(Pro B) to a Euroleague player and to Panathinaikos Athens. Cobbs won´t have a free ticket here at the point guard position as with Zack Wright the Turkish team has a top player, but the perfect player for Cobbs to learn from. In Frankfurt Cobbs had to perform and led the team as a rookie and couldn´t get those needed tips from a veteran. Now with Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi he will have that opportunity to learn from a Wright, develop his game further and find teammate Sean Armand for more classy “you want buckets, there you go” bombs from the American from Brooklyn New York from the deep corner. It should be a very interesting sophomore season for Cobbs as he will have very experienced and talented teammates, but with more talent his stats might dip, but Cobbs will tell every journalist in Turkey as long as were winning that is most important. Even if Cobbs went for the money, that is the only logical route as the basketball world is a business and every other player would take the same way. With Cobbs now living in Istanbul, he will have more opportunity to get to learn a new fascinating culture in the city that houses 14 million persons while also getting to know the famous Turkish cuisine. The money definitely didn´t stink for Cobbs in Turkey, but the only thing that will will be the olive oil which is the bloodline of Turkish cuisine. In Turkey olive oil is in all and it appears to be 24 hours a day and seven times a week. Before Cobbs knows it, he will smell like a Turk. Even if Cobbs has a problem finding the perfect food that he will desire in Turkey, he can always look up ex Frankfurt Skyliners head coach Murat Didin when he coached for Frankfurt and gave the German Turkish dish Doner a new meaning as it was as common his lunch dish as Germans eat potatoes. Didin would give Cobbs the best tips in town as to what food will be most desirable. Cobbs may smell like a Turk after only a short time, but his game won´t stink on the court, but have that special American aroma.


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