Remembering No.9, Nick Van Exel

Posted by By at 5 May, at 18 : 33 PM Print

Remembering No.9, Nick Van Exel

He was pre-Kobe with the Lakers but Nick Van Exel was the first of many cocky, arrogant combo guards that would shoot-first, pass-later and shouldn’t be forgotten when many current players share similarities with ‘Nick the Quick’. Van Exel was drafted by the Lakers in 1993 out of Cincinnati and was a starter with Eddie Jones in the Lakers┬áback court. Van Exel’s game was strictly for the highlight reel and he certainly created his share nightly. He was an excellent ball-handler and a clutch shooter. Of his career averages as listed by the website basketball-reference.com, Van Exel’s career averages were as follows:

  • 14.4 ppg, 6.6 apg,
  • .794 FT%, 2.1 Turpg (3 to 1 ast/to ratio),
  • .357 3 pt, .405 FG%

Very good numbers over a thirteen year career. But many players will remember Nick for his off-the-court character. In an ESPN documentary, ‘Unguarded’ the story of Chris Herren, Van Exel and Antonio McDyess held the drug-addicted Herren to account during his time with the Denver Nuggets. Van Exel and McDyess offered Herren structure in his life that allowed him to be drug free during his stay with Denver. After his retirement from basketball, Van Exel took a job at Texas Southern University as an assistant coach in 2009, then left in 2011 to the Atlanta Hawks to become their player development instructor. Its great to see when players end up well and not in financial troubles or as goofy analysts (entertainment value) on basketball telecasts.

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