No. 7: Georges Niang
This past summer the Cleveland Cavaliers, prioritizing shooting in free agency, signed stretch-forward Georges Niang to a multi-year contract. Niang has established himself as a willing gunner from outside, and despite his athleticism limitations his hustle and strength help him to survive defensively.
Niang has been a beloved teammate wherever he has played, and while he’s not an elite athlete (one of his nicknames is the “Minivan” to contrast him with the sports cars he plays with) his shot has not only kept him around the league but made him a coveted player in free agency. “Bang Bang Niang” has played important minutes for the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers over the years.
There was a moment in his career where things seemed less certain, however. After a shaky rookie season with the Indiana Pacers, Niang was waived in July of 2017. He signed with the Golden State Warriors to compete for a roster spot in training camp, but the contending Warriors didn’t ultimately have a spot for him and cut him before the start of the season.
Niang wouldn’t catch on with another team at first, playing 26 games for the Santa Cruz Warriors before the Utah Jazz signed him to a two-way contract. From there he would earn his way onto a full deal and eventually into the hearts of Jazz fans.