Darrell Moody: Hopefully, Cam’s dream rockets forward | NevadaAppeal.com

Darrell Moody: Hopefully, Cam’s dream rockets forward

Darrell Moody
Nevada's Cameron Oliver (0) dunks as Iowa State's Deonte Burton (30) watches during the first half of an NCAA college basketball tournament first-round game Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Cameron Oliver’s NBA dream took a little bit of a hit when the 6-foot-8 Nevada sophomore forward went undrafted Thursday night.

Eleven mock drafts that were posted on the Internet had Oliver going anywhere from 37th to 58th. Most had Oliver going somewhere in the mid-40s, so it was a safe assumption he was going to hear his name called in Brooklyn. Oliver, his girlfriend, and his infant son, King, and his agent were in the arena on Thursday.

All was not lost, however, as Oliver has signed as a free agent with the Houston Rockets. The contract, according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, is for multiple years.

Certainly Oliver’s deal monetarily won’t be as high as if he had been drafted nor is it guaranteed, but he’s getting an opportunity, and that’s all he ever really wanted.

A couple of things are working in his favor — expanded rosters and the fact Houston had just one draft pick after drafting Dillon Brooks at 45 and then sending him to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Isaiah Hartenstein, a 7-footer from Germany, went to Houston with the 43rd pick, and he will play power forward most likely. Some foreign players stay overseas and further develop their skills.

All NBA teams can carry up to 15 players, which means if you’re on the end of the bench you might spend some time in the G League (formerly the D League) at various times in the season. The Sacramento Kings shuttled players between Reno and Sacramento all throughout the season.

The NBA Summer League in Las Vegas starts on July 7, and Oliver will play for the Rockets’ squad. Hopefully he’ll get invited to the team’s training camp.

Oliver is a solid 3-point shooter, and if you know anything about the Rockets, you know they like to shoot the 3-ball, and they do it well.

Personally, I was against Oliver coming out. I thought he needed another year with coach Eric Musselman, whose strength is player development.

I talked to a couple of NBA scouts during the season, and both said they noticed Oliver wasn’t always engaged. Maybe you can get away with that in college, but if that happens in the pros you will either be unemployed or sitting at the end of the bench.

I agree with that assessment. There were games where he was non existent, and there were games like the regular-season finale against Colorado State where he was an absolute stud.

Cam needs to bring it each and every game; needs to bring consistent effort. Sometimes the numbers won’t be there, but the effort always should be evident. You can never have a guy who’s considered your best player to have a limited impact on the game. That’s never a good thing.

I’m also biased. I think if Oliver had returned, and with what Nevada has coming back, I think the Pack could have been a preseason Top-25 team. Enough voters may still like Nevada a lot anyway.

There’s some talent there with Jordan Caroline and Lindsey Drew returning. Caroline was Nevada’s best and most consistent player.

I think much of Nevada’s success will hinge on how Elijah Foster performs after being suspended last year following a domestic battery charge that was later dismissed. Cody and Caleb Martin, transfers from North Carolina State, are eligible this year along with former Purdue player Kendall Stephens. Don’t forget about Josh Hall, who showed flashes of brilliance.

It will be interesting to see how things play out this year.

New Mexico and San Diego State have new coaches as Craig Neal was fired and Steve Fisher retired. I would think Nevada would be top-3 in the MW, but I’m not sure if the Pack will be favored without Oliver. The team also lost two good 3-point shooters in Marcus Marshall and D.J. Fenner.