ESPN Insider John Hollinger used his PER Diem column today to list his "All-2012 Team," which includes players whose performances this season indicate "potentially greater productivity a year from now." In what's been a bleak season for Cleveland Cavaliers fans, Christian Eyenga's appearance on this list offers hope for the future.
Holllinger says the 21-year-old rookie has played well enough this season, averaging 8 points, 3.3. rebounds, and 1.7 combined steals and blocks in 26 games. Where Eyenga will make the biggest difference in his sophomore season, Hollinger says, is the defensive end:
While his offensive game is a work in progress, his quickness and elevation defensively put him in stark contrast to most of his teammates. Eyenga's dunks get the attention right now, but it's his defensive potential that bodes best for his future.
If Eyenga learns to harness his considerable athleticism--he's not nicknamed "Skyenga" for nothing--he can become an impact player defensively, while still contributing a few points here and there. Eyenga doesn't have the look of a go-to offensive weapon just yet, but his defense will keep him on the floor in the years to come. Best of all, the Cavaliers have him on a cheap, rookie-scale contract, owing him just over $1 million next season and holding team options on the two years after that, according to ShamSports.