The story of Sam Dekker
Players like Sam Dekker have been crucial to the successes of current table toppers London Lions but, as the 2022/23 season enters the final stetch and gears up for the all-important play offs, the former 18th-overall NBA pick will have to maintain the quality he has displayed this season if the Lions want to go all the way.
The 2015 Draft saw a lot of great talent joining the NBA. Karl Anthony Towns took the prestigious first overall pick, with elite talents like Devin Booker joining the league alongside notable players such as D’Angelo Russell and Kristaps Porzingis. One name that may have gone under the radar was a five-star recruit from the Wisconsin Badgers by the name of Sam Dekker.
Picked 18th overall by the Houston Rockets, Dekker impressed for his first NBA team with some incredible performances. Although he suffered lengthy injuries through the Summer League and the start of the regular season, Dekker would return to score 19 points against the Sacramento Kings in a 132-98 win before smashing his career high with a 30-point performance in a 119-95 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
the Lions and the British Basketball League could be in for a very exciting few weeks
2016/17 would see Dekker play his first play-off games for the Rockets after making 77 regular season appearances, but the following season he would be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. After 73 appearances in LA, Dekker would feature for the Cavaliers, Wizards and Raptors before joining Bahçeşehir Koleji in Turkey. His skills would easily shine in Europe and the former Wisconsin Badger would average 13.1 points and 7.2 rebounds on the way to winning the 21/22 FIBA Europe Cup.
These impressive performances in Europe caught the eye of the Lions who added Dekker alongside other former NBA player Kosta Koufos to their roster. This move has borne fruits of the capital city side who have seen their new signing average 18 points and become one of the league’s most productive and talented players.
Starting the season with 23 points against the Sharks, this has set the tone for a very productive season for the American who has managed to be one of the most consistent scorers in the league. Averaging 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists have also translated to good performances in the Euro Cup. The Lions currently sit seventh in their group after 17 games played, and players like Dekker have been crucial in these big encounters. Although recently suffering defeat to Turk Telekom, Dekker and his teammate Tomislav Zubčic both put up great numbers.
As teams battle towards the big final at the O2 arena, Dekker will need to build on his talent and experience down the final straight. At 28, many players reach the peak of their powers, and if we see Dekker reach the heights of his five-star recruiting ranking, the Lions and the British Basketball League could be in for a very exciting few weeks.