The journey thus far for Jarvis Varnado in professional basketball has been chaotic to say the least. Varnado was the 41st pick in the 2010 NBA draft by the Miami Heat, but since then, he has been all over the place.
He played overseas for several seasons which included time in two different Italian leagues as well as an Israeli league. After his time in Europe, he came back to America where he joined the Boston Celtics in 2012.
However, his stay with Boston was not long as he was only there for about two weeks and was waived. Then this past year, he rejoined the Heat as he signed a 10-day contract and would eventually stay with them for the remainder of the season.
Varnado hardly played on the Heat but was along for the ride on their run to become NBA Champions. Despite the journey for Varnado, he found himself as a part of a winning team and was able to capture his first ever championship ring.
At the start of this season, he was let go by the Heat and would later head to the NBA’s Development League. As a member of the Iowa Energy, Varnado thrived as he averaged 14.1 points, 11 rebounds, and 4.7 blocks a game.
In late February, Varnado left the D-League and signed a 10-day contract with the Chicago Bulls. He did not play at all in Chicago and again found himself looking for somewhere to play after the Bulls held off on giving him a second 10-day contract.
This past weekend, the journey continued for Varnado as the Philadelphia 76ers signed him to another 10-day contract. Varnado has only another five days on this contract, but so far, the Sixers coaching staff has to be impressed with him.
His first game with the Sixers was this past Saturday against the Washington Wizards where he only played three minutes. The next night the team traveled to Orlando where he played a solid portion of the game and put up some decent numbers.
In his first real action with the Sixers, he played 15 minutes in Orlando and it was only his second day with the team. In this game, he had two points with three rebounds and three blocked shots.
In the Sixers last game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, his minutes increased again. In 18 minutes of action, Varnado had six points to go along with six rebounds.
After these three games, it is hard to tell what Varnado can bring to the Sixers due to the small sample size they have been given. However, his play so far with the Sixers is something that should be evaluated carefully.
Players who are given 10-day contracts typically do not stay around for long. In fact, the majority of them rarely get in to the game.
As for Varnado, he appears to have skills that could help this Sixers squad. Based off of his numbers in the D-League, he clearly has ability and certainly would embrace any opportunity given to him.
One particular aspect of his game that can help the Sixers is on the defensive end. He stands at six feet nine inches, but blocked shots appear to be a big part of his game.
The Sixers rank towards the bottom of the league averaging only 4 blocks a game. They have not had a shot blocking presence all year long, which is something Varnado can help provide.
Playing in the D-League and the NBA is completely different, so it is hard to evaluate a player based on the success he had at the lower level. However, at this point in the season, the Sixers have nothing to lose so expect Varnado to continue to get more minutes.
Also, as a part of the Miami Heat last season, this could potentially help all of the younger guys in the Sixers locker room. Varnado has seen how players like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade prepare for big games on a daily basis, which is something he can help share with his teammates in Phildelphia.
At this point, it is difficult to say whether or not Varnado can be a big factor on the Sixers team. He very well may not be given a second 10-day contract and would have to go somewhere else.
While he is here, his presence down low is something that should help this team. It will be interesting to see the direction the Sixers head in regarding Varnado’s future status.
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