With Dominique Jones back with the Dallas Mavericks, Forward Joe Alexander is the top-rated prospect for the Texas Legends. Going in to Friday's game with the D-League affiliate in Frisco, Alexander, the first ever Taiwanese-born NBA player, has averaged 19.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 43 minutes/game. The forward has been an effective shooter as he has shot 47.8% from the field over the season. In the NBADL, Alexander ranks 6th overall in scoring and 1st in rebounds. Over his previous three games before Friday's match-up, Alexander averaged 25.6 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3 assists in 45 minutes/game worth of action while shooting 48.2% from the field.
The former Mountaineer was the 8th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He spent time with the Bucks, Bulls and Hornets before making his second stint in the D-League with the Legends. The forward hasn't been able to find a situation that allows him to stick in the league.
With his overall versatility and size, Alexander believes that he is a combo-forward. "I am an athletic, versatile power forward that can spread defenses," Alexander said. "I can hit pick-and-pop shots, run the floor, man up against small forwards and outwork bigger power forwards." In the Legends' game against the Springfield Armor, Alexander scored 19 points on 8-14 shooting. He also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 6 assists in just 3 quarters of action in the 123-93 Legends victory.
Over the course of the game, Alexander showed a fluid and confident jump shot with extended range. The shot can extend to three point range but his comfort zone hovers just a little inside the arc. The forward can work either inside or outside. He is comfortable posting up on players and using his strength and first step to get to the rim and finish with authority. He is a capable help defender as he'll stay between his man and the ball while looking to help his teammate when he can. Overall, it was a solid all-around game for Alexander.
The stint with the Legends has proved to be a very enjoyable and valuable learning experience for Alexander. "I have learned a ton. Everyday, we come in and work hard and I come in and just try to get better," Alexander said. "On top of just solidifying my love for this game and my love for getting better, I've just continued to learn the X's and O's and continue understanding the game."
With 13 games under his belt, Alexander has recorded 8 double-doubles. Over the season, here are his season high numbers:
Points - 31
Rebounds - 16
Assists - 6
Steals - 3
Blocks - 4
Despite the success, Alexander continues to fight an uphill battle to get in the league as he battles through stigmas that have been created due to his athleticism. "What is the biggest misconception about me? It's that I am just some big stiff who cannot play ball but is super athletic but other than that is not skilled and to me, that is a crying shame," said Alexander. "I've spent my whole life working on my skills and I'm far from being just an athletic freak trying to play basketball."
This coming week creates the opportunity for NBA teams to sign players to 10-day contracts and that could allow the versatile forward back in the association. "I'm excited to try to get back into the NBA again, hopefully that will happen one day," the forward said. "For now, I'm just looking forward to the next and practice next week." The way Alexander is playing, he will be practicing its just a matter of what team he will be practicing for.