“Welcome to the NBA” moments are some of the most interesting and funniest topics to talk about, as every NBA player had that moment during their rookie year. No matter how good you were before entering the NBA, nothing can prepare you for the level of intensity and quality this stage brings, as facing superstars or benchwarmers can end up in you getting embarrassed.
Caris LeVert and JJ Redick talked about their “Welcome to the NBA” moments on Redick’s podcast “The Old Man and the Three,” as the pair had two encounters with two complete opposites of the spectrum. LeVert went classic and talked about how starstruck he got playing against the Cavaliers led by LeBron James. At the same time, Redick shared a hilarious story of getting dunked on by Carlos Delfino and realizing there are no bad players in the NBA:
“My welcome to the NBA moment; I check in to a game at Detroit. And this is when they had Sheed, and Rip, and Ben Wallace, and Antonio McDyess. I think Weber might have actually been on that team too. They start s–t talking to me soon as I check into the game. They run an inbounds underneath out-of-bounds play where Rip’s gonna come off a little baseline screen, get the ball, instead they throw it over the top to him under the basket, and he lays it in over me. Next possession, I thought I was doing a good job of being the weak side low man…I got too distracted trying not to get a 3-second, and Carlos Delfino back cut me, and I tried to recover, and he dunked on me. So I always say my welcome to the NBA moment was Carlos Delfino, but it was like one of those things where you are like everybody in this league can play, you can’t hide in this league.”JJ Redick, Old Man and the Three
This play happened back in 2006-2007, which was Redick’s rookie season. The Pistons were still one of the top teams in the East at that time, with a gritty veteran group that was already playing together for years. Delfino was one of the bench players on that team, not getting too many opportunities to play, but when he did, he would ball out.
Younger fans may not remember who Carlos Delfino is, but this Argentinian was a very underrated player in his day. Delfino never really got the opportunity to earn a significant role with a team, but he still played some solid seasons with the Pistons, Bucks, Raptors, and Rockets. The sweet-shooting touch, mixed with some solid athleticism, made him an excellent offensive player, but his talent translated better to international basketball, where he had more success. The point of Redick’s story was: No matter what their role is or how they look, any NBA player will cook you if you underestimate them.