Believe it or not, but PF Jarvis Varnado is the second oldest player on the team at 26 years old. But while he may be the second oldest, he is certainly not the second most experienced. After being drafted in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Heat, which coincidentally was the same draft that James Anderson and Elliot Williams were drafted, he immediately went to play in Italy while the Heat retained his rights. After bouncing around the D-League and playing through a slew of 10-day contracts, he ended up with the Sixers. After one 10-day contract with Philly, he signed for the rest of the season.
Varnado played mostly in a reserve role, but appeared in 23 games for the Sixers, clearly proving enough to them to deserve a permanent roster spot. He finished the season averaging 4.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 1.3 BPG. Known specifically for his shot-blocking skills, Varnado carved out a spot on the roster for himself with that ability, something the Sixers didn’t do very much of this past season. His presence in the paint was a whole new thing for opponents to worry about. And in addition, he could also score and rebound a bit when needed.
His shooting percentage was fabulous, finishing with a 60% clip for the year. Unfortunately, he was much better in FG situations than he was from the line, where he struggled greatly. His very strange form, which was criticized by many, will need a lot of work if he wants to keep his place on the roster for the future. Sure, he makes a FT once in a while, but only about half of the time. A lot of big men struggle from the line, but Varnado would be smart to at least work on his form so that it’s not so apparent at what he’s doing wrong. It’s not like he just hits the rim, he misses worse than I would. And I am horrible at basketball.
Regardless, I see a lot of promise in Varnado’s game. He is still young in terms of basketball experience and will continue to grow if he keeps getting minutes, even in a limited amount like he has. He is very capable of having good games. In the Sixers’ win against the Pistons that broke their record losing streak, Varnado had 9 points, 3 rebounds, and an astounding 6 blocks. Yes, he managed to get 6 blocks in just 21 minutes. That’s insane. He then had 5 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the next game in the same amount of minutes. He may not play that much, but he makes good use of his minutes and works harder than many of the Sixers have been recently.
As you can probably tell, I’m a fan of Varnado. The Sixers tried out a lot of guys at 10 day contracts, and Varnado was clearly the best of the group. As a reward, he was offered a real contract, which includes a team option for the next three years. I think they’d be dumb to get rid of him now, but of course, it’s up to them to decide. I think Varnado could easily be the backup PF for them if they release Byron Mullens, Brandon Davies, and Arnett Moultrie like I’m expecting/hoping. If not, then at least keep him on the roster.
Verdict: pick up team option and use as backup PF