The PBA is known as a professional basketball league for incorporating imported talent to bolster the local teams’ performance. Plenty of great ballers worldwide made their mark as beloved icons in the Philippines through the premier Filipino pro league.
Wayne Selden Jr. is the latest import who will try to make his mark in the Filipino game. He joins an NLEX Road Warriors team that wants to improve their performance in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
However, NLEX fans and OKBET players aware of the situation know that he’s not the PBA franchise’s first-choice option. They already had another player making great contributions for the team, but off-court issues forced them to get Selden as his replacement.
This piece will examine what happened during the NLEX fiasco that led to Selden’s arrival and his collegiate and professional experience before entering the PBA. We’ll also look into some of the best imports the league ever saw to see if he has the potential to make a lasting mark in Philippine basketball.
A Miss That Led to Selden’s Arrival
The Road Warriors were looking for another import to bolster their team after falling short in the Commissioner’s Cup. Former Cleveland Cavalier Earl Clark was great with his 32.3 PPG, 15.9 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 2.4 BPG. However, they decided to take a different direction for the Governor’s Cup.
The player they were supposed to get was former San Antonio Spurs guard Jonathon Simmons. The former NBA player, who also suited up for the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers, would have been one of the marquee players for a PBA fanbase that is also closely watching the NBA.
The Road Warriors announced Simmons would be playing for them the entire conference. In fact, he already showcased how great of a player he is in his short stint with the team. Simmons was unstoppable as he sank 45 points over TNT on February 1.
However, it didn’t take long for Simmon’s NLEX chapter to end. It was reported that Simmons would return to the CBA after failing to get released from the Shanxi Loongs. However, NLEX head coach Frankie Lim revealed that the former Spurs guard got a more lucrative offer to return to China.
Regardless of the reason, they are now without a rookie in a competitive Commissioner’s Conference. They need to find another import who can help them secure a playoff berth.
In Comes Wayne Selden
NLEX fans who aren’t sure who Wayne Selden Jr. is will be assured they’ll get a quality player.
Selden is a 28-year-old swingman who played three years of college for Kansas in the Big 12. During his three-year stint with the Jayhawks, he averaged 14.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. His final year in Lawrence, KS saw him net 18.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.
Selden was undrafted in the 2016 Draft but immediately found opportunities to play in the NBA. During his rookie campaign, he played for the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies. He averaged 5.1 points in 17 minutes a night.
He bounced around in the league, playing for the Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls from 2017 until 2019. It took a while before his NBA return when the New York Knicks signed him on for their 2021/22 roster. However, he was cut from the team to make way for Denzel Valentine.
He netted 7.2 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists a game in his four NBA seasons. After his NBA journey, he traversed the professional basketball scene. He played for teams in Israel and Turkey before reaching Manila.
Wayne Selden vs the League’s Most Memorable Imports
While there’s no question about Selden’s talent, it remains to be seen if he can match or eclipse what Jonathon Simmons has done in the league.
Moreover, NLEX fans will stack him up against some of the most memorable imports the PBA has ever seen. Some of these imports have left lasting marks on the Filipino game and how we play basketball as a whole.
One of the biggest players Selden will be compared against is Bobby Parks, Sr. The father of former NU standout Bobby Ray Jr., Parks was the biggest star among the PBA imports that came into the league in the nineties. He was a consummate professional who eventually became the namesake of the Best Import Award.
Norman Black is known to every Filipino hoops fan as a terrific head coach who led the Ateneo Blue Eagles, TNT, and Meralco. He was a hard-working import who endeared himself to fans in the eighties. His combination of talent, skills, and attitude helped him win plenty of plaudits throughout his PBA career.
Finally, fans will compare Selden to Justin Brownlee. While Brownlee didn’t make the NBA, he became a beloved figure among Ginebra fans for his great play. He’s a consistent double-double machine who can impose his will whenever he wants.
These three all-time imports set a high standard of what Selden can become.
Will Wayne Selden Succeed in the PBA?
Everyone who watched Wayne Selden’s highlights and looked up his stats knows he can succeed in the PBA. However, individual success doesn’t necessarily translate to wins for NLEX.
They have a tough road ahead of the Governor’s Conference crown. Ginebra is still as strong as ever. San Miguel will be looking to redeem their semi-final exit. Rain or Shine, TNT, and Meralco are also looking to win this conference.
A lot will be expected of Selden when he comes in to replace him. Fans will be expecting him to perform at the same level as Simmons.
The player he’s replacing is confident that Wayne Selden will be able to perform well for the Road Warriors. In his interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, he said he’ll be talking to Selden to help him acclimate to his new team immediately.
With everything set up for him to succeed, all Selden needs to do is wear his sneakers and put on a show.
Read more: The Best Love Stories for Sports Fans