Linas Kleiza, NBA to Greece and Back
By: Stephen Brotherston Last Updated: 8/13/10 11:37 AM ET | 3330 times read
When All-Star Carmelo Anthony's former back-up returned from Greece this summer, he joined the team he wanted to play for when he left the Denver Nuggets at the end of his rookie contract in 2009.
But at that time, the Toronto Raptors were in no position to compete with the lucrative financial offer from Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus.
There is nothing like a little financial crisis to entice former NBA players into grabbing their first opportunity at signing a new contract back on this side of the pond. Greece just doesn't look as good to players who have a choice this season.
But just like other NBA players who have sought opportunities outside of North America, this European adventure was good for Linas Kleiza.
At 6' 8" 245lbs, Kleiza has the size to play both forward positions, but it's his size that gives him a distinct advantage in the NBA at small forward as the specialty statistics at 82games.com indicate. In 2008-09, Kleiza was plus 43 points with a PER of 16.4 at small forward and minus 24 points with a PER of 14.0 at power forward for Denver. On a 48 minute basis, Kleiza dominated at small forward outscoring his opponent by 1.8 points and out rebounding them by 1.8 boards. But at power forward, the numbers are almost the reverse.