Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft concluded at the Barclays Center, C.J. Massinburg discovered his first NBA home. Coincidentally, that exact building houses the franchise that signed Massinburg on Friday evening.
The Brooklyn Nets added the former Buffalo Bulls shooting guard to their NBA Summer League roster. In college, Massinburg was instrumental in elevating Buffalo’s program to new heights. During his junior and senior seasons, Massinburg propelled the Bulls past Arizona and Arizona State in the first rounds of the NCAA Tournament, securing Buffalo’s first and second-ever March Madness wins.
Massinburg, a 3-point marksman, averaged 15.3 points per game throughout his college career, increasing his scoring average each year until peaking at 18.2 as a senior. He was the 2018-19 MAC Player of the Year for his efforts and landed a spot on the conference’s First Team in both 2018 and 2019.
For a 6’3” shooting guard, he was an outstanding rebounder, hauling in 7.3 boards per game as a junior and 6.5 as a senior. Additionally, he averaged more than one steal per game in three of his four years on campus.
Massinburg made a lot his money from beyond the arc. He shot above the 40% clip in 2017-18 and shot 39.9% in his final season with the Bulls. In college, he actually attempted more threes (708) than twos (678), shooting nearly seven threes per game toward the end of his career. A remarkable spot-up shooter, Massinburg is quite consistent at the free throw line as well, topping out as a 78% shooter his senior year. In his March Madness wins over Arizona and Arizona State, Massinburg made 9-of-16 threes, shining on college basketball’s grandest stage.
The Nets will not participate in the Utah Jazz Summer League. Instead, their Summer League tips off July 5 against the Dallas Mavericks in Las Vegas. Three additional games are scheduled on July 7, 8, and 10 before the tournament bracket is set. Massinburg will be joined by Nets draft picks Nic Claxton and Jaylen Hands, and possibly, the Nets’ 2018-19 rookies Jarrett Allen and Rodions Kurucs.
Following Summer League, the Nets can add Massinburg to their preseason roster, which will be cut down to a 15 players plus a pair of 2-way players in mid-October. Brooklyn has its own G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, which may be one of Massinburg’s stops if the Nets elect to keep him within the organization.
An undrafted player with a similar play-style to that of Massinburg is Toronto Raptors’ shooting guard Fred VanVleet. Before tearing up the 2019 NBA Finals from long range and actually receiving one Finals MVP vote, VanVleet was added to the Raptors Summer League roster as an undrafted free agent. He spent plenty of time in the G League (formerly known as the NBA D-League) as a rookie before becoming the Raptors’ primary sixth man in 2017-18. After being snubbed of a draft selection, this is the route Massinburg should hope to emulate for longterm NBA success.
No Buffalo player has ever logged a minute in NBA action, but Massinburg, as well as his college teammate Nick Perkins (Lakers Summer League), has already come one step closer to doing so.