Jordan McRae recently spoke on Tennessee Radio about his time playing in Australia and his goal to make it onto an NBA roster this year.
The 24 year old shooting guard played four years for the University of Tennessee and was drafted 58th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Draft. Soon after McRae was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers and given the opportunity to play for their summer league team but was unable to secure a spot for the NBA season.
It was then he was contacted by Melbourne United and soon after found himself in Melbourne in his first professional job.
Whilst McRae personally had a success season in the NBL, Melbourne United had a disappointing year. The team finished the season with a losing record and failed to make the playoffs while McRae put up impressive numbers, averaging 19.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steals in 27 games. His on court brilliance wasn’t unseen by the league who named McRae Player of the Month in December during a stretch where he scored 30 points in back to back wins over Wollongong and Sydney.
McRae, who finished third in the league in scoring, returned to the USA and was taking the court for the Delaware 87ers, the 76ers’ D-League affiliate within a week of the last Melbourne United game of the season.
He had a modest debut for the 87ers the following day, recording 5 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, however his true abilities were shown only a few weeks couple when he recorded career-highs with 39 points and 13 rebounds in a 120-124 overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Blue.
“I just think I’m a lot more efficient than I was,” McRae said about the development in his game since playing in the NBL. “Just like in college, my game gets more mature every year.”
“Going from Australia to the D-league, first couple games, I just had to adjust to the speed and how athletic the guys were,” McRae said.
“It was just an adjustment. It was kind of like being in college again for the first time.”
The fact Jordan McRae wasn’t given a NBA contract last season surprised many, after all this is a guy who looked like quite the steal for the Sixers throughout summer league. In four games McRae averaged 21 points per game and resulted in him being named All-NBA Summer League Second Team.
Looking at the names of players who joined McRae on the second team Tim Hardaway Jr. (Knicks), Rudy Gobert (Jazz), Russ Smith (Pelicans) and T.J. Warren (Suns) it becomes evident that McRae is the only player on that list not be playing in the NBA and shows he is an NBA calibre talent… who just needs to be given a chance”,
“It’s a process. Some things, you have to go through,” McRae said, “Just like in college, I think if I hadn’t of had those bad couple of years like the first year, I wouldn’t be the player that I am today.”
As of now, the 76ers still own McRae’s rights for the next season and will try him out in their Summer League before making their final decision in September. From there McRae hopes he can go one extra step from what he achieved 12 months ago, which would be playing for Philadelphia in October rather than just August in an NBA regular season game.