Mar 9, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats power forward Eduardo Najera (21) shoots the ball against the New Jersey Nets during the second half at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Nets defeated the Bobcats 83-74 Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
Najera, 36, had 12 total years of NBA experience under his belt, spending his last two in Charlotte after being traded to the Bobcats in the infamous Tyson Chandler trade that returned wayward son Matt Carroll and Erick Dampier in exchange for the future DPoY and Alexis Ajinca. Unfortunately, he spent much of the end of his final season mending from a very scary skull fracture. Thankfully, he has recovered well.
At times, he frustrated fans immensely with his occasion absurd confidence in his own range. But that might have caused some of us to overlook his solid fundamentals in setting screens and being an aggressive defender (yes, sometimes too much so) despite clear disadvantages athletically. Najera was a very intriguing player with a very intriguing history. In particular, my interest is always piqued by the 135-attempt jump in his three-point shots between the 06-07 and the 07-08 season. And even though he wasn't the quickest nor could he jump the highest, he gave more effort than most on the court. Yes, that doesn't mean too much when your team was as bad as the Bobcats the last couple years, but taking the highest effort for granted would be a mistake. On a young team, that consistent effort, experience and veteran presence was sorely needed.
Najera was also the first Mexican-born NBA player to be drafted and will soon become the first one to be a head coach in the D-League. Maybe I'm assuming here, but it can't be much of a stretch to see that he had a lot of pride in himself and possibly in representing his home country in such a way.
Best of luck to Najera in Texas with his new team. He will be sorely missed on a team whose oldest starter is 24 (Henderson). This also leaves the Bobcats with a need for a veteran power forward.
Anyway, best of luck in Texas for the most dapper basketball player in recent memory. Eduardo Najera is certainly a player I'll miss.