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Older NBA Rookies: Datome & Christmas

The Suns signed Dionte Christmas this year after former Celtics assistant general manager Ryan McDonough became the Suns GM earlier this summer. Christmas has been playing professionally overseas for a number of years after going undrafted out of Temple in 2009.

The 26-year-old was one of the last cuts during the Celtics' training camp last fall, and Jessica Camerato spoke with him for about how his connection with McDonough helped him choose Phoenix after he'd received numerous NBA camp offers and overseas deals.

"I think (my relationship with McDonough) played a big role because he knows what type of guy I am," Christmas told her by phone on Friday. "He knows that I work hard. I come in every day, I'm going to give it 110 percent."

Another rookie who has been playing professionally for a number of years before moving to the NBA this summer is Italian import Luigi "Gigi" Datome who signed a two-year, $3.5MM deal with the Pistons in June.

Datome spoke with Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype about what he's expecting during his first season outside Italy. When asked which current player he would compare himself too, Datome mentioned the Heat's Shane Battier in terms of his shooting and all-around contributions to make the team better.  

With the Pistons signing unrestricted free agent Josh Smith this summer to team with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in their front court, a shooter like Datome will be valuable. Gigi shot 51.5 percent from the floor with Virtus Roma last year and nearly 40 percent from three-point territory when he was named Italian League MVP.

Gigi's marksmanship will help space the floor when the 6'8" shooter replaces Monroe or Smith at either forward spot. Smith, Drummond and Monroe will be drawing the majority of their opponents' attention toward a crowded paint, and none of the three possess much accuracy outside of ten feet, so Datome's accuracy behind the arc should open up driving lanes for another new Pistons acquisition this summer, Brandon Jennings.

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