At times, a 10-day contract can be an NBA player's way back into regular action.
Whether such players have been waived off by their previous franchise or are free agents, such deals can be a short-term fix for a team and can lead to a long-term contract for the player. That has been the case for several stars in the 2020-21 NBA season as contenders for the playoffs look to bolster their rosters.
On that note, let's take a look at the top five players who were initially signed on a 10-day contract this season before they earned a longer deal with their respective franchise.
5 players who were signed on a 10-day contract in the 2020-21 NBA season before they earned longer deals
Bringing in players on 10-day contracts has proved to be key for two Western Conference contenders this season - the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets.
So without further ado, let's take a look at five such instances this campaign where a player arrived on a 10-day contract and earned a longer deal.
#1 DeMarcus Cousins
The LA Clippers made two midseason acquisitions that are proving to be shrewd moves by their front office. Rajon Rondo was brought in to replace Lou Williams, while DeMarcus Cousins was signed on a 10-day contract, which soon turned into a longer deal for the rest of the campaign.
Cousins was let go by the Houston Rockets back in February before the LA Clippers brought in the former All-Star to add more depth in the paint. In ten games, the 30-year-old has averaged 8.2 points and five rebounds in only 13 minutes per matchup, doing so on 50% shooting from the field.
In his continued pursuit of becoming a regular starter after being plagued by injuries, Cousins has had to prove how efficient he can be with his time on the floor. Expanding to an analysis of his output per 36 minutes, Cousins has averaged 22.5 points and 13.7 rebounds per game.
He already has NBA Finals experience and could be a different option for Ty Lue off the bench should the coach require a more offensively-minded big. In his brief stint with the Clippers so far, Cousins has had four games with double-digit points, including two double-doubles.
#2 Austin Rivers
With Jamal Murray suffering a season-ending torn ACL in a backcourt depleted by injuries, the Denver Nuggets had to scramble to find an available guard. In came journeyman shooter Austin Rivers on a 10-day contract, who quickly earned a season-long contract.
Rivers hasn't been particularly effective since arriving at the Nuggets, scoring 5.4 points and grabbing 2.8 assists in 25.8 minutes per game. However, the Nuggets have shown a lot of faith in his offensive ability and hope that his shooting accuracy improves from the 33% he has tallied this NBA season.
However, they may not even have to rely on Rivers too much, as they have in Nikola Jokic, one of the most creative centers the NBA has ever seen.
#3 Freddie Gillespie
Freddie Gillespie has seized his opportunity after arriving on a 10-day contract at the Toronto Raptors. Along with fellow newcomer Khem Birch, Gillespie has helped address the Raptors' frontcourt troubles. In 13 games, the 6' 9" forward has averaged 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 15.8 minutes.
After going unselected in the 2020 NBA draft, Gillespie impressed with the Memphis Hustle in the G-League bubble. He averaged a double-double in every matchup and registered 2.3 blocks per game.
The Raptors know a thing or two about the success that can come from a determined, undrafted player. One only needs to have a look at what Fred VanVleet has gone on to achieve in Toronto after the franchise gave him a chance in their G-League affiliate.
The Raptors will now hope that Gillespie, who recently signed a two-year deal, can prove just as effective in the NBA.
#4 Alize Johnson
Still reeling from the retirement of LaMarcus Aldridge, Brooklyn Nets fans will have taken some solace from the impressive displays of forward Alize Johnson. After signing two 10-day contracts, the 25-year-old completed a multi-year deal with the franchise after proving his worth in a star-studded roster.
Johnson joined the Brooklyn Nets towards the end of March and instantly impressed coach Steve Nash. On his debut, he grabbed an NBA career-high 23 points and 15 boards against the Utah Jazz. Although he has been a bit-part player in the Nets rotation since then, Johnson has shown his effective rebounding ability and has been extremely efficient with his minutes in the 2020-21 NBA.
In the Nets' win against the Indiana Pacers last week, Johnson erupted for 20 points and 21 rebounds off the bench. He followed that up with 12 rebounds against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.
Although Nash may not have faith in Johnson to play significant minutes in the NBA playoffs, the latter could certainly be a reliable rebounder should the Brooklyn Nets face injury issues.
#5 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
The Portland Trail Blazers announced last week that they would sign power forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson till the end of the 2020-21 NBA season after two 10-day contracts. Jefferson, who would be another defensive-minded forward in the Portland Trail Blazers' frontcourt, has a career defensive box +/- of 0.9.
During his stints with the Brooklyn Nets and the Toronto Raptors, Hollis-Jefferson was a regular starter and shot the ball at over 44% from the field. If the Portland Trail-Blazers make a deep playoff run, they will need all the roster depth they can muster.
Averaging 10.8 minutes off the bench so far, the 26-year-old Hollis-Jefferson has put up 2.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds per matchup.