Weighing in at just 210 pounds and standing a mere 6 feet, 3 inches tall, Jose Calderon is one of the smaller basketball players in the NBA.
However, this in no way makes him a less-than-average player. Currently a guard for the Toronto Raptors, Calderon averaged 5.9 assists and 10.3 points per game in the 2009-10 season. He is ranked third in the NBA for number of assists per turnover at an average of 4.8.
This past season also marked his 2000th career point, and he achieved all this in spite of being on the inactive list for a few games. Now, it is clear that he did not start this way. He had quite the road to this level of skill.
Calderon is originally from Villanueva de la Serena, Spain, so his basketball career did not start in the United States. Rather, he began playing in 2000 for the Lucentum Alicante, a team in the Asociación de Clubs de Baloncesto (ACB) or Association of Basketball Clubs. He averaged 8.6 points per game, which is not bad for a rookie, but is obviously not up to par with where he is today.
In the 2002-03 season, we helped the Spanish National Team clinch a silver medal at the European Championships. He averaged a career high of 17.5 points per game.
The next season, he helped his team win the Spanish National Cup. In the 2004-05 season, his team finished second in the Euroleague Final Four.
Calderon did well in the Euroleague, but the Toronto Raptors general manager was able to convince him to sign with the Raptors on August 3, 2005. Though he struggled with shooting during his rookie season, he did rank third amongst rookies for number of assists.
The next season proved to be a much better one for Calderon. He averaged 8.7 points per game and played in 77 games with 11 starts. In 30 of those games, he was able to score points in the double digits and made seven double-doubles.
Calderon’s presence in the NBA and on the Raptors continued to grow from there. In the 2007-08 season he averaged 11.2 points and 8.3 assists per game. He made at least 10 assists in 31 games and made a whopping 25 double-doubles, second only to the Raptors’ Chris Bosh. On January 16th of that year, he nabbed his 1000th career assist.
Calderon is certainly a valuable asset to the Raptors. Though he may not score as much as the other players, he certainly makes up for this in his skill with assists.