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Where Are They Now: Ryan Gomes

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The "where are they now" series treks on with a look at old friend Ryan Gomes. Gomes left the Clippers four years ago, and this is what he has been up to since.

Harry How/Getty Images

Clippers Career: Ryan Gomes, unlike the players previously covered in this series, was not a little-used prospect buried on the bench. He was, in fact, a free agent that the Clippers shelled out real money for (at least back in 2010), signing a 3 year, 12 million dollar deal. Gomes was brought over to be the starting small forward on a young Clippers team that needed a veteran presence. Unfortunately, Ryan's shooting dropped off enormously from his previous two seasons in Minnesota, and many Clippers fans did not feel fondly towards him. Ryan's confidence completely vanished in the 2011-2012 season, and he became virtually unplayable in the NBA. In light of this, the Clippers used their amnesty clause on him on July 17, 2012, waiving him.

2012-2013: Ryan signed with the Artland Dragons of Germany's Basketball Bundesliga, a solid mid-tier European league. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any stats from that season, but according to the team website he "came and went" (http://www.artland-dragons.de/de/team/geschichte.html) without making too much an impact. Artland finished a respectable 6th, and made it to the quarterfinals of playoff play.

2013-2014: Ryan came back to the States, and very fortunately was able to return to the NBA. He joined the Oklahoma City Thunder in August, and remained with them until January, when he was traded to the Celtics as part of a larger transaction. Ryan only appeared in 5 games for the Thunder, playing a total of 34 minutes. Brought in more for his locker room presence than anything else, this was Gomes' last stint in the NBA.

2014-2015: Ryan moved back to Europe, signing with Laboral Kutxa of the Spanish ACB League. Weirdly, he played only one game with them before "parting ways", apparently mutually. Even more curiously, he didn't sign with another basketball team for a year and a half.

2015-2016: In January of 2016, Gomes returned to Los Angeles—he was signed by the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League. Still only 33, Ryan proved he had a lot left in the tank, averaging 18.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game, and regained his shooting by hitting 37% of his three point shots. Ryan rallied the D-Fenders, leading them to the D-League Finals, but lost 2-1 to the Sioux Skyforce. For his achievements, Ryan won the D-League Impact Player of the Year (awarded to the most valuable mid-season acquisition), and was placed on the All-NBA D-League 3rd Team. He was truly terrific, and definitely could have continued his playing career. However.....

The Future: ... Ryan signed a contract in July to be an assistant coach for the Long Island Nets, a brand new D-League team. Long lauded for his smarts, basketball IQ, and good natured personality, Gomes seemed like a natural choice to eventually become a coach, and he has finally done so. It will be interesting to see how he performs, but by all accounts he should rise through the ranks fairly rapidly. Somewhere down the line there is even the chance he could return to the Clippers in some capacity.

An aside: While Ryan had a very successful basketball career all things considered, it's a little unfortunate that he didn't come into the NBA in 2015 or even 2010. At 6'7 and 250 pounds, with decent outside shooting capability, solid passing, and average-ish athleticism, Gomes would have been a terrific small ball power forward. Instead of being seen as a tweener who was too small for a big man and too slow for the wing, he would have slotted in perfectly as a floor spacer who could defend multiple positions. He probably wouldn't have been Draymond Green, but there is little doubt that he would have had a longer and perhaps more productive NBA career if he had arrived just a tad later.