It has been a good year for former Kentucky Wildcats star DeAndre Liggins.
After finishing another strong season in the NBA Developmental League, earning his second Defensive Player of the Year award, Liggins won the USA Basketball 3x3 national championship. He also had a strong showing with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ summer league team and eventually signed a multi-year contract with the defending NBA champs.
Even with the contract, Liggins had no guarantee of making the team, but after a long battle with several veterans, Liggins has made Cleveland’s final roster, according to ESPN reporter Chris Haynes.
Cleveland Cavaliers to waive veteran Dahntay Jones, league sources inform ESPN. DeAndre Liggins makes the squad.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 24, 2016
Liggins had to beat out long-time vet Dahntay Jones to earn a spot, and he did so thanks to his defensive prowess and balanced offensive skill set.
The 6-6 guard picked up with the Cavaliers in the summer league and averaged 5.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He the played well enough in the preseason to earn a spot on the final team.
Liggins was the D-League Defensive Player of the Year on two separate occasions (2014 and 2016), both coming after career with the OKC Thunder run was derailed by domestic violence charges in 2013.
Since then, Liggins has been forced to watch from the D-League as NBA teams continuous passed on him. He got a 15-day stint with the Miami Heat in 2014, but spent the rest of the time waiting for his shot in the D-League.
Liggins’ perimeter defense is an obvious need for the Cavaliers, who open their season on October 25 as they host the New York Knicks at 8:00 p.m.
Before his pro career, Liggins played three seasons at UK, scoring 576 total points along with 297 rebounds, 211 assists and 90 steals. He averaged 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds during the 2010-11 season that ended in a Final Four berth, the program’s first since 1998.