The Big Ten has had a mixed relationship with the NBA in recent years, but with a few strong draft classes in a row, the conference's strength and relevance at the next level is really starting to show up. With the NBA season wrapping up, it seemed like a good time to take a look at the Big Ten players who will be participating in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. There are a bunch of them and many on teams with a real shot to win it all.
For the raw stats, there are 14 Big Ten players on NBA teams headed to the Playoffs. Considering that there are 16 teams in the Playoffs, that isn't too bad for the conference. May not be a math wizard, but that's just short of 1 player per team, which is a pretty solid showing. In reality, these guys are on 9 teams. The NBA team with the most Big Ten players right now are the Memphis Grizzlies with 4 players from the conference. Apparently, Memphis is now Big Ten country (don't tell Memphis).
What's interesting is that those numbers should go up significantly going into next year for two reasons. First, the Big Ten has a very strong draft class for 2014. The conference should expect to see many solid additions in the draft and the kind of additions that are going to stick. The second thing that should boost the Big Ten NBA numbers is thanks to Jim Delany. Maryland has a decent amount of players in the NBA, which will boost the conference numbers when they officially join the Big Ten this summer.
Big Ten players In The 2014 NBA Playoffs:
- Alan Anderson (Michigan State)
- Deron Williams (Illinois)
- D.J. White (Indiana)
- Cody Zeller (Indiana)
- Devin Harris (Wisconsin)
Golden State Warriors
- Draymond Green (Michigan State)
- Evan Turner (Ohio State)
Los Angeles Clippers
- Jamal Crawford (Michigan)
- Mike Conley (Ohio State)
- Kosta Koufos (Ohio State)
- Jon Leuer (Wisconsin)
- Zach Randolph (Michigan State)
- Greg Oden (Ohio State)
Portland Trail Blazers
- Meyers Leonard (Illinois)
A pretty diverse group of players there. Major differences in age, experience, and in the level of contributions. It's also worth noting that there are some members on some NBA title favorites such as Oden on Miami and Crawford on the Clippers. There's definitely a solid chance that somebody from the Big Ten comes home with a ring.
But let's get into the thing everybody wants to know: how does the conference stack up? Which programs have the most NBA talent in the Playoffs? Well, here's your answer:
Big Ten NBA Playoff Participants By School:
- Ohio State - 4
- Michigan State - 3
- Illinois - 2
- Indiana - 2
- Wisconsin - 2
- Michigan - 1