If you are as big of a basketball fan as me, sometimes you like to mix your Big Ten viewership with a little bit of NBA action. From NBA veterans to rookies, it’s always fun to see former Big Ten succeed at the next level. Let’s take a look at how some one-time Big Ten players are performing in the NBA so far this season.
1. Wisconsin’s NBA Players Are Proving Their Worth.
-Jon Leuer (Detroit Pistons)
So far Leuer has been steady for his new team the Detroit Pistons. He’s averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds per game off the bench. Stan Van Gundy signed Leuer this off-season to provide more scoring, shooting and spacing.
Although Leuer has been stable, he’s been disappointing from three-point range, shooting 30 percent. Ideally, Pistons management would like to see Leuer improve from three in order to open up more driving lanes and to create more space for Andre Drummond to operate on the low block.
-Sam Dekker (Houston Rockets)
After sitting out last season because of back surgery, Dekker is a regular off the bench for Houston. Appearing in every game, Dekker is averaging 6 points and 3 rebounds in 18 minutes per game. In his first healthy season, Dekker is surprisingly efficient, shooting 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from three. The former Badger never really found consistency from three during his college career in Madison, but so far this season he’s been reliable from distance for the Rockets.
-Frank Kaminsky (Charlotte Hornets)
In just his second season Kaminsky has been a key cog for the Hornets. Frank “The Tank” is averaging 11 points, 4 rebounds and nearly 3 assists per game. With starting power forward Marvin Williams injured, Kaminsky will need to continue his production as he slides into the starting role until Williams is back.
To provide more spacing and production for the Hornets, Kaminsky needs to be better from three. He’s currently he’s shooting 28 percent. If he can improve that number to closer to 40 percent, the offense will be more difficult to stop because of the Kemba Walker pick-and-roll combination.
-Devin Harris (Dallas Mavericks)
Harris made his season debut against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night. The former Badger point guard went 0-3 from the field and only recorded 1 rebound in 11 minutes. In his second game of the season Harris scored 3 points and had 1 assist in the loss against the Charlotte Hornets.
It’s been a brutal start to the season for the Mavericks. They currently are in last place in the Western Conference with a record of 3-15. Dallas will need Harris to provide scoring off the bench if they want to make any kind of push for the eighth spot in the West.
2. The Memphis Grizzles Have Found Success Within The Big Ten.
-Mike Conley Jr
As of Tuesday, it looks like Conley will be out for six weeks due to a back injury. Tough break for the Grizzles, as Conley is their best player and leading scorer so far this season. The next six weeks could be brutal for Memphis. Hopefully, they can salvage enough wins to remain in playoff contention until their stud point guard is back.
Early on this season Randolph is making a run at sixth man of the year award. The former Michigan State forward is averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds off the bench. With Conley out, Randolph will be asked to do even more. Randolph is only playing 22 minutes per game, and now without Conley Randolph’s minutes will likely increase to as much as the 16-year veteran can handle.
With Chandler Parsons battling a left knee bone bruise Williams has started the last three games. In those games the rookie out of Indiana is averaging 12 points and 3 rebounds. Williams’ breakout performance came on November 26th when he had a career high 18 points in a win over the Miami Heat. Hoosiers fans have to be excited to see Williams making the most of his first NBA opportunity.
The rookie out of Michigan State has played in 16 of 20 games so far this season, but he’s averaging just 8 minutes and 2 points per game. It’s not shocking that Davis hasn’t been a major factor. Memphis is in a win now position with Conley and Marc Gasol in the tail end of their primes.
Now with Conley out multiple weeks, things could go south for the Grizzles and that might open up more minutes for Davis. Unfortunately, because of the situation Memphis is in, I believe Davis will most likely spend the majority of the season on the bench.