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Ranking Every Big Ten Alum in the NBA & NBADL: The Starters

With the draft just taking place, let’s take a look at the former Big Ten stars who are already in the promised land or are aspiring to get there.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the draft just taking place, let’s take a look at the former Big Ten stars who are already in the promised land or are aspiring to get there. Here are the 55 Big Ten players currently in the NBA and/or NBADL, ranked.

The ranking will be released in three parts: starters, role players and "the other guys". After "the other guys" ranking I will stop listing a player’s D-League stats for the 2015-16 season because any D-League games role players or starters played were usually to recover from injury.

For this ranking, I am focusing on each player’s skill level today. Even if a player has had a great career, if they have fallen off recently then that will be reflected in this ranking. On the opposite side of things, if a player has a lot of promise and potential, that isn’t reflected either. We are strictly looking at these guys and their abilities through the microscopic lens of "today".

Pop Quiz: The Big Ten had at least one player representing them on 25 of the 30 NBA rosters in 2015-16. While reading, see if you can figure out which five franchises don’t have Big Ten alums! The answer will be posted at the end of the starters ranking.

The Starters

13. Cody Zeller-Charlotte Hornets

-Indiana (2011-2013)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

73

60

24.3

8.7

6.2

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.9

.529

.100

After three seasons, Zeller seems to have finally established himself as a starter for the Hornets. Despite Al Jefferson getting injured, the team had a great season which makes a case for Zeller being the frontcourt player of the future for them. Time will tell if they ultimately stick with him at power forward, but he did nothing but help himself in 2015-16.

12. Alex Len-Phoenix Suns

-Maryland (2011-2013)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

78

46

23.3

9.0

7.6

1.2

0.8

0.5

1.9

.423

.143

Len is finally becoming the player the Suns hoped he could be when they drafted him three years ago. He threatens a double-double every time he plays significant minutes, which is more and more frequently as of late. He put up big numbers post all-star break and if he can build on that success, people better watch out.

11. Gary Harris-Denver Nuggets

-Michigan State (2012-2014)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

76

76

32.1

12.3

2.9

1.9

0.2

1.3

1.3

.469

.354

The Nuggets are trending upwards after a successful draft class with two talented rookies. The rough outline for their lineup of the future includes Harris at the shooting guard, and this past year should have demonstrated why. He is an effective scorer even though teams are often keying in on him. As Mudiay and Jokic continue to develop, the strain on Harris will lessen and he will be able to play more freely than he has been able to in the past.

10. D’Angelo Russell-Los Angeles Lakers

-Ohio State (2014-2015)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

80

48

28.2

13.2

3.4

3.3

0.2

1.2

2.5

.410

.351

Off the court issues aside, Russell took advantage of the high quantity of minutes available to him as a rookie. He struggled a bit early, but as the season went on he got increasingly comfortable as a top scoring option for the Lakers. With Kobe out of the picture, Russell could be ready for a great season if DeMar Derozan doesn’t decide to bring his talents to LA.

9. Evan Turner-Boston Celtics

-Ohio State (2007-2010)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

81

12

28.0

10.5

4.9

4.4

0.3

1.0

2.1

.456

.241

Turner was the sixth man on a Celtics team that got the most out of what it had. He did everything asked of him and produced in all aspects of a given game. His outside shooting is still an issue, but he is highly effective regardless of whether or not he is making shots from deep. It is unclear if the Celtics will re-sign Turner, but he will make an impact wherever he ends up.

8. Jared Sullinger-Boston Celtics

-Ohio State (2010-2012)



GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

81

73

23.6

10.3

8.3

2.3

0.6

0.9

1.3

.435

.282

Sullinger took a big step as far as consistency is concerned in 2015-16. He finally became the reliable interior player Celtics fans had been waiting for. He still was unable to log a lot of minutes on a nightly basis, but he stayed healthy as the season wore on which is half the battle. Like Turner, it is unclear what the Celtics are looking to do this offseason, but Sullinger has proved he can be a valuable player to any franchise.

7. Eric Gordon-New Orleans Pelicans

-Indiana (2007-2008)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

45

44

32.9

15.2

2.2

2.7

0.3

1.0

1.6

.418

.384

Gordon’s season was cut short due to injury, but when he was playing he was producing. He can still score points with the best of them, and his number was called on a lot because the Pelicans didn’t have many other scoring threats. New Orleans has hinted at the fact they may not resign Gordon this offseason, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up. Wherever it is, Gordon will be able to contribute. A new city could even be a better fit for him because he will no longer be called upon to be the go-to scorer and could be play off other stars instead.

6. Jamal Crawford-Los Angeles Clippers

-Michigan (1999-2000)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

79

5

26.9

14.2

1.8

2.3

0.2

0.7

1.4

.404

.340

Once again, Jamal Crawford won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. He continued to provide much needed scoring to the Clipper’s secondary unit. One would expect that eventually Crawford’s age will catch up to him, but it hasn’t happened yet.

5. Deron Williams-Dallas Mavericks

-Illinois (2002-2005)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

65

63

32.4

14.1

2.9

5.8

0.2

0.9

2.3

.414

.344

Williams got injured towards the end of the year, but had played pretty well before that. He was the same talented distributor as always, and he was a nice secondary scoring option to Dirk. Many speculate he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent this offseason. It will be interesting to see which team he ends up with in 2016-17.

4. Victor Oladipo-Orlando Magic

-Indiana (2010-2013)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

72

52

33.0

16.0

4.8

3.9

0.8

1.6

2.1

.438

.348

Oladipo is still a guy many laud for his potential, but he finally realized some of that potential this season. His defense is top notch and his offense is starting to catch up. He put up great numbers in every aspect of the game, but still has room to improve which is exciting for Magic fans Thunder fans.

3. Zach Randolph-Memphis Grizzlies

-Michigan State (2000-2001)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

68

53

29.6

15.3

7.8

2.1

0.2

0.6

1.5

.475

.231

Randolph continued his seemingly endless battle with father time in 2015-16. Some could argue he regressed a bit this year as he faced injury for the first time in a while, but he still had an awesome year. It is unknown how many more years he has left in the tank, but with the way he is able to remain effective at 34 years old, one would expect him to get a few more solid years in before really falling off.

2. Mike Conley-Memphis Grizzlies

-Ohio State (2006-2007)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

56

56

31.4

15.3

2.9

6.1

0.3

1.2

1.5

.422

.363

Before injuring himself, Conley was in the middle of another successful season with the Grizzlies. He will be a free agent this offseason, but signs point to him coming back to Memphis even though the Spurs sound like they could make a run at him. He has also expressed an interest in playing for Team USA this summer.

1. Draymond Green-Golden State Warriors

-Michigan State (2008-2012)

GP


GS


MPG


PPG


RPG


APG


BPG


SPG


TOPG


FG%


3P%

2015-2016

81

81

34.7

14.0

9.5

7.4

1.4

1.5

3.2

.490

.388

Green was a no-brainer at number one. As one of the best players on the NBA’s best regular season team of all time, Green was a member of the All-NBA Second Team and All-NBA Defensive First Team. He continues to redefine the landscape of being a power forward in the modern NBA. He had 13 triple doubles this year and did everything asked of him. He will continue representing the Big Ten well on NBA’s largest stage for years to come.

Pop Quiz Answer: Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors