If you’re 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 players succeed at the next level.
For this week’s roundup let’s take a look at how Meyers Leonard is performing and we’ll check in on some recent news regarding Yogi Ferrell and Tim Hardaway JR.
-Meyers Leonard (Portland Trailblazers):
Besides Meyers Leonard’s beef with DeMarcus Cousins, it’s been a quiet season for the former Illinois big man. Leonard is averaging 5.4 points and 3 rebounds in 15 minutes of playing time coming off the bench. What’s been most disappointing for Leonard, is his shooting numbers are down. He’s shooting just 36% from the field and 33% from three.
Portland’s management resigned Leonard in the offseason because of his ability to hurt defenses in the pick and pop combination with Damien Lillard. Leonard’s value is based on his potential to stretch the defense when Lillard has the ball. The defense has to respect Lillard’s ability to pull up from anywhere. That allows Leonard to get plenty of open looks when the defense collapses on Lillard. Even with open looks, Leonard hasn’t been connecting on enough threes so far this season.
With Leonard not making nearly enough shots and Al-Farouq Aminu back from injury, it’s hard for Leonard to find playing time. Blazers coach Terry Stotts has played Leonard less often, in his last five games Leonard has only played 10 minutes per game, and he recorded a DNP against the Lakers on January 5th.
-Yogi Ferrell (Indiana Hooisers):
The Philadelphia 76ers are interested in point guards, and former Brooklyn Nets point guard Yogi Ferrel is among the group of players seeking a 10-day NBA contract. After the Sixers waived Hollis Thompson last week, Philadelphia has one roster spot open.
Since getting cut by Brooklyn earlier this season, Ferrell returned to the L.I. Nets (Brooklyn Nets D-League team) and has played well. In Ferrell’s 13 D-League games with the L.I. Nets games, he’s averaging 19.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. The others competing for a 10-day contract from the Sixers, are Nate Robinson and Jordan Farmar.
-Tim Hardaway JR. (Atlanta Hawks):
The Hawks have already traded Kyle Korver. The next Atlanta shooting guard on the trading block is Tim Hardaway JR. It’s hard to figure out exactly what the Hawks want to do. Last week they had star forward Paul Millsap on the trading block, but this week he’s off the block.
Atlanta has won nine of 10 games. Why gut this roster? Is this roster good enough to compete with the likes of Cleveland and Toronto? Clearly the organization doesn't think so after trading Korver to Cleveland last week. Hardaway will be a restricted free agent next summer, and in a league short on quality wings, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Hardaway get a substantial contract with the next team he signs with next season. If the Hawks don’t want to pay him this offseason, it’s better to trade him now and get something for him.
Check in next week for more Big Ten updates from the professional leagues.