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.
This week’s roundup will feature Frank Kaminsky, Eric Gordon and Glenn Robinson III. Each player had an excellent performance in their All-Star event. Can they carry the momentum forward through the second half of the season?
-Frank Kaminsky (Charlotte Hornets):
Last week former Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky went for 33 points, including nine 3-pointers in the BBVA Rising Stars challenge. Kaminsky finished the game going 12-for-16 from the field and led Team USA in scoring.
Hornets fans certainly need more performances like this from Kaminsky to get the team back on track. The Hornets got off to a hot start, but since January 1st they have a record of 5-17. I know Kaminsky’s impressive game was just in an exhibition with spotty defense, but Kaminsky’s performance is a promising sign for the second-year forward who has had a streaky season.
In the Hornets last game before the All-Star break, Kaminsky dropped 27 points against the Toronto Raptors. In Kaminsky’s second season, the Hornets coaching staff has found out that stretch forward/center is undeniably talented on the offensive side of the ball. The coaching staff now just needs him to improve on the defensive end and also find consistency on the offensive end.
-Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets):
The former Indiana man and now Houston Rocket Eric Gordon is the NBA’s new Three Point Contest winner after Saturday night’s contest. Gordon outlasted Kyrie Irving in an overtime period with a score of 21. Gordon had 17 points through the first three racks, but had a late siege in in the final two racks, after Irving had scored only 19.
Gordon’s win makes him the 10th different Three Point Contest champion in the past 10 years. Irving was looking to change history by getting his second win, after claiming the title in 2013. You can say that it was fitting that a Rocket won the contest. The Rockets are chucking a mass amount of three-pointers per game. The Rockets have had eight games in which they’ve attempted at least 47 threes already this season.
Now that the Rockets added Lou Williams in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, Gordon will have a new running mate off the bench. Houston’s bench is now one of the better units in the league with the new dynamic duo. GM Daryl Morey is doing his best to help Houston get over the final hump, but will it be enough to defeat the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs?
-Glenn Robinson III (Indiana Pacers):
Indiana Pacers forward and former Michigan Wolverine Glenn Robinson III won last Saturday’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest, defeating Derrick Jones Jr. of the Phoenix Suns. With Robinson’s recent win, the Pacers are hoping that it can provide a spark and keep pushing them up the Eastern Conference standings.
Robinson is having his best season as a pro to date. He’s averaging 6.2 points, 3.7 rebounds on 46% shooting — all career bests. The Pacers, currently sixth in the East, will begin the final stretch of the season on Friday at home against the Grizzlies.
Check in next week for more Big Ten updates from the professional leagues.