In our newest segment, we take a look at our favorite UConn alumni, those currently playing in the NBA. We'll take a look at what they have done this year, and briefly break down what they're doing on their teams currently. Players are listed from youngest to oldest.
Some believe Drummond was snubbed from the all-star roster which was announced this week, and rightfully so. The 20-year-old Detroit Pistons Center is averaging a double-double at 12.6 points and 12.7 rebounds to go along with 1.8 blocks per game. The Pistons haven't quite clicked as a team and are currently a game and a half out of the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile Drummond is frequently putting up big time numbers such as his 21 point, 20 rebound performance on January 24th in a loss to New Orleans. He has also been a highlight machine, frequenting Sports Center's top 10 plays with gems like this.
After starring in the D-League last year, Jeremy Lamb has burst on the scene as a key contributor for the first place Oklahoma City Thunder. He is averaging 10.2 points on 45.6 percent shooting from the floor, 36.4 percent from three, and 85.7 percent from the foul line. He's been one of the leaders of a strong second unit, along with Reggie Jackson, that is drawing a lot of national praise. Lamb is heating up as of late with one of his best performances coming January 29th in a win over the Heat. In that game Lamb played second fiddle to Kevin Durant as he chipped in 18 points on 7-10 shooting going 4-6 from deep. The 21 year old is finding his role and it will be fun to watch his development on a national stage come playoff time.
Kemba has been right up there with Rudy Gay and Andre Drummond as the best Huskies in the NBA this season. He's averaging 18.7 points, 5.0 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game as the starting point guard for the Charlotte Bobcats who are currently the 8th place team in the terrible Eastern Conference. Walker has missed the last 6 games with an ankle injury and suffered a setback last night as he felt pain while stretching during the shootaround. The Bobcats are clinging to a one game lead for that last playoff spot, and need Kemba, who is playing his best basketball since March 2011, in order to keep it.
Oh Hasheem. You can find the 7'3 former second pick in the draft at the end of the Oklahoma City Thunder's bench. He's played in just 8 of the teams 48 games, and none of his minutes have been in anything expect garbage time. However, when he has gotten minutes, he's been 5-8 from the floor averaging 1.3 points, and 1.9 rebounds in 5 and a half minutes per game. As ESPN analyst Jalen Rose says, "If you're a 7 footer, and can walk and chew gum at the same time, you will have a job in the league." Thabeet is the best example of this. He's gotten a lot of praise from Thunder coach Scott Brooks for working hard and being a great teammate, and last night had 2 points and a rebound in 4 minutes in a win over the Nets. He's only 26 so there is still time to turn it around, but right now he is unfortunately looking like one of the biggest draft busts NBA history.
The man who was just surpassed as 14th on UConn's all time scoring list by Shabazz Napier is stuck at the end of the Charlotte Bobcats bench. When he has seen time, he's been an efficient rebounding machine, averaging 3.7 rebounds in just 11 minutes per game in 22 games played. As Husky fans know, he is all heart and leaves everything out on the court. Unfortunately for him, there's not much of a market for 6'7 power forwards in the NBA, and as such he has not played in the last 6 games. It's actually pretty remarkable that he's spent so much time in the league because of his height for his position, and it is a testament to how hardworking the 27-year-old Adrien is.
Rudy seems to have found a home in Sacramento. After struggling as the main man in Toronto shooting just 39 percent from the floor, his shooting percentage has shot up to 53 percent as a King and he is averaging 20.3 points and 6.0 rebounds a game. The reason for his resurgence seems to be that he isn't counted on to make things happen by himself as he did in Toronto when he was forced to take very low percentage shots late in the shot clock when the offense broke down. In Sacramento, when the same situation arises they are able to dump it down to DeMarcus Cousins, or let Isaiah Thomas Jr. create off the dribble which is allowing Rudy to attack and take better shots. Unfortunately the Kings aren't seeing the same kind of success as Gay is individually, and they sit at the bottom of the Western Conference Standings. Regardless, he has become an instant fan-favorite in Sacramento due to plays like this.
The 27 year old Timberwolves point guard has only played in 19 of Minnesota's 46 games averaging 1.6 points per game. Price has always had the ability to be a solid backup scoring point guard, averaging 7.7 points per game in 57 games as the Wizards backup point guard last year. This year, Price has been unable to move past J.J. Barea, and Alexey Shved in a crowded Timberwolves backcourt.
The 29 year old is in the midst of his worst season as a pro. He is averaging just 4.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game on the Detroit Pistons, and has only played in 13 games this year. At the beginning in the year, he would go in as a 3-point shooter off the bench and basically, play until he started shooting poorly. Well, he's shooting poorly now and has not played in the Pistons last 5 games. He has one year left on his contract making over 8.5 million dollars.
After averaging 5.6 points in over 15 minutes per game in December, Gordon has been benched for all but 1 game in January. The benching has been due to the Bobcats wanting to give their younger players more action. Gordon is making a whopping 13.2 million dollars this year, but he does have an expiring contract, meaning he is, and will continue to be in many trade rumors. The latest rumor has him going to Philadelphia in return for Evan Turner and Jeremy Lin in a 3 team trade with the Houston Rockets.
Okafor is currently on the surging Phoenix Sun's roster, but is out for the year with a neck injury. However, he will likely make headlines come the trade deadline as he represents an expiring contract that can be dealt for help at the small forward position, which the Suns desperately need. Okafor, who averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds for the Wizards last year, was most recently mentioned in a trade rumor involving Jeff Green of the Celtics.
Butler is having an up and down season on a young and terrible Milwaukee Bucks team. He is currently averaging 10.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 24 minutes per game. Butler is the Buck's 6th man, and his limited playing time, along with some early season injuries are hurting his shooting percentages. He is shooting just 37.9 percent from the field, and 32.5 percent from deep. He is one of the most talented players on the young Bucks roster, but his minutes suffer in order to let the new players grow in a no-pressure situation. Butler's highlight this season has easily been his performance on January 22nd against the Detroit Pistons when he went off for 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. It was a performance that brought back memories of his 07-08, and 08-09 seasons when he averaged over 20 points a game for the Washington Wizards. Making the 30-point feat all the more impressive was the fact that it was the day after he had a root canal, and he played because it was Caron Butler bobblehead day so he felt an obligation to the fans. Kudos to you, Caron.
The 35-year-old Hamilton is currently a free agent, and there hasn't been a lot of chatter about a team picking up the 14 year NBA veteran. Last season he averaged just less than 10 points per game off the bench for the Chicago Bulls. Currently, you can find Hamilton on Instagram showing off his Air Jordan shoe collection.
UConn's elder statesmen in the Association is coming off the second ring of his 17 year career, and is still enjoying his swan song in Miami. Although he is scoring a career-low 9.4 points per game and shooting a career-low 34.2 percent from three, Allen is still the 6th man for the second place team in the Eastern Conference. Ray is coming off a somewhat difficult January that saw his numbers dip to 7 points per game and 25 percent from three, but, as we know so well, the man also known as Jesus Shuttlesworth has a knack for turning it on when it matters most.
We will next check in with the Husky alumni in the Association after the February 20th trade deadline.