The UConn Blog's Nick Greene examined the current stock of UConn's eight players in the NBA. Below is the first TUB UConn Alumni NBA Power Rankings.
1. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons, Center
Entering the final year of his rookie deal, no former Husky stands to cash in more than Drummond. In a league going small, there aren't many 14-point, 14-board and two-blocks-per-game guys left out there. The ceiling appears limitless for Drummond, with Greg Monroe seemingly destined for a departure from Detroit via free agency and the 4-out, 1-in system Stan Van Gundy ran with great success while coaching Dwight Howard in Orlando.
2. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets, Point Guard
Kemba cashed in last October with a new four-year, $48 million deal. Walker's numbers looked the same last season as they have throughout his four-year NBA career. Walker missed 20 games a year ago, but when he was healthy, he looked great (Eastern Conference Player of the Week in mid-January). Presumably now healthy and with Lance Stevenson out of Charlotte, this might be the year Walker takes a step forward and get the Hornets in contention in the weak Eastern Conference.
3. Rudy Gay, Sacramento Kings, Forward
Gay turned in his best scoring average of his career in 2014-15 and seems to fit well
with DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento. There are still plenty who criticize his game but his skill set and athleticism are elite. And with the news this week of a potential break-up between Cousins and the Kings, there is a chance Gay is once again the No. 1 scoring option like he was for stints in Memphis and Toronto. Maybe the third time will be the charm for Gay.
4. Ray Allen, Free Agent, Guard
Fourth seems pretty high for a soon-to-be 40-year-old veteran who didn't even touch the court last year. It says a lot about Allen's greatness but possibly even more about the rest of the Huskies on this list. As long as Allen isn't officially retired there is always a chance he is banging home clutch threes for the likes of the Cavs, Warriors, Clippers or any other contender who acquires his services.
5. Caron Butler, Milwaukee Bucks, Forward
At 35 years old, Butler's days are clearly numbered. But being traded to Milwaukee this offseason puts him in a good spot to mentor some young potential stars and maybe see the playoffs one more time.
6. Shabazz Napier, Miami Heat, Point Guard
It was a rough rookie campaign for Napier, sent down to the D-League twice. The assist-to-turnover ratio left much to be desired, and being touted as LeBron James' favorite player coming out of college probably led to some undo expectations. But Mario Chalmers is in the final year of a two-year deal he signed last offseason, and improvement in Napier's play could make Chalmers expendable, securing the back-up role to Goran Dragic for Napier.
7. Charlie Villanueva, Dallas Mavericks, Forward
Villanueva gets the nod here at No. 7 for strictly for getting run with a Western Conference playoff team. Playing about 10 minutes per game last season, Villanueva put in 6.3 points per game. Nothing to get real excited for here.
8. Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte Hornets, Forward
All the waiting for Lamb to break out and help Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant fill the void left by James Harden's departure came to an end with a draft-day trade to the Hornets. The writing was on the wall as Lamb saw time in just 47 games last year. Maybe a reunion with Kemba Walker and a fresh start will be just what Lamb needs to rejuvenate his career.