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UConn in the NBA: Shabazz Napier Doing Shabazz Napier Things

It was only a matter of time.

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Shabazz Napier’s professional career has been quite the journey over the past four years. After LeBron James called Napier his favorite player in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Miami Heat made a trade to acquire the rights to the UConn star after the Charlotte Hornets took him with the 24th pick in the 1st round. The Heat did it hoping that James, who was a free agent that offseason, would keep his talents in South Beach. He didn’t.

After one year in Miami with limited success and some time in the D-League, Napier was traded to Orlando. His modest numbers took a dip in one year there, after which the Magic traded him to the Portland Trailblazers, where he is now in his second season. He didn’t do much in his first year, but the second is going a lot better.

In his fourth year in the league, Napier seems to have found his stride. He’s averaging 9.2 points per game, shooting 49 percent from the field and 44 percent from behind the arc while posting a 56.8 eFG; all of those numbers are career highs. He’s been on a tear over his past five games, starting the last two due to Damien Lillard’s injury and scoring over 20 points in both starts. On Thursday night against the 76ers, he led the Blazers to a big comeback win with a monster second half.

We’ll update this post with how the rest of the Huskies in the pros have been doing since our first update of the season last month following Daniel Hamilton’s NBA debut.