Former Virginia basketball players target big NBA seasons | Sports

Virginia’s men’s basketball program will be well represented when the 2021-22 NBA season kicks off Tuesday night.

The season will kick off with six former Cavaliers on standard NBA contracts, two on two-way contracts and several more looking for a new team.

Here’s a look at how the former Wahoos fared at the start of the NBA season.

Malcolm Brogdon, Pacers

Brogdon had a very productive 2020-21 season, averaging 21.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game, but the Pacers struggled as a team, going 34-38 on the season. regular. Indiana was eliminated by the Washington Wizards in the NBA play-in tournament, leading to the firing of head coach Nate Bjorkgren after just one season.

The Pacers then hired former Virginia guard Rick Carlisle, who parted ways with the Dallas Mavericks after a long tenure that included winning an NBA championship, to be the team’s new head coach.

“He’s an experienced winner at the highest level, at the championship level,” Brogdon said on the Pacers’ media day. “That’s what we look forward to getting in all of this is that championship pedigree.”

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Brogdon hopes to help Carlisle get started in Indiana. The former NBA Rookie of the Year has taken on more of a leadership role with the Pacers.

“Certainly a more hands-on approach,” Brogdon said of his leadership style.

Part of this approach includes hosting team events to help players form deeper bonds and build chemistry.

“We had a few times this summer where we got the guys together. And this season, that’s something we have to keep building on, being together, even after games, whether it’s having dinner, just spending quality time together, bonding. I think that’s how you build trust and how you build culture and identity.

Brogdon’s leadership role was further cemented on Monday when he agreed to a two-year, $45 million extension, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The extension guarantees Brogdon nearly $90 million over the next four seasons.

Indiana opens the season Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets.

De’Andre Hunter, Hawks

Hunter is back in action with Atlanta after missing most of the Hawks’ deep playoffs last season after knee surgery.

The former Wahoo was limited to just 23 regular season games and five playoff games last season, but was solid when he was able to step onto the court, averaging 15.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1. 9 assists per game during the regular season. The Hawks liked what they saw from Hunter and recently exercised his fourth-year contract option for the 2022-23 season.

Now recovered from his injury, Hunter had the chance to test out his surgically repaired knee in two preseason games. He averaged 13.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in those two games. It’s a positive sign for Hunter and the Hawks as they look to build on their appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

“You don’t find many [good] two-way players in this league, and Dre is one of them,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the Hawks’ 127-92 win over the Miami Heat. “He’s going to defend as hard as he tries to score. He plays the game the right way. He is selfless.

Atlanta opens the season Thursday at home against the Dallas Mavericks.

Joe Harris, nets

Entering his sixth season with the Nets, Harris has become one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA. He shot an NBA-record 47.5 percent from three-point range last season averaging 14.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

The 2019 NBA 3-point contest champion continued his exceptional shooting in the preseason, shooting 65% from long range in three preseason games. He torched the nets in Brooklyn’s final preseason game, hitting seven 3-pointers while scoring a team-high 23 points in a 107-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Harris hopes to continue that shooting success in the regular season. With Kevin Durant and James Harden catching the eye of most opposing defenses, Harris should have plenty of offensive opportunities.

The Nets open the season Tuesday night on the road against defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Trey Murphy III, Pelicans

Murphy III joins the ranks of former NBA Virginia players after being selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

He looked good in the preseason, averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in four games. Murphy’s shooting touch was on full display in pre-season. He shot 53.1 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line while leading New Orleans in scoring in two of his four preseason games.

Murphy will make his NBA regular season debut on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Ty Jerome, Thunder

Jerome is looking to build a strong first season at Oklahoma City that saw him average 10.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game after joining the franchise from Phoenix as part of the trade for ChrisPaul.

The opportunity to play an even bigger role could be there for Jerome this season in a young and rebuilding Thunder team. He averaged 11.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists in four preseason games for Oklahoma City, including a 16-point, seven-assist performance against the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals. pre-season.

Oklahoma City begins its season Wednesday on the road against the Utah Jazz.

Anthony Gill, Wizards

Gill is back for his second season in the nation’s capital. The former Virginia forward saw limited minutes with Washington last season, averaging 3.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 26 games played.

When he had the chance to see the minutes, Gill performed well. He scored 13 points in just under 14 minutes of action in a game against the Spurs last season and nearly had a double-double (nine points, 10 rebounds) in a win over the Thunder.

Washington opens the season Wednesday in Toronto.

Two-way players

Former Virginia forward Sam Hauser has signed a two-way deal with the Boston Celtics. The former Cavalier is expected to spend most of the season with the Maine Celtics, Boston’s NBA G League affiliate, but could spend time with Boston as well.

Jay Huff landed a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday after being recently waived by the Washington Wizards. He is expected to spend most of the upcoming season with the South Bay Lakers, G League affiliate Los Angeles.

Free Agents

There are several former Virginia players currently on the market at the start of the NBA season.

Kyle Guy is looking for a new NBA team after being waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Guy signed a training camp contract with Cleveland and played preseason for the Cavaliers, but did not earn a contract with the team.

Mamadi Diakite is also in the market for a new team after being waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Diakite was picked up by Oklahoma City after being released by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Mike Scott and Justin Anderson are also not on an NBA roster at the start of the season.

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