Former Kansas basketball players are making their mark on the NBA this season
The NBA is more than halfway through its season and the All-Star break is just around the corner. This year, two former Kansas basketball players – Joel Embid and Andre Wiggins — were named starters in the All-Star game. Several other former Jayhawks have impacted their teams this season. On Thursday night, 10 former Jayhawks played more than 100 minutes with NBA rosters.
Here’s a quick update on how they fared, starting with All-Star starters Embiid and Wiggins.
Joel Embid – Philadelphia 76ers
Season stats: 29.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game
Embiid is having another MVP-like season after finishing second in the MVP race in 2020-21. He was the driving force behind a 76ers team that sits sixth in the Eastern Conference. Embiid drops 3 seconds to 38%, his career best, and blocks 1.4 shots per game. Recently, Embiid has been on a tear, scoring more points in his last five games than minutes played. In those five contests, Embiid is averaging 42.5 points and 12.8 rebounds.
Andre Wiggins – Golden State Warriors
Statistics for the season: 18.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game
The former No. 1 overall pick is having the best year of his career shooting basketball. His 48.1% field goal percentage and 40.4% from 3 rating are both career highs. Wiggins really found his role in Golden State as a reliable add-on piece for Stephen Curry. His consistency also helped the Warriors earn the second-best record in all of basketball. Wiggins makes his first career All-Star appearance as a starter.
Kelly Oubre – Charlotte Frelons
Season stats: 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game
On January 26 against the Indiana Pacers, Oubre posted a 39-point performance and made 10 3-pointers for the Hornets. His efforts helped Charlotte score 158 points, the most points scored in franchise history. Oubre has scored 30 or more points four times this year. Oubre has only started ten games but remains on average 28 minutes from the bench in the sixth man role. The 26-year-old is shooting the 3 at 37.5%, a career high. He’s been an impactful player all season for the Hornets, who are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference.
Devonte’Graham – New Orleans Pelicans
Season stats: 14.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game
Graham joins his new team. After two seasons with the Hornets, Graham signed a four-year, $47 million contract with the New Orleans Pelicans. Graham is having another quality year and ranks third on the Pelicans in points per game with 14.0. He also started every game he played. Graham is tied for eighth in the NBA in 3-point total (132) with Oubre.
Ben McLemore – Portland Trail Blazers
Season stats: 9.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game
McLemore has recently warmed up for the Trail Blazers, making at least three 3-pointers in eight of his last 10 games. The former seventh overall pick is in his ninth NBA season. McLemore is also shooting his highest 3-point mark this season at 42.3%. McLemore has averaged 17.5 minutes on the bench for the Trail Blazers. The Trail Blazers currently sit in tenth place in the Western Conference.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk –Toronto Raptors
Season stats: 5.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game
The Cherkasy, Ukraine native found a new home with the Raptors this season after spending last year with the Oklahoma City Thunder. At the start of the year, Mykhailiuk regularly played more than 10 minutes per game. But Mykhailiuk has played 10 minutes or less in seven of the last 10 games. Unlike the other Jayhawks, Mykhailiuk is shooting the worst 3-point percentage of his career at 31%.
Marcus Morris -Los Angeles Clippers
Season stats: 15.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game
Morris is averaging the fourth-most points among active Jayhawks and does so for the eighth-seeded Clippers in the West. Morris is in his 12th NBA season and was selected with the 14th overall pick in 2011. Currently, Marcus is out of roster for “personal reasons,” according to Clippers Beat Writer Farbod Esnaashari. Morris has started in all 26 games he has appeared in this season.
Markieff Morris – Miami Heat
Season stats: 7.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game
Morris has been sidelined from the Heat since Nov. 8. If you remember, he was pushed around by the center of the Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic, causing a back injury from whiplash. Morris returned to practice on January 25 and will be looking to return to the roster soon. Prior to his injury, Morris was a key part of the Miami bench. His season-high point total was 16 against the Orlando Magic on Oct. 25.
Josh Jackson – Detroit Pistons
Season stats: 7.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game
Last season, Jackson showed promise and averaged 13.4 career points while playing 25.2 minutes per game for the Pistons. Jackson’s minutes have dropped this season to 18.2 per game, but he’s still converting 2.7 field goals per game on average. The former fourth overall pick has a season-high 24 points scored in a game. The Pistons currently occupy the second-to-last spot in the Eastern Conference.
Quentin Grimes –New York Knicks
Season stats: 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game
Grimes started his career as a Jayhawk before moving to Houston for two seasons. Now, as a rookie, Grimes has given the Knicks valuable minutes. On December 12 against the Milwaukee Bucks, Grimes posted a career-high 27 points and followed it up with a 15-point outing on Christmas Day. The 25th overall pick ranks fourth among rookies in the Basketball Index pass creation quality measure.