NBA’s UVA basketball players impress just two days into new season
While the Virginia Cavaliers basketball season is still weeks away, the former NBA Wahoos have already kicked off their respective seasons, and a number of guys have already put in some impressive performances.
Malcolm Brogdon, Celtics
In his first regular season game with the Boston Celtics, Brogdon stepped into his role as the team’s sixth man as he scored 16 points on 7-11 shooting (0-2 from deep, 2-2 from the line), provided four assists, grabbed two rebounds and had two steals in just 24 minutes. He provided a spark for the C’s off the bench against the Philadelphia 76ers and provided an x-factor for the team as they managed Philly 126-117.
After several seasons as the main man, it’s honestly refreshing to see Brogdon in a new role in Boston. He has the potential to qualify for Sixth Man of the Year and should be incredibly effective in a role with slightly less responsibility. Ideally, the fewer minutes he plays will limit the injury issues that plagued him throughout his seven-year NBA career. Give yourself the opportunity to compete for an NBA champion with the defending Eastern Conference champions, and that seems like the perfect fit for “The President” even after just one game.
Of note, Sam Hauser got three minutes for the Celtics against Philadelphia, but his only recorded stat was a personal foul.
Just days after signing his whopping four-year, $95 million extension with the Atlanta HawksHunter gave the team proof they made the right decision as he enters his fourth season hoping for the breakout season that eluded him in years two and three.
One of four 20-point scorers for Atlanta against the Houston RocketsHunter scored 22 points on 10-15 shooting (1-3 on three, 1-2 from the line), grabbed three rebounds, had a steal and recorded the team’s second-highest over/under with sound +12 in just 32 minutes. behind Trae Young’s +16 in 38.
I really liked the confidence with which De’Andre Hunter took his halfway spot last night. Although his grip sometimes prevents him from getting there, I think he has the advantage of being one of the best shooters in the NBA from around 15 feet. He can be a weapon around the elbows at the end of the game. pic.twitter.com/alLLU4foYc
— AKelly (@andlankell) October 20, 2022
If Hunter can continue to flourish as a scorer this season, it would be a massive development for an Atlanta team that regressed last season after winning the Eastern Conference championship in 2021 when Hunter was hurt. With Dejounte Murray joining the team and providing more firepower in the backcourt, some of the attention will shift away from Hunter and should give him more of a chance for big games like this.
The fourth Wahoo to play so far this season, sophomore Trey Murphy led his hot preseason shot into the regular season last night. In the New Orleans Pelicans‘ 22-point win over Joe Harris-minus brooklyn netsMurphy came off the bench to score 16 points on 5-7 shooting (4-6 from three, 2-3 from the line), grab nine rebounds (including four on offense), two assists and a steal in his 24 minutes of play.
The Pelicans’ best timekeeper off the bench, Murphy could be New Orleans’ sixth man. And that’s exciting because he looks set for a second breakout season in the NBA with a young team led by Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum that should make some noise in the East.
Assuming Murphy continues to hit deep shots (which is an appropriate assumption), he’s going to have plenty of performances like this throughout the 2022-23 season. He has the teammates who can create looks for him and his lineup will surprise opponents who are more familiar with the Pelicans’ more established stars.