Five Syracuse basketball alumni are on NBA teams for the season restart. Between clutch shooting and key bench points, they’re taking the NBA by storm.
The NBA restart has been back for roughly one week and former Syracuse basketball players have been in the headlines. Dion Waiters made his return to the court with the Los Angeles Lakers, while Carmelo Anthony proved his clutchness to lead Portland to a game one win. Meanwhile, Jerami Grant helped pace Denver in a loss, while Michael Carter-Williams and Oshae Brissett wait for the right moments to shine.
Perhaps most impressive, was Grant’s game in the Nuggets’ loss, where his 19 bench points tied for the team lead. Unfortunately, his big game wasn’t enough, as Nikola Jokic was held to just 19, while the Nuggets shot just below 44% as a team. If Grant can continue to be a steady double-digit point scorer off the bench, it should give Denver a solid chance in the playoffs.
Long-time NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony had a very big first game back, as Portland came back against Memphis in an all-important race to the playoffs win. Melo scored 21 on the night on just ten field goal attempts, while also securing seven rebounds and two steals. However, his biggest six points of the game came at the end of the fourth quarter when Anthony hit two go-ahead threes to keep the Trail Blazers on top. They eventually won in overtime, with those two trifectas as a big reason for the victory.
In game two against Boston, Anthony struggled from the field with just 13 points. He did hit a big fourth-quarter three, but it wasn’t enough, as Portland fell to the Celtics, 128-124. Now, as the Blazers have an extremely tough schedule ahead, Anthony will need a few more games that resemble the Grizzlies outburst if Portland wants to reach the playoffs.
Brand new Los Angeles Laker, Dion Waiters has seemingly fit in just fine on his new team. The former lottery pick has come off the bench in two games, Waiters is averaging 11.5 points per game, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists, giving LeBron James and Anthony Davis a solid scoring option off the bench.
Although it would be tough to see Waiters dropping much more than 15 or 16 points in a game, it’s great to watch the former SU star in NBA action again. It’s clear that he is a phenomenal scoring talent, and can help the Lakers make an NBA Finals run, which is the end goal for a team of that caliber.
Michael Carter-Williams and Oshae Brissett are also on NBA restart rosters. MCW only had six points in game one but did have a solid 12 points with five rebounds and three assists against the Sacramento Kings in the Magic’s second outing. Carter-Williams continues to hold a pivotal role of a backup point guard as the season progresses.
Brissett has yet to suit up during the restart but is listed on the Raptors’ roster in Orlando. The first-year player is averaging 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds on the season. Although he isn’t expected to play many minutes for the remainder of the season, it’s very promising to see the rookie high in the defending champs’ organization.
Syracuse basketball continues to have a tradition of producing talented NBA players, and it’s great to see them succeeding so well as the season restarts.