A former Syracuse basketball player will make it to this season’s NBA Finals, and that’s delightful.
For all the talk about how former Syracuse basketball players usually don’t fare all that well in the NBA, in this abbreviated, bubble-residing campaign for the U.S. professional ranks, something will transpire for Orange Nation that hasn’t done so in four decades.
A former Syracuse basketball guy will appear in the NBA Finals for the inaugural instance dating back to Marty Byrnes in 1980, when his Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers to claim the league championship, per a report by Geoff Herbert of Syracuse.com.
On Tuesday night, the Denver Nuggets completed their series comeback versus the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semi-finals.
Denver, whose roster includes former Orange star Jerami Grant, stunned the Clippers, 104-89, in game seven to take the series 4-3, after the Nuggets found themselves trailing 3-1 to Los Angeles, a crew that features NBA superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
As a result, Denver moves on to the Western Conference finals, where the Nuggets will battle the Los Angeles Lakers, a squad that includes former Syracuse basketball sensation Dion Waiters, along with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Former Syracuse basketball players Jerami Grant and Dion Waiters will duel for a chance to compete in the NBA Finals.
Grant and Waiters missed each other by one stanza on the Hill. Waiters, a lottery pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, played a key role on the 2011-12 ‘Cuse team that went 30-1 in the regular season, advanced to the Elite Eight and finished 34-3 overall, tallying the most wins in program history.
Grant, on the other hand, suited up for two really successful terms in Central New York before getting selected in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft.
As a freshman, he was on the crew that reached the 2013 Final Four. The following year, the first for the Orange in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Syracuse basketball raced to a 25–0 start only to lose in the 2014 NCAA Tournament’s round of 32 and wrap things up at 28-6.
In the post-season, according to his bio on ESPN.com, Grant is averaging 10.1 points and 3.2 rebounds a game, while collecting 33.5 minutes and shooting 38.1 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, and 90.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Waiters, who sat out two contests for the Lakers in their besting of the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semi-finals because of a pulled left groin, is generating 2.0 points per affair in 7.6 minutes of action.
Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is holding its playoffs at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla. Game one between the favored Lakers and the Nuggets is slated for Friday at 9 pm.