UConn in the NBA: Drummond dominating, Walker cools off


Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) defends against a shot by Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Detroit. The Pistons defeated the Heat 112-103. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

And we’re back. Another Tuesday means another update on how our beloved Huskies are faring in the pros this season. Some are currently riding hot streaks to career years while others are mimicking the New England weather and cooling off after a warm start. Let’s check in on the Huskies representing UConn in the NBA and see how they’ve fared the last week.

Andre Drummond: Drummond is dominating, it’s as simple as that. Now that opposing teams cannot take advantage of his poor free throw, with Drummond shooting 63.2 percent on the season, he has been able to help Detroit in close games and the results have been fantastic. The Pistons are sitting comfortably at second place in the East with the same record as the Golden State Warriors at 10-3. Let me stop to pick my jaw back up. Drummond is leading the NBA with 15.7 rebounds per game and is also one of just seven power forwards or centers to be averaging at least one steal and one block per game. The all-around game this former UConn big is flashing makes him one of the best centers in basketball this year.

Kemba Walker: Walker seems to have remembered what the temperature is like in November back here at Storrs and adjusted his game accordingly, most notably his 3-point shooting. He is averaging 21.7 points and 6.6 assists per game, with the assists a career-high, but he is shooting 43.5 percent from the field and only 33.8 percent from 3-point range. Walker has been a more willing passer this year than ever before, but the problem is the Hornets need him scoring more, especially in their most recent loss against the Celtics in which they scored only 87 points. The main concern is Walker’s 3-point percentage and if he can raise that up, closer to last year’s mark of 39.9 percent, he should be in good shape. Until then, Cardiac Kemba drops down below Drummond for the first time this year.

Jeremy Lamb: While his backcourt buddy is slumping, Lamb is showing consistency as he continues to excel in his increased role with the Hornets. He is still averaging career-highs in points (16.7), assists (3.2), rebounds (5.1), minutes (30.3), field goal percentage (46.8) and 3-point percentage (45.7) while starting every game this season. Lamb has proved to be a reliable starting shooting guard for the Hornets this year and should maintain this role even after Nicolas Batum returns from injury.

Rudy Gay: After a dazzling week from the 3-point line in which Gay went 5-9 over the span of three games, his 3-point percentage is back up at 41.4 percent on the season. Gay is still providing a solid scoring spark off the bench, averaging 13 points in 23.2 minutes per game for a team that is still missing superstar Kawhi Leonard. Look for Gay to remain efficient and his numbers to be average for the rest of the year.

Shabazz Napier: After recording three consecutive DNP – coach’s decision outings last week, Napier played 20 minutes in both of the Blazers’ games this week, going for 11 points in one game and 12 in the other. Napier is playing limited minutes, yet his efficiency suggests maybe he could perform well in a bigger role than the one his 10.8 minutes per game suggests. There’s simply not many minutes available behind Damian Lillard, so at this point maybe a trade is what Napier needs to provide more production.

Zac Lane is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at zachary.d.lane@uconn.edu.

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