The early part of the NBA season has seen former Huskies find themselves in various predicaments, with some continuing to establish themselves on their respective teams, and others proving they have what it takes to contend in the playoffs.
Kemba Walker has demonstrated to the Boston faithful that he can fill the void left by Kyrie Irving, averaging 21.6 points and five assists per game and playing a major part in the Celtics’ current form. Fluidity of the ball has been at an all-time high, with players such as Jason Tatum, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown all benefiting from Kemba’s unselfishness. This willingness to distribute the ball has played a major part in victories for the team throughout the season, with Walker putting up 16 points and 10 assists in a win over the Knicks on Sunday, while dropping 39 points and four assists in a victory against the Nets last Wednesday. Walker’s offensive versatility will be crucial on Wednesday night, as the Celtics welcome the Miami Heat. Boston currently stands fourth in the Eastern Conference at 14-5.
Walker, however, isn’t the only Husky learning to play and co-exist with new teammates. Summer signing Jeremy Lamb has proven to be a major asset for the Pacers, averaging 17.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Over the last ten games he has had a field goal percentage of 51.5, putting up 19, 18 and 20 points, respectively, against the Grizzlies, Jazz and Hawks, all in winning efforts. Lamb is crucial to the offense, and the subsequent return of Victor Oladipo will only make them that much more dangerous. The Pacers stand sixth in the Eastern Conference at 13-7, and travel to Oklahoma Wednesday night to face the Thunder.
Andre Drummond and Rudy Gay went at it on Sunday as the Detroit Pistons faced the San Antonio Spurs. Gay had a big impact on both ends of the court and finished with 12 points, three boards and two blocks. Drummond had less than a stellar night on offense, but made up for it with 16 rebounds to ultimately beat his former college teammate, 132-98.
Gay has proved to be a vital asset for a Spurs team that is continuing to form a new identity behind the likes of DeRozan and Aldridge, averaging 11.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while shooting just under 50% from the field. At a little under 23 minutes per game, he will continue to impact the game with his shooting and defensive versatility. Drummond’s dominance in the rebound department has not changed, averaging 16 over the last ten games, along with 12.9 points per game. As a result, it should come as no surprise that he is a top priority for Detroit management. San Antonio sits 12th in the Western Conference at 7-14, while Detroit is 10th in the Eastern Conference at 7-13.
Shabazz Napier is still looking to make a name for himself in Minnesota, averaging only nine minutes in the past 10 games for the Timberwolves, alongside four points and one assist. Overall, he is putting up 7.3 points and 3.9 assists per game, while shooting just over 30% from the field. Napier will look to show flashes of the brilliance he displayed in Portland and Brooklyn as the season progresses. Minnesota currently sits seventh in the Western Conference at 10-9, as they get set to face Luka Doncic and the Mavericks Wednesday night.