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Syracuse in the NBA: Midseason review

Orange basketball players go on to keep playing basketball, you now.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is around the mid-way point of their season. And the same goes for the former SU players currently in the NBA.

With that in mind, we wanted to check in on all of those Orange alums and see how the year’s shaking out. Several of them are in new environments for 2017-18, which can make for an interesting transition.

(players listed alphabetically)

Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City Thunder

Things have been far from smooth for OKC since incorporating three star players, and Melo has probably taken on the brunt of those growing pains. He’s averaging just 17.7 points per game, with six boards and fewer than two assists per game — all far below his career averages. The eventual Hall-of-Fame shooter has had to play a support role this season, which is new for him. But the Thunder have been on a roll of late and sit firmly in a playoff spot right now.

Michael Carter-Williams, Charlotte Hornets

Stuck behind all-star Kemba Walker, MCW’s not going to be cracking the starting lineup much for the Hornets. Still, he’s been given opportunities to play, though with mixed results. Carter-Williams is averaging 4.2 points per game with 2.4 assists per, but he’s shooting just 27 percent on the season.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Ennis, Los Angeles Lakers

The young, guard-centric Lakers have crowded Ennis out of the depth chart for the most part. But injuries have opened some doors for him here and there — at one point, resulting in a 20-point outburst against the Rockets a week ago. On the year, he’s only putting in 3.3 points and 1.8 assists per game. However, he’s shown himself to be more effective in longer outings.

Jerami Grant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Grant gets pushed out a little by Melo, but he’s still getting over 20 minutes per game and scoring at a reasonable clip (nearly eight points per game). His shooting has taken the biggest leap this year, as he’s hit over 51 percent of his shots. Even if he rarely gets headlines on the star-studded Thunder team, his bench presence is critical to that team’s staying power.

Wesley Johnson, Los Angeles Clippers

Wes is getting caught up in the Clippers’ transition, recently losing the starting role to Sam Dekker following an injury and the team’s stronger play with the younger shooter in the lineup. Johnson is performing near his career averages this year, scoring 6.4 points per game (about a point below the average) and grabbing 3.4 rebounds per.

Tyler Lydon, Denver Nuggets

Lydon has appeared in just one game for Denver, logging zeros across the board in two minutes during a win over the Kings. Beyond that, he’s shuttled back and forth with the G-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers. There, he’s averaged nearly a double double per game (13.8 points, 9.6 rebounds) in 12 games. As mentioned when Lydon arrived, the current makeup of the Nuggets makes it tough for him to get much playing time right now.

Chris McCullough, Washington Wizards

Despite a veteran team in D.C., McCullough has been able to carve out some minutes with the Wizards this year. He’s scoring three points per game and averaging 1.7 rebounds per in just five minutes per outing (12 games total) — a pretty efficient clip. McCullough’s also impressed in three G-League outings with the Northern Arizona Suns. He’s 15.3 points and 8.3 boards in those games.

Malachi Richardson, Sacramento Kings

Malachi’s in and out of the lineup, despite the Kings seemingly careening toward yet another lottery pick. He’s putting up four points with 1.5 rebounds per game over 20 games this season. Minutes aren’t up considerably, and shooting is actually down for him. Free throw and three-point shooting is up, however. I’ll be seeing if Malachi or Tyler Ennis get more minutes when I watch the Kings and Lakers at Staples Center (while probably wearing orange) on Tuesday night.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dion Waiters, Miami Heat

This is sort of Dion’s team now after he signed a huge deal with the Heat this offseason. And while he’s certainly taken shots like that’s the case (nearly 14 per game), the results haven’t necessarily been there, scoring 14.3 points per game. Waiters has been out with an ankle injury of late, and without him, the Heat have actually been winning... which feels worrisome despite the long-term deal.


  • CJ Fair, Fort Wayne Mad Ants (24 games, 10.9 ppg/4 rpg/1.5 apg)
  • Michael Gbinije, Santa Cruz Warriors (7 games, 10.1 ppg/2.7 rpg/1.4 apg)
  • John Gillon, Erie Bayhawks (13 games, 3.3 ppg/0.8 rpg/1.3 apg)
  • Tyler Roberson, Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (25 games, 7.6 ppg/5.5 rpg/0.5 apg)
  • James Southerland, Santa Cruz Warriors (24 games, 10 ppg/5.5 rpg/1.5 apg)
  • Andrew White III, Maine Red Claws (22 games, 16 ppg/5.3 rpg/1.5 apg)