The 2017-18 NBA regular season wrapped up on Wednesday night, and the playoffs will start this weekend. With that, we’re able to sum up how former Syracuse Orange players performed this year, before looking ahead for those that have qualified for the postseason.
Some looked better than others, obviously. And some wound up bouncing around between the G League and NBA. Regardless, we look at each player that saw minutes at the top level of the sport this year.
Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City Thunder
In year one in OKC, ‘Melo had his worst season as a pro. Anthony scored just 16.2 points per game (first time under 20), barely shot 40 percent from the floor, and averaged just 5.8 rebounds per game. It was a rough season as the Thunder struggled to find a way to keep all three stars (‘Melo, Russell Westbrook, Paul George) involved at a high level on offense. He’ll get a chance at redemption in the playoffs.
Michael Carter-Williams, Charlotte Hornets
MCW started the year putting up modest numbers off the bench for the Hornets, but his year ended after a left shoulder tear in early March. He was averaging 4.6 points per game, 2.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game. It’s uncertain if that’ll be enough to keep him in the mix for the rebuilding Hornets. Even if Kemba Walker departs via trade this offseason, that wouldn’t necessarily promote Carter-Williams into a larger role at guard.
Tyler Ennis, Los Angeles Lakers
Ennis earned big minutes toward the end of the year once again, but with uneven results. The high-water mark was a 22-point outburst on 50 percent shooting against the Jazz last week. But beyond that, he was putting up around eight points per game in 20 minutes or so per game. On the season, he averaged 4.1 points, 1.9 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game. He has a team option for next season that may not be picked up.
Jerami Grant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Grant’s become a major force for the Thunder as a defender (weird, I thought SU players couldn’t do anything on defense???), and is efficient enough on the offensive end to earn significant minutes. His 8.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game aren’t jaw-dropping, but his athleticism has been put to use well against more athletic bigs and larger wing players. Plus he shot over 53 percent from the floor this season — by far the best rate of his career.
Wesley Johnson, Los Angeles Clippers
Wes was more effective the more minutes he was able to play, for the most part. The Clippers were in a weird place all season given the roster turnover, yet he still managed some nice scoring outputs early on. But the late-season Clips didn’t involved him as much, and he never scored 10 points or more from January 25 on. Shooting 40.8 percent from the field and just 33.9 percent from three may not keep him involved in L.A.
Tyler Lydon, Denver Nuggets
Lydon played in one Nuggets game all season, logging two minutes in a November win over the Kings. He ended up injuring his knee and undergoing arthroscopic surgery to end his season in January, though. At the G League level, he played 15 games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. There, he put up 12.6 points per game on 52 percent shooting, plus 8.5 rebounds per game. Not a bad effort, though the Nuggets did barely miss the playoffs without him this year. You have to wonder about a crowded rotation.
Chris McCullough, Washington Wizards
McCullough played in just a handful of games for the Wizards this year, but showed himself able to get to the basket when he got a shot — scoring 2.4 points per outing (on 42.9 percent shooting). He stayed up in the NBA for the most part all year, though, only playing in 12 G League games. Down there, he scored 11.2 points per game, with 6.4 rebounds. TBD on whether or not he’ll actually be seen during the Wizards’ opening playoff series (I’d bet probably not).
Malachi Richardson, Toronto Raptors
For the second straight year, Malachi was only able to earn limited action — first for the Kings, and then the Raptors, where he was traded mid-season. In 26 games, he averaged 3.4 points and 1.3 rebounds. He also battled a few different injuries that kept him out for much of the end of the season. In 14 games in the G League, he averaged 8.8 points and 3.9 boards. Shooting efficiency has been most lacking at both levels, however (around 33 percent overall).
Dion Waiters, Miami Heat
After penning the best article I’ve ever read, Waiters seemed primed for a big year in Miami. And then he got injured, and everything got derailed (yet the Heat still earned a 6-seed in the playoffs). In 30 games this year, Dion was scoring 14.3 points per, with 3.8 assists. After a fun and weird season for the Heat, it’ll be interesting to see where he fits in upon returning for year two of a long-term deal now.
Andrew White III, Atlanta Hawks
After averaging 16 points and 4.6 rebounds in 38 games in the G League, he moved on to the hard-tanking Atlanta Hawks and displayed flashes of ability to contribute. White put up 15 points in his debut, but never scored in double digits again. During his time in the NBA, he put up 4.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, while shooting around 34 percent. With the Hawks potentially looking at a long-term rebuild, he could get a greater chance to play next year.