It hasn’t been the best year for most former Syracuse Orange men’s basketball players in the NBA. Still, numerous players have suited up in the league this year — and plenty have played professionally elsewhere too (both in the G League and abroad).
With the NBA All-Star Break upon us this weekend, it’s a good time to check in on as many players as possible, to see how they’re all faring and what’s next as the season enters the home stretch.
Carmelo Anthony, Free Agent
‘Melo lasted just 10 games with the Houston Rockets this season, starting two of them before being let go. He was averaging 13.4 points per game and actually shooting 49 percent from three. However, it wasn’t a fit for what Houston was trying to do. This seems like the end of the road, though maybe not before he signs with the Lakers to get one more playoff shot with long-time pal LeBron James.
Michael Carter-Williams, Free Agent
MCW started this season out on the Rockets, and actually saw some decent minutes while putting up serviceable numbers here and there. However, as Houston got healthier, his minutes dwindled and then he was traded to the Bulls, who released him in January. He averaged just 4.3 points per game this season when he did suit up.
Jerami Grant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Grant’s become the standout former Orange player in the league at this point, making good on his offseason contract and becoming a critical part of OKC’s rotation as the team contends near the top of the West. Though he’s currently nursing an ankle injury, Grant’s been averaging 13.1 points per game and 5.1 rebounds while playing sound defense and improving his shot. Expect him to be around for awhile.
Wesley Johnson, Washington Wizards
Wes has been dealt twice this year, first from the Clippers to the Pelicans, and then from the Pels to the Wizards right before the trade deadline. Getting a decent chunk of minutes with the Wiz, he’s averaged a little under six points per game in four contests and played a reasonable role off the bench (he had an impressive 14 points against the Bulls in there, too). On the year, he’s only averaging 3.9 points per game, however, with 2.1 rebounds per.
Tyler Lydon, Denver Nuggets
As was assumed when Lydon was originally acquired by the forward-heavy Nuggets, minutes remain hard to come by — and that was before the team turned into one of the NBA’s best (as they are this year). He’s played in 21 games and averaged just four minutes per appearance, averaging a point in each.
Malachi Richardson, Free Agent
Malachi never had a great shot to earn minutes on a Toronto team hellbent on making the NBA Finals, but managed to pick up opportunities here and there in 22 games, while averaging 1.4 points per. However, he was traded to the 76ers just before the deadline. And with that team also contending, they waived him. TBD if he winds up anywhere in the NBA for the remainder of this year (would think it’s unlikely).
Dion Waiters, Miami Heat
Waiters returned from injury earlier this year and has been as #humble and #hungry as ever. His 15.2 points per game are beyond his career average of 13.2, and he’s shooting well enough from three (34.6 percent) to make up for the struggles at the free throw line (a puzzling 33 percent clip). With the entire Heat franchise in a sort of limbo right now regarding playoff contention, he’ll see plenty of time on the floor. After struggling for a stretch, he’s scored 20 points or more in two of Miami’s last three.
C.J. Fair, Windy City Bulls
Fair’s been a highlight fixture for the Bulls, even if Chicago’s yet to make a move to call him up. He started the season averaging 12.1 points per game, then gradually moved up all the way to 15.8 in January. He’s also shot around 50 percent on the year and been a great rebounder, pulling down eight per game all year.
Michael Gbinije, Santa Cruz Warriors
Silent G’s scoring and overall shooting numbers have gone down gradually as the season’s worn on for the Warriors. After starting with 8.6 points per game in November, he’s down to just six in February on 31.6 percent shooting. On the year, he’s averaging 7.1 points and about three boards.
John Gillon, Erie Bayhawks
At one point in December, Gillon was on a torrid pace, averaging 19.2 points per over 11 outings. The numbers have come back down to earth considerably, as he’s put up just six points per game in February. Still, he’s averaging over 13 on the year, hitting 35 percent of his threes and dishing 6.1 assists per game.
Chris McCullough, Rio Grande Valley Vipers
McCullough’s played just a handful of games in the G League this year, but has been pretty efficient in the short amount of time. He has 8.7 points per game over six games, but in just 12 minutes per, plus he’s pulling down boards at a nice clip of 4.6 per game too. One would think all of that means more minutes are coming once he gets better integrated into the rotation.
Tyler Roberson, Agua Caliente Clippers
Like McCullough, Roberson’s also played in small number of games, but has also looked impressive in doing so. Following a short five-minute, four-point outing to wrap up January, he’s now averaging 12 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in February for the Ontario (CA)-based Clippers affiliate.
Hakim Warrick, Iowa Wolves
Warrick’s star turn with Boeheim’s Army has translated into a considerable amount of work with the Iowa Wolves this season. He averages 11.9 points per game and 5.7 boards, though his February numbers have far outpaced that rate: 17.7 points and seven rebounds. He may just get another NBA shot yet if a team is looking for a wing.
Andrew White III, Maine Red Claws
White’s largely remained the shooter we remember at Syracuse, scoring 11.4 points per game (on 40.9 percent shooting) and nailing over two from outside each game. Over half of his shots are from three as he works to carve out a lane in a league that does have a tendency to find a place for those types of players.
While we’re talking about the NBA and G League, might as well quickly discuss other former Orange standouts suiting up abroad, too:
- Tyler Ennis: He suffered a pretty gruesome broken leg for Fenerbahce Ulker of the Turkish BSL back in October. Before that, was averaging a little over six points per game.
- Paul Harris: Has only been with Le Portel of French Jeep Elite for two games so far, and is averaging eight points and 5.5 boards.
- Demetris Nichols: Averaging over 14 points and six rebounds per game for Sidigas Avellino of Italian Lega Basket Serie A. He’s arguably been SU’s most successful post-college international player yet.
- James Southerland: Putting up an impressive 17.8 points per game for SeaHorses Mikawa of the Japanese B League. The team’s actually covered pretty actively (and in English).
- Brandon Triche: Like Nichols, Triche is also in Italy, but with Orlandina Basket in Serie A2 Basket — the second tier. He’s scoring nearly nine points per game so far there.