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Syracuse in the NBA: Orange alumni updates entering the stretch run

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There’s other basketball being played in the U.S., and some of it involves former Syracuse stars.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team’s season wrapped up over a week ago, but the NBA is still going strong as we enter the stretch run of this season’s adjusted schedule. So as teams shuffle for playoff spots, here’s how things are going for the collection of former Orange standouts in the league:

Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons

Things may not be going too well for the Pistons (they’re 14-35 on the year), but that has little to do with Grant. He’s averaging 22.4 points per game this year — a career high — along with 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest. He’s even hitting over 35% of his threes, and overall, is the only reason to bother watching the Pistons. Whether he just winds up putting together some big stat seasons before cashing in elsewhere on the next deal, or uses his numbers to get dealt to a competitor in the next year or two, he’s still put himself in a very good spot.

Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers have been surging of late. And while ‘Melo isn’t the biggest part of that, his contributions as a role player in Portland have been extremely valuable dating back to last season. As you already know, he’s been climbing the all-time scoring list, and is currently averaging 13.7 points per game while shooting over 38% from three and nearly 87% from the line. He’ll have another playoff shot this year, with the Blazers currently in sixth place in the West — but just two games back of third.

Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic

MCW’s had some injury issues here and there but when he’s healthy, the Magic have played him plenty. He’s averaging 8.7 points, 4.6 boards and 4.4 assists per game and now that Orlando is tanking, he could see even more minutes (again, as long as he’s able). In a recent game vs. the Clippers, he managed eight points, seven boards and nine assists, which isn’t half bad if you have other players handling the scoring load.

Elijah Hughes, Utah Jazz

Hughes doesn’t get a ton of opportunities while playing for the team with the league’s best record as they compete for the West’s top seed and a potential shot at the title. Yet, he’s able to show some things in those limited minutes. In just 3.8 minutes per game (10 games), he’s averaging 2.2 points, 0.6 rebounds and 0.4 assists while hitting 38.5% of his threes. It’s hard to see him getting much more time given the Jazz’s contending status. But it’s good experience for the young wing nonetheless.

Oshae Brissett, Indiana Pacers

Since Brissett failed to make the Raptors’ roster for 2020-21, he spent some time with the G League’s Fort Wayne Mad Antz, averaging 18.6 points per game over 10 games. That led to him getting a 10-day contract with the Pacers... though he’s yet to see the floor since that deal was signed last week.

Andrew White III, Westchester Knicks

White hasn’t played at the NBA level this year, but has averaged 5.2 points per game with the Westchester Knicks. Minutes have been at a premium so far (he’s getting about 18 per game), and his three-point shooting has dipped down to 25%, which isn’t ideal.

Malachi Richardson, Canton Charge

Over 14 games with the Cavaliers’ G League team, Malachi’s put up 8.4 points per game, while hitting 45% of his three-point tries. That’s pretty good, and could potentially get him some time in Cleveland with the Cavs once again lottery-bound.

B.J. Johnson, Long Island Nets

While B.J. didn’t finish out his college playing career at Syracuse (he transferred to LaSalle), some may be interested in what he’s up to... which winds up being a lot. In 14 games on Long Island, he’s averaged 18.4 points per game and 5.6 rebounds. Since Brissett received NBA interest with similar numbers.

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We’ll have another update when the playoffs start, though honestly, that’s likely just a look-in on Carmelo.