With John Collins getting so much NBA draft attention and the 2016-2017 NBA season quickly coming to an end, I thought now would be a good time to look at how some past Deacs are fairing this season. Wake Forest has just 5 players in the NBA in the season, but they all play a large role on their respective teams.
Chris Paul: LA Clippers
CP3 is in his 12th season in the NBA and while he’s not getting the same attention he has in the past due to the gaudy numbers guys like James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Steph Curry are putting up, he is still one of the league’s best point guards. The 31 year old is averaging 18.0 points, 9.2 assists, 2 steals, and 5 rebounds per game and has a PER of 25.9. His assist average puts him at 4th in the league in assists per game. The Clippers are 47-31 this season, which puts them at 5th place in the West and just 1 game behind the 4th place Jazz.
James Johnson: Miami Heat
After being somewhat of a journeyman since entering the league in 2009, it seems Jame Johnson has finally found a home in Miami. The path to Miami didn’t take the smoothest route. The 30 year old was drafted by the Bulls, sent to the D-league, traded to the Raptors, traded to the Kings, cut by Atlanta after not being resigned by Sacremento, signed as a free agent with Memphis, and then Toronto before finally signing a 1 year, $4mil dollar deal with the Miami Heat. He is having the best season of his career, averaging 12.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 26 minutes per game (All career highs). His play this season as been a large part of the Heat’s resurgence; after starting the season 11-30, the Heat now sit at 37-40 and hold the 8th playoff spot in the East for the time being. Johnson continues to enjoy dunking over anyone and everyone.
Al-Farouq Aminu: Portland Trail Blazers
Aminu is a solid role player on a young Trailblazers team. In his career high 28 minutes per game he is averaging 8.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists this season. His field goal percentage has dropped to the lowest since his rookie season, but on a team where the starting guards average 50 points per game, scoring isn’t his first priority. Portland is 38-38 on the season and currently hold the 8th place spot in the West.
Ish Smith: Detroit Pistons
Smith was also a bit of a journeyman in the NBA since he graduated from Wake Forest. He played for 9 different teams in 5 years before finally finding a long term home, signing a 3 year, $18mil contract with the Detroit Pistons last summer. He is averaging 8.9 points, 5 assists, and 2.9 rebounds in 23 minutes per game this season. He has started in 27 games this season, but returned to his normal role of backup PG when Reggie Jackson returned from injury. With Jackson injured yet again, it looks like Ish could be set to finish the season as the starter for the Pistons. Detroit hasn’t been great this year, and they sit at 35-42 and 11th in the East. And in case you were wondering, yes, Ish still likes to hit buzzer beaters.
Jeff Teague: Indiana Pacers
After 7 seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Teague was traded last summer to the Pacers as it became apparent that Atlanta wanted Dennis Schroeder to be the starting PG. Teague is another player that doesn’t get the hype of some of the big name players but is still having a solid season at point guard. The 28 year old is averaging 15.3 points, 7.8 assists, and 4.2 rebounds in 32.4 minutes per game. The Pacers are 9th in the East and tied with Miami at 37-40. The Pacers will need to finish the season strong if they want to see the return of #PlayoffTeague.