Bruins in the NBA Report
By Bruin Basketball Report
While the UCLA faithful eagerly await the start of basketball season in Westwood, twelve former Bruins are in NBA training camps around the country working hard to refine their craft, move up in rotations, or to simply win a spot on their team's fifteen man rosters.
Here is a BBR look around the NBA training camps.
Arron Afflalo, Detroit Pistons: Despite earning First Team All-American honors and leading his team to a second consecutive Final Four, some still thought it was a mistake for Afflalo to forego his senior season for the NBA draft. However after being drafted in the first round by the Pistons, he proved he made the right decision. The Pistons were looking to inject youth into their aging backcourt especially after a poor showing against a younger Cavaliers team in the playoffs. With the addition of Afflalo and fellow first-rounder Rodney Stuckey, the Pistons now have players who can provide a spark off the bench with aggressive play. Although Afflalo struggled with his outside shooting during summer league, he still impressed the Piston brass with his effort and defense. While its still not certain whether he will start the regular season with the Pistons or their NBDL affiliate, its clear Afflalo is part of the Pistons backcourt of the future.
Trevor Ariza, Orlando Magic: With the departure of Grant Hill, Ariza has an opportunity to increase his minutes and perhaps have a break-out season. Already considered the Magic's best defender, Ariza suffered from nagging injuries last season which limited his play. Despite being in the league four years, he is still only 22 years old.
Matt Barnes, Golden St. Warriors: After coming out of no where last year to help the Warriors make an impressive run through the playoffs, Barnes was hoping for a long term free-agent contract, instead he signed an enhanced one-year contract to play for the Warriors again with hopes of proving that last season's postseason wasn't a fluke. Look for Barnes to continue his aggressive and high-energy play on both ends of the court for the Warriors this season and earn that lucrative contract. In addition to his tough play, Barnes also shot 37% from three-point distance.
Baron Davis, Golden St. Warriors: B-Diddy showed he was a big time franchise player during the Warriors' postseason march last season. Like Barnes, he had hoped to land a lucrative extension on his contract during the offseason but didn't get it from management. Regardless, Davis entered camp this season slimmed down and in the best shape of his NBA career. Although he didn't get the extension he had hoped for, he is still hungry to show all that he is one of the elite players in the NBA.
Jordan Farmar, Los Angeles Lakers: Farmar earned the trust of Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson, who doesn't normally play rookies major minutes, to star in a significant role on the Lakers squad last season. While Smush Parker is no longer with the team, the Lakers added veteran point guard Derek Fisher and first-round draft choice Javaris Crittenton to the team. With one season of the triangle offense under his belt, Farmar will look to solidify his minutes in the Lakers' rotation.
Dan Gadzuric, Milwaukee Bucks: With Andrew Bogut starting at center, the Bucks hope Gadzuric can continue to provide solid back-up minutes. The athletic big man averaged 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds last season for Milwaukee.
Ryan Hollins, Charlotte Bobcats: Hollins split time between the Bobcats and the NBDL last season. The Bobcats love his size and athleticism. In 27 games with the Bobcats he averaged 2.4 points and 1.1 rebounds.
Jason Kapono, Toronto Raptors: Kapono, the reigning three-point champion, left the Miami Heat and signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the Raptors during the offseason. Kapono shot a career-high 51.4% from beyond the three-point arc last season and averaged 10.9 points a game. He will be battling Carlos Delfino, another Toronto offseason acquisition for minutes at the wing this season.
Darrick Martin, Toronto Raptors: Martin is the dean of all active former Bruins in the NBA. He will start his 13th year in the league when the Raptors open the season. Martin will be looked upon to provide guidance to young point-guards T.J Ford and Jose Calderon.
Jelani McCoy, Denver Nuggets: Yes, he's back. After an impressive summer league stint, McCoy has been invited to the Nuggets training camp. He has been out of the league for the past two seasons. While he's a long shot to make the team, Bruin NBA video game enthusiasts are just giddy to have another big man to add to their UCLA team roster.
Andre Patterson, Los Angeles Lakers: Patterson, who played two years for UCLA before transferring to Tennessee, was with the Lakers' NBDL team last season.
Earl Watson, Seattle Supersonics: While the point-guard situation in Seattle is even more unsettled with the addition of Delonte West to the Watson-Luke Ridnour mixture, Watson feels more at peace and positive this season. Watson credits the hiring of new head coach P.J Carlesimo with the new team outlook.
(photo credit: NBA)
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