Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Ranking the UConn Alumni in the NBA
1. Ray Allen. 18 points, 3.3 boards, and 2.8 assists. He is by far UConn’s most accomplished alumni and even at his age, he is getting it done. His outside shot is still a work of art but he isn’t depending on it as much and is taking the ball to the rim. He has slowed at his late age, which is understandable, and he is having problems keeping up defensively against faster and younger guards. It will be interesting to see where Ray lands in free agency. He wants to remain a Celtic, but they might be moving to get younger.
2. Caron Butler. 19.7 points, 5.8 boards, and 1.3 assists,. Tough Juice has been through a lot this season, having to deal with the Gilbert Arenas saga and then the trade to Dallas. He has had his struggles shooting the ball lately but he is a legitimate starter on a championship caliber team. He needs to limit his turnovers, and shoot the ball better from deep, hitting only 29 percent. There has been rumors swirling around a Butler trade, but he has finally found a solid home on a title contending team. It would be a shame to see him leave.
3. Rudy Gay. 19.6 points, 5.9 boards, and 1.9 assists. He has developed into a primary scorer on the Grizzlies. He has all the tools from a consistent jumper, above the rim game, and a fourth quarter clutch shooter. His major issue is on the defensive end, where he doesn’t always play hard. He isn’t a deep threat only hitting 32 percent from beyond the arc and he needs to limit his turnovers that are at 2.1 a game. He should land a sizeable contract next year with his improved play.
4. Rip Hamilton. 18.1 points, 2.7 boards, and 4.4 assists. Rip has struggled in his role in the rebuilding of the Pistons. Trade rumors are always swirling around him, but he still has an impeccable motor and a lighting fast release. He is also one of the best defenders of the UConn Alumni. Even with missing a ton of games, he still put up solid numbers and he has been more of a distributor this past season.
5. Ben Gordon. 13.8 points, 1.9 boards, and 2.7 assists. The move to Detroit hadn’t worked out as well as Gordon and the Pistons would’ve liked, but Ben remains a solid piece off the bench that can also start. He is still one of the best offensive UConn Alumni but like Rudy Gay, his defense needs much more improvement. His shooting percentage dipped, especially from beyond the arc. He needs to find his stroke again to make Detroit a playoff caliber squad.
6. Emeka Okafor. 10.4 points, 9 boards, and 1.6 blocks. He came to the Hornets and had a disappointing season by his standards. He still was solid of the defensive end, but he never developed the chemistry with Chris Paul. The team was rattled with injuries throughout the season and floundered in the East. 10 points a game is just not going to cut it, especially with a point guard of Paul’s stature.
7. Charlie Villanueva. 11.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and .7 assists. Charlie has shown a lot more in his game and has settled into Detroit nicely. He still has plenty of growth in his game but has shown that he can be a solid piece off the bench. He has been shooting the ball better from deep but his rebounding has taken a dip from his career average of 6 a game. If he continues to improve, he could be a permanent starter.
8. A.J. Price. 7.3 points, 1.6 boards, and 1.9 assists. Price has filled in nicely as the backup point guard for the Pacers. He has shown that he can score at the next level. With the experience he earned this season, he should be more prepared and comfortable with the game speed and his role off the bench. He did a good job of shooting the ball, 41 percent, but 1.9 assists isn’t going to cut it.
9. Hasheem Thabeet. 3.1 points, 3.6 boards, and 1.3 blocks. Thabeet has always been labeled as a bust even throughout his UConn career and it hasn’t diminished at the next level. He was demoted to the D-league which fueled talk that he was already a bust, but when he returned and was given minutes, he contributed. Maybe not as much as his coaches would’ve liked, but he has always been regarded as a long term project and sometimes that doesn’t suit the short term plans that coaches are under.
10. Marcus Williams. 4.3 points, 1.5 boards, and 2.6 assists. He turned his season around with solid back up point guard play in Memphis, but has never played up to his potential. He played in 62 games at an average of 14 minutes, but his shooting wasn’t great hitting 38 percent, but his assists numbers were adequate enough to warrant another opportunity.
11. Hilton Armstrong. He was waived by the Kings and will be looking for another opportunity in the NBA. He has proved to be a solid body off the bench, but doesn’t have much of an offensive game to rely on. He isn’t athletic enough to be a full-fledged back-up and never solidified into a solid role.
12. Josh Boone. 4 points, 5 boards, and .8 blocks. Josh has dealt with injuries throughout the season and he is still a major liability at the free throw line. Boone is a solid rebounder and gets most of his points with hustle plays around rim. It is hard to imagine that he had a poorer free throw percentage then his career, down from 44 percent to 32 percent.
13. Kevin Ollie. 1.8 points, 1 board, and .8 assists. Kevin was used more for his on the court coaching then for his play. He did see action in 25 games this season but only with a sprinkling of minutes. He is winding down his 12 year career and is going to make a great coach in the future.