Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Ranking the UConn Alumni in the NBA
2. Ray Allen. 14.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg. There should be a statue of Ray Allen built right next to Jim Calhoun’s in Storrs. He is everything you want out of a player. He has an incredible work ethic, is humble, gives back to the community, and gives it his all out on the court, but he has slipped to number two on the list because of his age. He battled with bone spurs at the tail end of the season which hurt his numbers. He then switched teams to the Celtics rival, Miami Heat.
3. Caron Butler. 12 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.2 apg. With a change of scenery, Butler joined the new look Clippers. His size and athleticism creates mismatches and he has become a legitimate 20 point scorer. He has had the unfortunate injury bug plague him again this past season and had derailed what was looking to be a bounce back season from his knee injury. But he showed tremendous toughness and played with a broken hand through the playoffs. Now that's "Tough Juice".
4. Ben Gordon. 12.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.4 apg. The Detroit experiment didn’t work and Gordon struggled to find his role on a team that was poorly put together. Consistency was hard to come by for Ben and his scoring numbers were all over the place. He was dealt to the Bobcats in the off season where he looks to be used more readily. He has all the tools to be a super star but just hasn't put it all together in one whole season.
5. Kemba Walker. 12.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.4 apg. The strike shortened season didn’t help Walker and he struggled out of the gate to get minutes behind Augustine, but once he was asserted into the starting lineup, he flourished. He is one of the best UConn Alumni to play the pick and roll and should have a great sophomore campaign on a yet again struggling franchise.
6. Emeka Okafor. 9.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg, .9 apg. Okafor is the most consistent UConn Alumni on the list. Teammates know what they are going to get from him each and every game. He is a double-double machine and is the best UConn Alumni on defense and rebounding. He was shipped over to the Wizards were he should stabilize a what was the laughing stock of the NBA last year.
7. Rip Hamilton. 11.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3 apg. It was supposed to Hamilton’s bounce back year from the mess he left in Detroit, but his body didn’t go along with the plan. He struggled to get on the floor and when he finally did Derek Rose got injured. Rip did produce when he was out there but it was to little and way to late and the NBA's top seed lost in the first round of the Playoffs.
8. Charlie Villanueva. 7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, .5 apg. Villanueva has all the talent in the world but has yet to put it all together into a single season. He can score in a multitude of ways but doesn’t play defense and gets himself mired on the bench. He's slowly being regulated to a bench player that gets starter minutes only if there is an injury.
9. A.J. Price. 3.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 2 apg. Price did a good job as back up point guard in Indiana, but wasn’t trusted enough to warrant big minutes. He is a smart player and can knock down the outside shot, but he isn’t fast enough or strong enough to beat out others on the depth chart. He signed with the Wizards which will give him the minutes he needs to prove himself.
10. Andre Drummond. While his UConn career was short lived, Drummond has a tremendous upside. He’ll come in and be that Ben Wallace type of shot blocker and rebounder right away and anything he gives Detroit offensively will be icing. He’ll get the minutes he needs to succeed, but the Pistons are in rebuilding mode.
11. Jeremy Lamb. He is more of an offensive threat than Drummond, but he’s on a Rockets team that won’t give him the minutes that Drummond will assuredly get. Houston put all their marbles into getting Dwight Howard and now that they lost out, they have a mix of talented and young players that they might look to bundle for a potential star.
12. Jerome Dyson. 7.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2 apg. Dyson is a great story. He persevered through the D-League and found a home in New Orleans with the Hornets. It didn’t last long and was traded to the Suns where he hopes to catch on as a point guard.
13. Hasheem Thabeet. 1.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg. Thabeet is still looking for the consistency to his offensive game to warrant playing time. His size doesn’t give him the advantage he had in college and he never developed a post game which is necessity for a big man. He’s on his third team and needs to produce or this could be his last shot.
Jeff Adrien: He is currently playing in Russia after having a good year with Houston. He plays for the BC Khimki squad but is looking for a home again in the NBA, but will always be that undersized player looking over his shoulder for a replacement.
Hilton Armstrong: Armstrong left a job with Atlanta to play overseas due to the lockout and is looking for a way back in to the NBA. He played in the NBA summer camps.
Marcus Williams. Since leaving the Grizzlies in 2012, Marcus has been on his third European team. His prospects of getting back into the NBA are slim.