The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, changing the roles of several players who used to don the Syracuse orange in their college days.
Let’s check on the latest from the former SU players who now earn paychecks in the best basketball league in all the land:
Carmelo Anthony. Since we last checked in on Melo and the Los Angeles Lakers, they have lost three straight games before defeating the Jazz on Wednesday, and have gone just 3-7 in their last 10 games. They now reside in ninth place in the Western Conference standings and it looks like they may be lucky to stay in the play-in conversation.
Anthony has been absent of late, having missed the last six games with a hamstring injury. Still, in 50 games, Anthony has stayed about as consistent as one can be, averaging 13.4 points per game, the same average as he had in two of the three seasons prior.
Oshae Brissett. Well, the expected fire sale in Indianapolis took place. Caris LeVert: gone. Domantas Sabonis: see ya later. Among the incoming players of note, Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield made their way from Sacramento in exchange for Sabonis.
With the Pacers officially in rebuilding mode, Brissett’s audition is now. And if he continues to play the way he has, the part of starting forward may be his before long.
He has gotten extended minutes in the last five games, averaging over 32 minutes a contest. He has drawn starts in the last four games, and has been in double digit scoring in three of them. In a win over the Wizards on Wednesday, Brissett finished with 17 points, six rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes. Yeah, I’d say he’s taking advantage of the opportunity.
Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams has still yet to see the floor for Orlando this season. And now, he finds himself without a team. After the Orlando Magic traded for Bol Bol and P.J. Dozier, the Magic waived Carter-Williams to make room for those two. It remains to be seen whether Carter-Williams will be healthy enough to sign with a team and take the floor this season.
Jerami Grant. To the surprise of some around the league, Grant stayed put in Detroit following the NBA trade deadline. He was being dubbed the “biggest difference-maker” among all the players available leading up to the deadline. With Grant remaining with the Pistons, he may have to adjust to playing second fiddle to No. 1 overall draft pick, Cade Cunningham. More and more each day, Cunningham begins to take over the reigns as the biggest building block for Dwane Casey’s team.
Meanwhile, Grant has averaged 15.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 29.5 minutes per game in nine February games. He still is trying to find his rhythm a bit after returning from a thumb injury, though he certainly looked like he regained in touch as he poured in 24 points in just 29 minutes in a win over Boston on Wednesday.
Those who hoped Grant would find a new home may have to wait until the offseason for those talks to rekindle.
Elijah Hughes. Hughes was the one player that changed uniforms in the days leading up to the trade deadline. Utah sent Hughes to Portland in a three-team deal. With the Jazz looking to be a team that contends for a championship this season, Hughes got moved to the Blazers, a team looking to re-tool/rebuild around injured star Damian Lillard.
So, while it hasn’t led to great opportunities, Hughes has seen double-digit minutes in the three games since being traded. In those games, he has totaled seven points and eight rebounds in 43 minutes on 3-of-17 shooting.
While those are not earth-shattering numbers, they are encouraging. All season long, Hughes had only played in 14 games for Utah and saw double-digit minutes in just four of them. Now, in Portland, he’s 3-for-3 at getting more than 10 minutes.