March is typically a month reserved for madness in the college game. But, with Syracuse on hiatus from the NCAA Tournament, let’s instead take a peek at how its former players are faring in the NBA…
Carmelo Anthony. The Los Angeles Lakers’ record has continued to take a tailspin since our last check-in, having gone 5-8 since they had lost seven of nine. They now sit 10 games below .500 (31-41) and remain ninth in the Western Conference, just one game ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans. So, while they look like they will still be a member of the play-in tournament, their seeding may continue to slide.
As far as Anthony, March has been the third month this season in which he has averaged between 13 and 14 points per game. He has scored in double figures in 9 of 11 March games, averaging 13.6 points per game.
He still remains a veteran scorer off the bench that Los Angeles will look towards to try to make some sort of playoff push next month.
Oshae Brissett. Brissett has continued to take advantage of the available frontcourt minutes following the Domantas Sabonis trade.
Since the trade on Feb. 9, Brissett has averaged 29.6 minutes per game for the Pacers. In those 16 games, Brissett has scored 12.8 points per contest, adding seven rebounds a game.
In his first two seasons in the NBA, he played in just 40 games, starting 16 of them. This season alone, Brissett has played in 59 games and started 17.
Albeit on a bad team, Brissett has found a role in Indiana.
Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams has still yet to step foot on an NBA floor this season. After being released by the Orlando Magic around the trade deadline, MCW has not been able to find a new team. In a season with a record number of 10-day contracts, Williams has not been healthy enough to get another opportunity.
Jerami Grant. The former Orange forward was out of rhythm after a return from injury in February. In 12 February games, Grant’s scoring average was just 16.5 points per game. He shot just 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
March has been a different story, though. His scoring average rose to 22 points per game in nine March contests. His percentages are back up, too, as he has shot 47 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range. His month, to this point, has culminated with a season-high, 40-point effort Saturday against Cleveland.
With a report coming out this week that the Portland Trail Blazers (among others, one would assume) plan to go hard after Grant in the offseason, it seems hard to believe Grant will remain a Piston next season. Detroit, at 19-53, is tied with Orlando for the worst record in the Eastern Conference and is once again in the running for the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s draft.
There doesn’t appear to be a need for a veteran on a rebuilding team, at least not when that veteran can get the Pistons a couple decent assets returning to them in a trade.
Elijah Hughes. Speaking of Portland, that’s where Hughes landed after the trade deadline. In a disappointing season, the Trail Blazers have lost Damian Lillard (injury) and C.J. McCollum (trade), the two foundation pieces of the franchise, along with Jusuf Nurkic (injury). Fresh names like Josh Hart, Justise Winslow and Anfernee Simons have become the top dogs on the roster (until Lillard returns next season or is traded).
In his first eight games in Portland, Hughes averaged almost 16 minutes per night, totaling 21 points and 19 rebounds.
Over the last five games, Hughes has managed to play just 32 minutes total. However, he’s actually been able to score 18 points in that span, with eight points against the Hawks and and seven points in just six minutes against Detroit on Monday.
Hughes played in 18 games in his 2020-21 rookie season. So far this season, he has appeared in 27 games between Utah and Portland. With 11 games left, Hughes could be looking at a season in which he played in nearly half the games, more than two times as many as he did in his freshman NBA campaign.