NBA training camps will open up by the end of the month and the regular season begins on Oct. 18. As the next NBA season approaches, there is a sprinkling of former Syracuse players spread out around the league and a couple hanging out on the periphery. Here’s what their prospects are for the upcoming season.
Carmelo Anthony. Currently, Anthony is not on a roster. But, there are a number of teams that could use a floor-spacing power forward who can spark an offense off the bench.
The Boston Celtics signed Danilo Gallinari in the offseason, hoping he would provide many of the same traits Anthony possesses. But, after Gallinari tore his ACL playing for Italy this summer, Anthony seems like a logical replacement for the Eastern Conference representative in last season’s NBA Finals. The Chicago Bulls could also use some frontcourt depth and some outside shooting. Either New York team could be a possibility, too.
The last two seasons, Anthony has averaged over 13 points per game in about 25 minutes per game off the bench for Portland and the Los Angeles Lakers
Buddy Boeheim. Under the supervision of general manager Troy Weaver and assistant general manager Rob Murphy, both former Syracuse assistant coaches, Boeheim seems to be in good hands in Detroit. On a two-way contract, Boeheim will get a chance to prove that he can be a suitable 3-point threat for the Pistons. He led the ACC in scoring (19.2 PPG) during his senior season and finished his Syracuse career behind only 12 former Orange players on the all-time scoring list.
Oshae Brissett. Don’t look now, but with 88 games under his belt in Indiana, Brissett is the fourth-most tenured Pacer on the roster this year, behind Lance Stephenson, Myles Turner and TJ McConnell. Brissett has averaged just under 10 points per game for Indiana over the last two seasons. As the Pacers rebuild around their backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathdurin, Brissett should continue to see 20 minutes a game as a rotation player for Rick Carlisle.
Jerami Grant. Beginning his first season in Portland, Grant is the headliner of former Syracuse players in the NBA these days. Grant joins Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little and Jusuf Nurkic (all returning from last season) in the Blazers’ starting lineup. But, he joins a team that won just 27 games last season and finished 13th in the Western Conference.
Portland will hope that the addition of Grant (19 PPG, 36 percent shooting from deep), along with Gary Payton II, rookie Shaedon Sharpe and a healthy Lillard will be good enough to get them back into the playoffs.
Elijah Hughes. There is a possibility that former Syracuse players unite in Portland. But for now, Hughes remains unsigned. Hughes finished out last season with Portland after coming over in a trade from Utah. In 22 games with the Blazers, Hughes averaged 3.8 points in 14.6 minutes.
Cole Swider. Last year Los Angeles Lakers roster was old and it lacked reliable consistent outside shooting. In the offseason, the Lakers lost deep threats Malik Monk, Carmelo Anthony and Avery Bradley. Enter Swider, who parlayed his 41 percent shooting from beyond the arc in his lone season at Syracuse into a two-way contract with Los Angeles. He then followed that up by averaging 15.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in five games in the Las Vegas Summer League.
He shot better than 50 percent from deep on 7.6 attempts per game in Vegas. Los Angeles has a history of utilizing undrafted players, developing guys like Alex Caruso and Austin Reaves in recent years. Swider could be the next.