To be sure, it’s a small sample size. We are just weeks into the NBA season. But, while the league rolls into its 76th season, it does so without the most prominent Syracuse player of this generation. Yes, Carmelo Anthony remains without a team, something that seemed maybe a little far-fetched over the summer.
And while that may change as the season moves along, there are still a handful of former Syracuse players donning NBA uniforms as we head toward the holiday season.
Buddy Boeheim. Well, after signing a two-way contract with the Detroit Pistons over the summer, Boeheim has checked off “appearing in an NBA game” from his career checklist. But, he is still waiting to add any counting stats to his resume. On October 21, Boeheim registered one minute of action, but didn’t attempt a shot, record a rebound, dish out an assist or anything else…a clean minute! At some point, Boeheim may get more of an opportunity to show what he can do on the NBA stage, as the Pistons have gotten out of the gates at 3-9 and are looking to see what young pieces might be able to help them in the future.
Oshae Brissett. The Indiana Pacers have started the season at 5-6, better than most expected from the rebuilding team. Give plenty of credit to Tyrese Haliburton, who has flourished since coming over from the Sacramento Kings at last season’s trade deadline. As it pertains to Brissett, though, he has played in six of the first 11 games, averaging 8.5 minutes in those games. In his time with the Pacers, it has been shown that he is one injury away from logging major minutes. Last season, he averaged over 23 minutes in 67 games (25 starts) and, in April, he averaged 17.8 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Jerami Grant. Beginning his first season in Portland after an offseason trade from the Detroit Pistons, Grant has helped jumpstart the Trail Blazers to a 8-3 record. Grant is the one former Syracuse player who is truly contributing to his team right now, averaging 18.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Portland has its sights set on getting back into the playoffs and Grant certainly will help put their best foot forward as one of Damian Lillard’s sidekicks.
Cole Swider. Swider saw his first NBA action in the Los Angeles Lakers’ opener against the Golden State Warriors. Coming in late in the contest, Swider played two minutes and missed his only 3-point attempt. Right after that, he was sidelined with a stress fracture in his right foot and will be re-evaluated in mid-November. As one of the few Lakers who possesses accurate long-range shooting, Swider could have been (and could still be once healthy) looked at as a contributor for a 2-9 Lakers team in desperate need of shooting.