How Virginia Players Fared In NBA This Season

The NBA concluded its regular season this past weekend and the Play-In Tournament to determine the final playoff teams has nearly finished. The playoffs begin this weekend. That’s a good time to check in on how Virginia players did in the NBA this season.

Malcolm Brogdon – Indiana Pacers

In his sixth season in the NBA, Brogdon was limited by Achilles and back injuries and only played in 36 of the Pacers 82 games. Brogdon started all 36 of those games and averaged 19.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. Albeit in a limited season, Brogdon slightly regressed in points per game from the previous season, down from 21.2, and significantly fell off when it came to his 3-point shooting, dropping from 38.8% to 31.2%, the lowest rate of his career. Brogdon’s best performance of the season came in a win against the Orlando Magic on March 2 when he put up 31 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals with just 1 turnover. The Pacers finished 13th in the Eastern Conference and lost their last 10 games of the season to finish with a. record of 25-57.

Off the court, Brogdon was re-elected as one of the vice presidents for the NBA Players Association Executive Committee for a second three-year term. Brogdon also signed a two-year extension with the Pacers for $45 million that will start with the 2023-2024 season. Next season will be the final year of his original contract with the Pacers, a 4-year, $85 million contract he signed as part of a sign-and-trade between the Pacers and the franchise that drafted him, the Milwaukee Bucks.

De’Andre Hunter – Atlanta Hawks

After playing just 23 games last season due to significant knee issues, Hunter missed less time this year. He played in 53 games, but was again limited due to injuries, this time to his ankle and wrist. When he did play, Hunter averaged 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Despite a slight decline in his scoring average from last year (15 PPG), Hunter had his best season yet from deep, shooting 37.9% from 3. Hunter’s best offensive performance came in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 3 when he shot 10-11 from the field and 6-6 from 3-point range for 26 points.

The Hawks finished ninth in the Eastern Conference at 43-39, good enough to make the Play-In Tournament. They beat the Hornets on Wednesday to keep their playoff hopes alive. Hunter was the team’s second leading scorer in that game with 22 points, shooting 9-16 from the field and 2-3 from deep. The Hawks play Cleveland on Friday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN for the 8th seed and final playoff spot in the East for a series against the top-seeded Miami Heat.

Joe Harris – Brooklyn Nets

Harris’s eighth season in the NBA was cut short after just 14 games. In the 14 games Harris played before his injury, he averaged 11.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game and shot 45.2% from the field and 46.6% from 3-point range. His best performance in his very short season came on Nov. 12 in a win against the New Orleans Pelicans when he scored 24 points, shooting 9-12 from the field and 6-8 from 3.

He was originally expected to miss just four to eight weeks after having surgery on his ankle that he injured on Nov. 14 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Unfortunately, during rehab Harris “had some flare-ups”, according to Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash. On March 3, Nets General Manager Sean Marks announced that Harris’ ankle would require an additional arthroscopic surgery that would force Harris to miss the remainder of the season. He is expected to be healthy in time for next season’s training camp.

The Nets finished 7th in the Eastern Conference and won their Play-In Tournament Game on Tuesday against Cleveland. They’ll face the second-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

Trey Murphy – New Orleans Pelicans

Murphy’s rookie season got off to a slow start as he received limited playing time for the first few months of the season. But down the stretch of the regular season, Murphy has seen an uptick in playing time and offensive production. Having scored in double digits just once nearing mid-March, Murphy exploded for 32 points and 9 rebounds, shooting 12-20 from the field and 7-12 from 3 in a loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Since that game, Murphy has been a bit inconsistent in his scoring output but has shown improvement down the stretch of his rookie season. He did lead all NBA rookies in 3-point percentage at 38.2%.

The Pelicans won their Play-In Tournament game on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs despite a limited contribution from Murphy. He played 22 minutes but shot just 1-4 from the field and 0-3 from 3 for 2 points. New Orleans will face off with the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday at 10 p.m. on ESPN for the right to the 8th seed in the West and a series against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.

Ty Jerome – Oklahoma City Thunder

In his second season with the Thunder, and third in the NBA, Jerome averaged 7.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Jerome saw his playing time decrease from 23.9 minutes per game to just 16.7. Jerome struggled on 3-pointers this year as his percentage dropped from 42.3% last year to just 29% this year. His overall field goal percentage also dropped, going from 44.6% last year to 37.8% this year. It was a tough season for the Thunder overall as they finished with a record 24-58, the fourth-worst mark in the NBA.

Jerome was forced to deal with inconsistent playing time all season, but in his best performance of the season, he played 35 minutes and produced 24 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals in a loss to the Phoenix Suns in late December.

Jerome’s season ended prematurely when he underwent a procedure to address a sports hernia. He’s expected to be fully healthy well ahead of training camp for next season.

Mamadi Diakite – Oklahoma City Thunder

After an October hip fracture, Diakite played in just 13 games for Oklahoma City this season as he only played on a series of 10-day contracts in early 2022. In those games, he averaged 4.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 14.4 minutes per game. His best performance came in a win against the Portland Trailblazers when he had 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks. Diakite is currently a free agent.

Justin Anderson – Cleveland Cavaliers/Indiana Pacers/Fort Wayne Mad Ants (G-League)

Anderson has been unable to secure a season-long contract and has therefore been playing on a series of short-term contracts this season. The first one came from the Indiana Pacers in October, but he was placed on waivers just a day later and became a free agent again two days after that. He then signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers on a 10-day deal in December. Eventually, the Pacers signed him again three more separate times to 10-day deals. Anderson played 16 games in the NBA this season, averaging 6.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. He is currently a free agent.

Between his stints in the NBA, Anderson got significant time in the NBA G-League and produced at a high level. He averaged 27.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game while playing 37.7 minutes per game for the Indiana Pacers’ G-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Anderson put up multiple monstrous offensive performances for the Mad Ants, including a 46-point outburst against the Windy City Bulls.

Anthony Gill – Washington Wizards

After playing in the Turkish and Russian basketball leagues for a few years following his time at Virginia, Gill made his NBA debut last season with the Washington Wizards. This year, in his second season in D.C., Gill played in 44 games and averaged 4.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. While playing just 10.5 minutes per game, Gill cracked double digits in points just three times. His best game was in a win over the Brooklyn Nets when he played 26 minutes, scored 15 points, and missed just 1 of 7 shot attempts. The Wizards missed the playoffs with a record of 35-47.

This was the final year of Gill’s two-year contract with the Wizards, so he is set to become a free agent unless the team offers him a new deal. He is a well-liked member of the organization with head coach Wes Unseld Jr. saying: “He’s a workaholic, but he’s also an A-plus human being and any chance he gets to uplift somebody, he does.”

Kyle Guy – Miami Heat

Guy has yet to acquire a season-long deal in his time in the NBA. This season he signed with but never played for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was then waived and played on a pair of 10-day contracts with the Miami Heat. In mid-January, the Heat preceded to sign him to a two-way contract, which is a deal that specifies a salary based on whether the organization has him on the NBA or G-League affiliate’s roster and allows them to move the player between the two more easily. However, the Heat ended that contract on March 24 and Guy officially became a free agent again.

Guy played in 19 NBA games and 9 G-League games this season. For the Heat, he averaged 3.9 points in just 9.8 minutes per game. In the G-League, Guy averaged 19.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game in 33.8 minutes. While Guy certainly struggled for playing time with the Heat, when he was given substantial court time, he took advantage. In his first, and best, game of the year, as he was looking to prove himself to the Heat, Guy scored 17 points on 6-8 shooting from the field and 4-6 from 3 while adding 4 rebounds and 4 assists in 24 minutes.

The Heat are the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference and await the winner of Friday’s Play-In Tournament game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers, albeit with Guy no longer on the roster.

Braxton Key – Philadelphia 76ers/Detroit Pistons

Key got his first taste of NBA basketball with the Philadelphia Sixers in early January, albeit for just six minutes across two games. He was then released and eventually signed with the Detroit Pistons on a 10-day contract. On April 3, they signed him to a two-year, two-way contract. The Pistons finished the season with the third-worst record in the NBA at 23-59. Key remains on his current two-way contract for one more season.

While he was in the G-League, Key averaged 19.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.6 blocks over 24 appearances. In the NBA, for the Pistons, Key appeared in nine games and averaged 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. In April, Key has been playing well, reaching double digits in four of five games. One of his better games was in a win against the Indiana Pacers when he had 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals.

Sam Hauser – Boston Celtics

Hauser has been back and forth between the Boston Celtics and their G-League affiliate, the Maine Celtics, this season. He has played in 26 games for Boston and 13 for Maine. In the G-League, Hauser averaged 20.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. One of his best games for the Maine Celtics came in early February against the Grand Rapids Gold when he dropped 30 points while shooting 11-21 from the field and 7-13 from 3-point range. He also added 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.

However, with Boston, he has only gotten 6.1 minutes of playing time per game and is averaging just 2.5 points and 1.1 rebounds. This season was the first of a two-year contract with the Celtics, but next year’s portion is a team option. The Celtics finished second in the Eastern Conference and Hauser is on the roster for the playoffs. They will face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.

Jay Huff – Los Angeles Lakers

Huff began the season with the Washington Wizards but never made an appearance for them. Soon after, the Los Angeles Lakers signed Huff to a two-way contract. Huff made four appearances in the NBA for the Lakers and averaged just five minutes per game. He has spent the majority of his time with the Lakers G-League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers. Huff has played in 28 games for South Bay and averaged 15.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 2.4 blocks per game. In one of his better performances for South Bay, Huff led all scorers with 27 points while shooting 11-12 from the field and 1-1 from three. Huff also added 8 rebounds, 1 steal, and 3 blocks.