The NBA season is officially underway, so let’s take a quick look at how some of the notable former WCC players in the association fared in their first official games of the year.
Oct 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova (8) dribbles against the Milwaukee Bucks at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 106-100. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: It’s going to be interesting to see how Dellavedova fares after ending up a part of one of the biggest offseason storylines. Dellavedova was an awesome story for the Cavaliers last year going from a unheralded prospect to a team leader and legitimate NBA player. His outlook for this season changed dramatically however when the Cavaliers became the new super team in the NBA luring Lebron James back to Cleveland and then acquiring Kevin Love.
Not surprisingly, all eyes were on James, Love, and Kyrie Irving and not Dellavedova when the Cavaliers opened their season against the Knicks Thursday night. Dion Waiters are Irving got the start at the guard positions and saw most of the minutes. However Dellavedova looks like he will play a key role as well. He played 18 minutes off the bench and was the only other guard to see playing time besides the starters.
He made the most of his time on the court posting a +/- of +6 which was best on the team. In fact only two players posted a positive +/- for the Cavaliers in the loss. Dellavedova went 2-3 and finished with 6 points and 3 assists. He’s still showing the same shooting and play-making ability he did last year, and it was good to see him doing well in a big game with a lot of attention on it. He should continue playing a key role right of out gate.
Oct 19, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) drives the lane during the first quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
BOSTON CELTICS: Olynyk had a good season last year, helped by the fact that the Celtics were in rebuilding mode. It helped him get a lot of minutes, and he is already a seasoned NBA player in his second season. Olynyk started and played almost 30 minutes in a convincing victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. He led the team with 19 points on 8-14 shooting. It was an impressive feat as eight Celtics hit double figures.
He also picked up six rebounds and only committed one turnover, so it was about as good a season debut as anyone could hope for. Oylnyk really has a great chance to continue to develop into a good professional player, and he will continue to get a lot of minutes to get experience. The Celtics are juggling to get a lot of young guys minutes, so it was nice to see Olynyk get a lot of playing time even with nine players all clocking over 10 minutes of playing time.
Apr 14, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Sacre (50) shoots during the first half against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES LAKERS: The Lakers are already off to a rough start having lost Steve Nash and Julius Randle to injuries, and they may in for another down year after losing in their first two games. But injuries can create opportunities for other players, and it might help the numbers of Sacre even though he doesn’t play at the positions where the Lakers lost players.
Sacre will probably continue to stay near the end of the Lakers bench, but he got 12 minutes in the most recent loss to the Phoenix Suns, and he went 2-4 scoring six points. He didn’t do much else, but it was an encouraging sign. Kobe Bryant put up 31 points in the same game, so the ceiling is only so high for any other player including Sacre. But with Pau Gasol gone and no major names in the froncourt, maybe it’s finally Sacre’s chance to take the next step.
Oct 10, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Brandon Davies (0) looks for a rebound against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the fourth quarter at Target Center. The Timberwolves win 116-110. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: Brandon Davies had a great game in the 76ers loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. He only played 18 minutes off the bench, put he was putting up shots all over and finished with 12 points on 5-11 shooting. He looked better than heralded prospect Nerlens Noel who started and played 35 minutes but finished with just 6 points in 2-11 shooting.
One game won’t cause any controversy over who is going to start, but Davies outshined Noel completely on opening night. Noel might be quickly on his way to being a bust, but if he continues to struggle and Davies performs well maybe Davies can muscle his way into some more playing time. But for like a lot of the above guys, Davies is getting plenty of minutes off the bench to show his stuff.
Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) reacts to a play during the third quarter against the Miami Heat in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
AUSTIN DAYE AND PATTY MILLS,
SAN ANTONIO SPURS: Both Daye and Mills did not play in the dramatic one point victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Mills played a key role on last year’s championship team and will see plenty of time so that’s not an issue. Daye meanwhile has never lived up to his status as a top draft pick, and he’s on his fourth NBA team as he tries to find a place with the Spurs.
While he didn’t play in the opener, everyone knows the Spurs are an aging team. Guys will need time off, and I don’t doubt both Daye and the Spurs are hoping he can rise to the task of giving them quality minutes so their core players can rest. It’s a good situation for him to try and resurrect his career, so it’s worth watching.