How Will Former Texas Longhorns Fare in the NBA Playoffs?
The University of Texas has produced some outstanding basketball players who went on to establish special legacies in the National Basketball Association. Next month, seven Longhorns will travel to Orlando with hopes of competing for the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
If healthy, the Pacers are a team to look out for as the NBA finishes it’s season in Orlando. Their schedule includes playing the 76ers, as well as the Miami Heat twice. Myles Turner will be a key part in this Pacers’s offense to finish the season. As a versatile center, the former Longhorn will look to put up points in and out of the paint. He stretches the court with his ability to shoot outside the perimeter, and features a deep mid range shot in his arsenal.
Cory Joseph, Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings’s hopes are quite slim for clinching an NBA playoff spot. They are 3.5 games behind the eighth seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Cory Joseph isn’t a star by any means, yet he carries great energy on the defensive side of the ball and offers clutch shooting.
DJ Augustin, Orlando Magic
The Magic currently hold the eighth seed in the eastern conference, yet have potential to quietly sneak into a playoff spot. The seventh seeded Brooklyn Nets will be without Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Deandre Jordan for the playoff push, allowing Orlando to possibly jump them in the standings. DJ Augustin plays an important role as the sixth/seventh man in the Magic’s rotation. On the season, he is averaging 11 points and 25 minutes per game.
P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets
The Rockets are easily one of the most intriguing teams in the league right now. Featuring a monstrous backcourt in James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Rockets are able to run and gun with the small ball rotation. P.J. Tucker, who is now the starting center, plays an imperative role for this Rockets team. As an extremely undersized big-man, he is easily the best defender on the Rockets roster. Leading the league in corner three point percentage at 57.8 percent, Tucker is a reliable starter in this dark-horse team.
Kevin Durant & Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets
At six games ahead of the ninth seeded Wizards, the Nets are guaranteed to at least clinch a play in game. However, without Durant or Kyrie playing, as well as being in a transitionary period with the coaching staff, things will be difficult. Moreover, with Deandre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie unlikely to participate in the games in Orlando after having tested positive for COVID-19. As for Jarrett Allen, the loss of Deandre Jordan is a major boost for his playing time. He is already a very solid player for the Nets team, especially on the defensive side, and his presence will be very valuable to the team as they face a tough schedule of playoff caliber opponents.
Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans Pelicans
One of the most interesting teams in the second half of the season with a young core that continues to develop, the Pelicans are only 3.5 games away from the eight seed and will be fighting alongside three other teams to catch up with the Grizzlies. Luckily for them, NOLA has probably the easiest remaining schedule out of any of the 22 teams in Orlando. Paired alongside Zion Williamson’s explosive start to his rookie season, Jaxon Hayes will look to use his fresh legs to make plays on both ends of the floor. For a so called “project player”, Hayes has been able to produce respectable numbers during his rookie season (averaging 7.5 points and 17 minutes). A product of the lack of depth the Pelicans have at center, expect Hayes to continue to provide his team valuable minutes as an athletic rim runner.