Periodically, one of our interns, Travis Waldron, gives updates on UK players in the NBA. Here is the most recent version:
Derek Anderson, Charlotte
Anderson is hoping 2007 will start much better than 2006 ended. After being picked up by the Bobcats in late November, Anderson never got comfortable. Unfortunately, he probably shouldn’t hold his breath. Anderson scored 7 points on December 30th against Indiana, but he logged 10 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals in a blowout loss to Orlando in his second game of ’07. It was his first double-digit scoring game since December 3.
Rajon Rondo, Boston
No one really knows what is holding Rondo back–is it the attitude his Kentucky coaches and teammates complained about, or was he not quite ready for the NBA? Whatever it is, Rondo isn’t producing. At least he’s finally getting in the game now. He’s played double digit minutes four times since Christmas, but he’s still not getting the minutes he did early on. He played arguably the best game of his career on New Year’s Eve, tallying 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals on 6-9 shooting in 28 minutes. Alas, he followed it by scoring 2 points in 12 minutes, no points in 6 minutes and no points in 7 minutes after the turn of the year.
Chuck Hayes, Houston
Hayes isn’t a prolific scorer and never has been, and he’s not going to impress anyone with outstanding athletic ability, high-flying dunks or unbelievable shooting. Still, he’s not only sticking in the NBA, he’s becoming one of the most consistent role players in the league. He’s averaging 6.8 rebounds a game, good for second on the team despite the fact that he’s sixth on the team in minutes. He’s now up to 14th in the NBA in rebounds per 48 minutes and leads Houston in shooting percentage. If the Yao-less Rockets want to make a run at the postseason, Hayes’ steady production has to continue.
Nazr Mohammed, Detroit
Mohammed isn’t giving Detroit the minutes they got out of Ben Wallace, but he has been productive in the 20 minutes a game he is playing. Mohammed turned up the heat around the holidays, having a four game stretch in which he had two double-doubles and was in double figures in all four games. The highlight of his season was the 18 point, 14 rebound game that capped that stretch, including the 8 offensive rebounds that pushed him to 3rd in the league in offensive boards per 48 minutes. He added another 15 point game in the Pistons’ loss to Chicago on Jan 6.
Tayshaun Prince, Detroit
Prince’s best season has done nothing but continue down that path. The last time he failed to score at least 10 points in consecutive games, the Democrats had just found out they took Capitol Hill. His 14.9 ppg is third on the Pistons, his career-high 6.0 rebounds leads them. His 41.4% three point shooting easily makes him Detroit’s best shooter and is also a career-high.
Antoine Walker, Miami
Though Walker had one of his best games of the season on Dec. 20 (13 pts, 8 rebs), his season has been anything but pretty. Walker has never been the shooter he thought he was, but he’s been especially bad this year. He’s shooting only 22% from behind the arc, his lowest since ’04. He’s shooting below 40% from the field for the first time since ’03. If he finishes the season at his current pace, his 7.9 ppg will be his only single digit scoring season. He hasn’t played in a game since the turn of the year. Some of Walker’s struggles can be attributed to playing on a better team where he isn’t the only real scoring option, but most of it is simply because at 30, he’s a 10 year veteran with aging legs and a broken jump shot.
Jamaal Magloire, Portland
Like Walker, Mags is struggling to regain his old form. The former All-Star doesn’t even start anymore (7 starts in 32 games) and though he’s shooting better than he did during his All-Star campaign, he’s just not getting shots. His 5.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game are his lowest season averages since his rookie season, and for the first time in his career, he’s averaging less than a block per game. Magloire made a name for himself as a rebounder and a defensive enforcer, but his production in those areas are making his three year peak in New Orleans seem more like a flash in the pan than something he can regain.
Scott Padgett, Houston
Padgett’s NBA career–or at least his stint with the Rockets–looks like it may be nearing an end. He hasn’t played in six of the past 10 games, and he’s only made 18 appearances all season. He hasn’t scored since he had 5 points on Dec. 12. Here’s hoping Scott can find a better situation in the near future. Keith Bogans, OrlandoBogans sat out seven games in mid-December but came back on Dec. 27. After playing very limited minutes and not scoring, he scored 9 points in 19 minutes in Orlando’s Dec. 30 win over Miami.
Kelenna Azubuike, Golden State Warriors
After turning into the most prolific scorer in the NBDL, Azubuike was called up last week by the Golden State Warriors. He’s instantly made an impact with the Warriors missing Jason Richardson. After a modest 4 points in his debut, he scored 15 and had 5 rebounds in 24 minutes in his second game. His highlight came on Jan. 7 when he played 31 minutes and scored 16 points.