Five former Syracuse players begin their NBA playoff journeys this weekend.
The NBA Playoffs are set to begin Saturday and five former Syracuse players are on teams that qualified for the playoffs, with four players likely to see significant playing time. Dion Waiters and the Heat just missed out on the East’s final playoff spot due to a tiebreaker and Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks and Tyler Ennis’ Lakers missed the playoffs by a wide margin. Here is a complete list of the Syracuse players in the NBA.
Jermai Grant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Grant is likely to see real playing time in the post-season this year as he played in 78 games for the Thunder this season after he was traded from Philadelphia averaging 5.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Grant’s Thunder are set to take on the Houston Rockets in a highly-anticipated series. Grant kicks off his NBA post-season career Sunday at nine o’clock on TNT.
Wesley Johnson, Los Angeles Clippers
Johnson, who played one season for the Orange back in 2009-10, played 68 games for the Clippers, averaging just shy of 12 minutes per game. He scored 2.7 points per game this season, well under his career average of 7.5. The guard has played six career playoff games, playing in all of the Clippers’ first round games last season. He averaged 2.7 points per game in their first round defeat in 2016. The Clippers host the Utah Jazz Saturday night at 10:30 to kick off their first round series.
Michael Carter-Williams, Chicago Bulls
The man known as MCW battled injuries all season but still managed to play 45 games for his third team, averaging 6.6 points in 18.8 minutes per game. Carter-Williams played in six playoff games when he was on the Miluwakee Bucks. Interestingly, this series was against his current team, the Bulls. The eighth seeded Bulls will play the Boston Celtics with game one set for 6:30 on Sunday.
Rakeem Christmas, Indiana Pacers
The big man has bounced around between the Pacers and their D-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Fire Ants, during his first two professional seasons. However, Christmas started to play a much more constant and significant role on the Pacers in the second half of this season. After only playing one game last season, Christmas played 29 in the NBA this year, and averaged 2 points and 2 rebounds in just about seven minutes per game. The Pacers will take on the defending champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, starting Saturday at three o’clock.
Chris McCullough, Washington Wizards
It is fitting that McCullough has only played 16 NBA games this season after only playing 16 games in his entire Syracuse career. He is on the Wizards’ 15-man expanded playoff roster but very well may never see the court. He only played two games after he was dealt to the nation’s capital from the Brooklyn Nets. On the off chance he gets into the game, and you want to watch the living legend play, the Wizards begin their series against the Atlanta Hawks Sunday at one o’clock.