Happy NBA opening day! It’s time to check in on those representing SU in the Association. Seven former Syracuse players are on professional rosters for the start of this season.
Carmelo Anthony- Houston Rockets
Melo is on the move again. The ten-time all-star was dumped by the Thunder after Anthony posted career-lows in points and field goal percentage. Now he’s joining forces with the Western Conference finalists Houston Rockets and his good friend Chris Paul. Anthony is being paid the veterans minimum. Melo is expected to come off the bench for Houston, which would end his streak of 1,054 games started.
Jerami Grant- Oklahoma City Thunder
Grant’s strong season secured the bag for him this offseason. The Thunder antied up a three-year $27 million dollar extension after Grant had an efficient season off the bench. The second round pick is currently behind Patrick Patterson on the OKC depth chart, but the 24 year-old will have ample opportunity to win the starting job mid-season.
Michael Carter-Williams- Houston Rockets
M.C.W. enters his sixth year as a pro on his fifth different team. Carter-Williams has already played for the 76ers, Bucks, Bulls and Hornets. This season he’ll serve as Chris Paul’s backup in Houston. The 6’ 6” point guard will always have a place in the league for his perimeter defense and passing ability.
Dion Waiters- Miami Heat
After signing a four-year $52 million dollar deal two summers ago, Waiters had to sit out most of last season after undergoing ankle surgery. He’s listed as inactive to start the season, still recovering from the surgery. This makes Waiters one of the biggest wildcards for the upcoming season. Heat fans, frustrated by last season, expect Waiters to begin earning his hefty paycheck. He averaged over 15 points per game two seasons ago.
Wesley Johnson- New Orleans Pelicans
This morning, Johnson was traded from the Clippers to the Pelicans in exchange for Alexis Ajinca. New Orleans needed to add to its wing depth. Johnson and his above average defense is a good fit. The one-and-done former Orange joins E’twaun Moore as one of Alvin Gentry’s options at small forward.
Malachi Richardson- Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have a slew of talented small forwards. It’s hard to see Richardson’s place in the rotation with C.J. Miles, Norman Powell and OG Anunoby all ahead of him on the depth chart. The talented three-point shooter might have to spend some time in the G-league this season.
Tyler Lydon- Denver Nuggets
The most recent SU graduate on this list is entering his second season. As a rookie, Lydon played in the G-league before suffering a season-ending torn labrum after 16 games. He says he’s added 15 pounds in the offseason, but he’ll have to battle behind Paul Millsap and Trey Lyles for playing time.
Tyley Ennis and Andrew White III played NBA minutes last season, but both signed overseas this offseason. White is playing in a Turkish league with the Afyonkarahisar Belediye. Ennis is also playing in Turkey, but his Fenerbahce Istanbul club is part of the larger Euroleague.