While the Virginia Cavaliers basketball season is still a few weeks away, former Wahoos in the NBA have already kicked off their respective seasons and a number of guys have already put together impressive performances.
Malcolm Brogdon, Celtics
In his first regular season game with the Boston Celtics, Brogdon embraced his role as the team’s sixth man as he scored 16 points on 7-11 shooting (0-2 from deep, 2-2 from the line), dishes out four assists, grabbed two rebounds, and had two steals in just 24 minutes. He provided a spark for the C’s off the bench against the Philadelphia 76ers and provided an x-factor for the team as they handled Philly 126-117.
After a number of seasons as the leading man, it’s honestly refreshing to see Brogdon in a new role in Boston. He’s got the potential to make a run for sixth man of the year and should be incredibly effective in a role with slightly less volume of responsibility. Ideally, the fewer minutes he’ll play will limit the injury issues which have plagued him throughout his seven year NBA career. Throw in the opportunity to compete for an NBA Champion with the reigning Eastern Conference Champs, and this seems like the perfect fit for “The President” even after just one game.
Of note, Sam Hauser got three minutes for the Celtics against Philadelphia, but his only recorded stat was a personal foul.
Just days after signing his massive four year, $95 million extension with the Atlanta Hawks, Hunter gave the team evidence that they made the right decision as he enters his fourth season hoping for the breakout season which has eluded him in years two and three.
One of four 20-point scorers for Atlanta against the Houston Rockets, Hunter scored 22 points on 10-15 shooting (1-3 from three, 1-2 from the line), corralled three rebounds, had a steal, and logged the team’s second highest plus/minus with his +12 in 32 minutes only behind Trae Young’s +16 in 38.
Really liked how confident De'Andre Hunter was stepping into his spots in mid range last night. While his handle's inhibited getting there at times, I think he has upside to be one of the NBA's better shooters from ~15 feet. He can be a weapon around the elbows late in games. pic.twitter.com/alLLU4foYc— AKelly (@andlankell) October 20, 2022
If Hunter can continue to flourish as a scorer this season, that would be a massive development for an Atlanta team that regressed last season after making the Eastern Conference Championship in 2021 while Hunter was injured. With Dejounte Murray joining the team and providing more firepower in the backcourt, some of the attention will shift off of Hunter and should give him more chances to have big games just like this.
The fourth Wahoo to play so far this season, second year Trey Murphy carried his hot preseason shooting into the regular season last night. In the New Orleans Pelicans’ 22-point win over the Joe Harris-less Brooklyn Nets, Murphy came off the bench to score 16 points on 5-7 shooting (4-6 from three, 2-3 from the line), grab nine (including four on offense) rebounds, notch two assists, and a steal in his 24 minutes of play.
ahem...— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 20, 2022
"IT'S TRIGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" pic.twitter.com/Oe1r3dfcLP
The leading minutes getter for Pelicans off the bench, Murphy could realistically be New Orleans’ sixth man. And that’s exciting as he appears set for a breakout sophomore season in the NBA with a young team led by Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and CJ McCollum that is set to make real noise in the East.
Assuming Murphy continues to hit shots from deep (which is an apt assumption), he’s going to have a lot of performances just like this one throughout the 2022-2023 season. He’s got the teammates who can create looks for him and his range will surprise opponents who are more keyed in on the Pelicans’ more established stars.