The NBA has passed its midway point, with all teams having played nearly 50 games so far. All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins returned to the court for the Golden State Warriors, all but ensuring that there’s no real purpose to this season. The Houston Rockets have gotten back on track despite suffering major injuries to Chris Paul and Clint Capela thanks to incredible play of superstar James Harden. The San Antonio Spurs, despite their slow start, find themselves in sixth place in the tough Western Conference. Let’s take a look at how some former Longhorns have performed in the past week.
The Golden State Warriors are winners of eight straight games, with an average victory margin of 18.5. Having two former MVPs and three other all-stars in your starting lineup tends to have that effect.
One of those former MVPs, Longhorn alumnus Kevin Durant, is having another stellar season. The nearly 7-foot tall is averaging 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists on 51 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from three and a blistering 90.4 percent from the free throw line. But despite having another MVP-caliber season, Durant’s name is barely mentioned in the discussion. In fact, Durant rarely cracks the top five in most MVP discussions this season.
The main reason for Durant’s exclusion is the MPV-level season his teammate Stephen Curry is having. Neither of the two are likely to win the award, but it won’t really matter when the Larry O’Brien trophy returns to The Bay for a third consecutive season come June.
After missing the playoffs and losing their draft picks for three consecutive seasons, the Brooklyn Nets find themselves in sixth place in the Eastern Conference after going 8–2 in their last ten games.
Former Longhorn big Jarrett Allen has played a big part in helping the Nets make a playoff push this season. Allen has had an especially good run during the Nets current play. Allen scored 20 points and pulled down a career-high 24 rebounds in the overtime win against the Rockets last week. Although he scored only six points in a two-point win against the Orlando Magic last week, Allen still grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked four shots.
Speaking of blocks, Allen has blocked stars from around the league, including James Harden, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin — not a bad list for the second-year center.
The Nets play against only three playoff teams in their next six games, so they should be able to rack up a couple more wins soon. Allen will have to continue playing well if they hope to move up in the standings.
The Orlando Magic started the season hot but have since dropped down the standings like a meteor. The Magic somehow beat the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets last week, only to lose to the Detroit Pistons in the next game. It’s no wonder the Magic find themselves sitting in the 11th-seed in the Eastern Conference.
One person who cannot be blamed for the Magic’s recent inconsistency is former Longhorn Mo Bamba. Bamba missed four games with a foot injury, but returned to action late last week to play in the two-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Bamba has averaged a shade over 7.25 points, 4.25 rebounds and 1.25 blocks in the four games he’s played since returning to the lineup. Not great numbers, but the 7-footer provides the Magic some depth.