The NBA season tipped off last Tuesday and currently there are six former Buckeyes on NBA rosters. Each week throughout the season we'll give you a quick update on what the previous week was like for the former Bucksketballers.
After getting swept in the Western Conference Finals by the Spurs last season, most of the core of the Grizzlies team returns. The biggest change that the Grizzlies and Conley will have to deal with is the change at head coach, where Dave Joerger takes over for Lionel Hollins. Memphis has split the first two games they've played this season, winning both their home games but losing the two times they've hit the road so far. So far this season Conley has dished out at least seven assists in three of Memphis' first four games, After finishing near the top of the NBA in steals last year Conley's ball-hawking ways have continued as he's collected at least two steals in three of the four games so far. It'll be interesting to see if Conley continues to take more of a scoring role for the Grizzlies, as he's averaging 18.8 points/game so far, which is four points/game better than any season average he has had in his six years in the NBA.
Kosta Koufos - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies
One of the additions for the Grizzlies in the offseason was the pickup of Kosta Koufos from Denver. While Koufos was a starter for Denver last year, he doesn't figure to hold the same role with Marc Gasol already occupying the center position in Memphis. Koufos though will be a quality option to give Gasol a rest or fill-in if Gasol gets into foul trouble. In four games this season Koufos is averaging about 15 minutes/game for the Grizzlies. The best game in terms of production for Kosta came in the loss to Dallas on Saturday night, where he registered 7 points and 8 rebounds (6 of them on the offensive glass) in the 17 minutes he was on the floor. The Grizzlies will need some solid play off the bench this season from Koufos if they want to make another deep playoff run.
While many thought that Philadelphia was going to be in the mix to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this year, they have surprised so far this season, winning three of the first four games they've played so far. One of the reasons for the early success for the 76ers has been the play of Evan Turner. While it sounds as if it's going to be Turner's last season in Philadelphia, he's making the most of it so far, averaging 21.8 points/game through four games. ET is going to have to take more of a leadership role this season if the 76ers want to continue their success, as there are only three players on the Philadelphia roster that have been in the league longer than Turner. Just keep on dunking on LeBron and you'll be alright in this league, Evan.
After missing the first game of the season due to his offseason legal issues, Sullinger returned to a Boston team that doesn't look like they'll win many games this season. The good news is that might mean more playing time for the second-year player, and so far this season his minutes have increased in each of the three games he's played. The best game for Sullinger came against Memphis on Monday when he scored 16 points and pulled down 5 rebounds. Sullinger must have been trying to show off to the two former Buckeyes on the Grizzlies, by hitting two three-pointers in the game, which doubles the total number of three-pointers he hit last season. Shoud Sullinger keep playing like he did against Memphis, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him get some starts for the lowly Celtics soon.
In the offseason Mullens moved from the Bobcats to the Clippers, and I'm pretty sure that after three games in Los Angeles he has already experienced more wins than he did in his two years in Charlotte. Mullens will have a similar role to Kosta Koufos' in Memphis, coming off the bench to spell DeAndre Jordan at the center position. In the blowout win against the Rockets on Monday night, Mullens saw 15 minutes of floor time but poured in 12 points, which quadrupled what he had scored in the previous two games to start the season. I'm sure Mullens will take the decrease in minutes that he'll see in Los Angeles in exchange for the wins and possible deep playoff run that he wouldn't get in Charlotte.
While Miami did sprinkle in a little bit of Greg Oden during the preseason, we have yet to see him take the floor during the regular season this year. This shouldn't be a surprise though, as the Heat plan to ease Oden into work, and who can blame them after he hasn't been on the court in the regular season for four years. It'll be interesting to see when Oden makes his first appearance for the Heat and how much they use him as the season moves on. We'll keep you updated on Oden's progress throughout the season, and are just happy that it looks like he'll be back on the court again.