Three of the five Buckeyes that are in now in the NBA will be participating in the playoffs, while Evan Turner and Byron Mullens will be watching the action from home. The only thing that Mike Conley, Daequan Cook, and Kosta Koufos now have to worry about heading into the start of the playoffs next weekend is the seeding of their teams. One currently Buckeye that will be attempting to join this list next season is Deshaun Thomas. On Friday, the junior announced that he is making himself eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft.
Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies: The month of April has been good to Mike Conley so far, as for the first time in his career he has scored at least 20 points in four straight games. With the Grizzlies being locked in a battle with the Denver Nuggets for seeding in the Western Conference, Conley has been shouldering more offensive responsibility himself lately. The formula seems to be working at the moment for the Grizzlies, as they have won three of the four games during Conley's scoring streak. Lately Conley has been more assertive in late game situations, hitting the winning layup last Monday versus the Spurs. Friday night in a 86-84 loss to the Lakers, Conley missed an attempt to send it to overtime as time expired. Sunday night Conley made the go-ahead bucket in the Grizzlies 89-87 victory with 30 seconds to go. With just over a week to go in the season, and the Grizzlies one game back of Denver for 3rd seed in the Western Conference, Memphis will need Conley to continue his hot shooting from the field.
Daequan Cook - SG - Chicago Bulls: After seeing a bump in playing time the previous week, last week saw Cook's floor time return to normal for the Bulls. Cook appeared in two of Chicago's three games last week, seeing just over five minutes in each game that he entered. In Sunday's loss to Detroit, Cook made the most of his short time on the floor, putting up four shots. The Bulls currently sit 5th in the Eastern Conference, two games behind Brooklyn for the 4th seed, and one game ahead of Atlanta. Cook's services could be needed the last week of the season, as the Bulls are really banged up right now. It would be nice to see Cook get some noticeable playing time this last week, and possibly earn him some increased playing time in the playoffs.
Kosta Koufous - F/C - Denver Nuggets: With Danilo Gallinari going down for the rest of the season with a torn ACL and Ty Lawson out indefinitely with a plantar fascia tear in his right foot, the Nuggets will need Kosta Koufos to continue doing the little things for them. While Koufos only gave the Nuggets 12 points over their three games last week, he made sure to make himself known on the boards. In Denver's 17-point win at Utah on Wednesday night, Koufos grabbed 13 rebounds. The Nuggets are now a league-best 35-3 at home, which makes the battle for seeding in the Western Conference that they are in all the more important. Denver and Koufos will have to recover quickly from the loss of their two top scorers to hold on to the home-court advantage they currently hold.
Byron Mullens - F/C - Charlotte Bobcats: Right now Byron Mullens just can't catch a break. After missing the previous five games with an ankle injury, Mullens returned for Saturday's game against Brooklyn. The return was short-lived with a bruised elbow sidelining Mullens for the rest of the game after only four minutes on the floor. With Mullens already playing with the ankle injury, I can't imagine Mullens seeing big minutes over the last week as the Bobcats limp to the finish line.
Evan Turner - G/F - Philadelphia 76ers: With the 76ers now eliminated from playoff contention, Turner is trying to do his best to help Philadelphia finish the season with a little pride. Turner notched his second double-double in the last week, putting in 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 101-90 win over Atlanta on Friday night. Late in the season Turner has found his stroke from the field, hitting over 50% from the field in five of his last six games. While they are out of the playoff loss, Philadelphia has a chance to play spoiler this week, traveling to Brooklyn on Tuesday before hosting Atlanta on Wednesday. After a dreadful March, a strong finish by Turner could give him some confidence to take into the summer and hopefully carry over into next season.