Mountain West Alumni in the 2021-22 NBA Season

Mountain West Alumni in the 2021-22 NBA Season

Mountain West Basketball

Mountain West Alumni in the 2021-22 NBA Season

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The 75th NBA season is officially underway

As the 2021-22 NBA season tips off, it’s time to check in with all the Mountain West alumni. Nine out of the 11 schools will be represented.

Chandler Hutchison – Phoenix Suns
Boise State (2014-18)

Hutchison signed a two-way contract with the Suns in September. He registered 97 games, 25 as a starter, in three seasons with Chicago and the Washington Wizards before heading to Phoenix. Hutchinson is averaging 5.7 points on 44.1% shooting and 3.8 rebounds in career regular season games.

Paul George – Los Angeles Clippers
Fresno State (2008-10)

With Kawhi Leonard out with an ACL injury, George is the main super star on the team. When Leonard went down during the 2021 NBA Playoffs, George stepped up and averaged 30 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. That Clippers roster made it to the Western Conference Finals. 

George is a seven-time All-Star, six-time member of the All-NBA Team, and four time member of the All-Defensive Team.

Paul Watson Jr. – Oklahoma Thunder
Fresno State (2013-17)

Watson signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Thunder in September. Prior to joining OKC, he appeared in a total of 37 NBA games with the Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors. Twenty seven of those games were for Toronto, where he averaged 4.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in an average of 11.0 minutes per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field.

Caleb Martin – Miami Heat
Nevada (2017-19)

Martin appeared in 53 games with Charlotte last season, averaging 5.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists. His best performance was a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds against the Lakers in April. He was waived by the Hornets this offseason and signed a two-way contract with the Heat. Martin averaged 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in four preseason appearances with Miami.

Cody Martin – Charlotte Hornets
Nevada (2017-19)

While he is not the star player, Martin seems to have a secure place with the Hornets. He sat out at the end of last season due to a left ankle injury, but he is now healthy and is expected to contribute from the bench. Martin took Gordon Hayward’s place in the starting lineup this preseason when he was out due to COVID-19 protocols.

Javale McGee  Phoenix Suns
Nevada (2006-08)

McGee agreed to a one-year $5 million contract with the Suns in August. Before that, the former Nevada player spent time with the Denver Nuggets as a backup center. He’s been in a handful of other NBA rosters including the Philadelphia, Dallas, Golden State, Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland.

McGee is a three-time NBA champion, an Olympic gold medalist and a music producer.

Tony Snell  Portland Trail Blazers
New Mexico (2010-13)

While playing with Atlanta, Snell made history at the conclusion of the 2020-21 regular season by becoming the first player in the NBA to shoot at 50% from the field, 50% from beyond the arc and 100% from the free throw line through an entire season. The former Lobo signed a one-year contract with Portland in free agency. He missed all preseason games due to a right foot sprain and will likely miss the first two weeks of the regular season.

Malachi Flynn – Toronto Raptors
San Diego State (2018-20)

Flynn comes from a school with a defense-first mentality, which has definitely shown in the way he plays. It took a while for his offense to catch up to his defense, but like any young player, he is improving. Flynn was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in April, when he averaged 12.7 points and 4.8 assists per game while shooting at 41% from beyond the arc. 

Kawhi Leonard – Los Angeles Clippers
San Diego State (2009–2011)

Leonard is recovering from a partially torn ACL that occurred during the 2021 Western Conference Semifinals. He was averaging 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game while shooting 57.3% from the field and 39.3% in three-pointers. Leonard got surgery in July, but is currently sidelined indefinitely.

Jalen McDaniels  Charlotte Hornets
San Diego State (2016-19)

McDaniels was on the injury report before the Hornets last preseason game against the Thunder due to a minor foot injury. He played through it and contributed to the win with 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block. Last season, McDaniels appeared in 47 games, 18 of those as a starter. His role and playing time might diminish this season with more players getting healthy, but his improvement continues. 

Brandon Clarke  Memphis Grizzlies
San Jose State (2015-17)

Clarke played in 59 games last season, including 16 as a starter. He dealt with some injuries last season, but his potential can be seen by looking at his shooting percentages. Clarke shot at 61.8% from the field during his rookie season, and 51.7% last season. He averaged 12.1 and 10.3 points respectively.

Khem Birch  Toronto Raptors
UNLV (2012-14)

Birch was waived by Orlando in April, and he played with the Raptors for the last 19 games of the 2020-21 season. He started 17 of those games and 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds. Birch  missed half of the preseason games after he and his family tested positive for COVID-19 when he was in training camp. He is now healthy and expected to share center duties with Previous Achiuwa.

Derrick Jones Jr.  Chicago Bulls
UNLV (2015-16)

The Bulls acquired Jones Jr. from the Trailblazers in August in a three-team trade. Last season in Portland, Jones played in 58 games, 43 as a starter. He shot at 48.4% from the field and averaged 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He received a DPN (coaches decision) during the Bulls season opener. Jones, an above-average defender, was dealing with an ankle injury earlier this month.

Christian Wood – Houston Rockets
UNLV (2013-15)

Wood is an important player for the Rockets. He suffered a significant ankle injury last season and only played in 41 games. Still, he managed to average 21 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He also shot at 51.4% from the field and 37.4% from beyond the arc. Wood’s defense is still improving, but he is a talented center when it comes to offense.

Sam Merrill – Memphis Grizzlies
Utah State (2016-20)

The Grizzles acquired Merril from Milwuakee in August. He appeared in 30 games during his rookie season. He only got an average of 7.8 minutes per game and averaged 3.0 points and 1.0 rebounds in 7.8 minutes. However, Merrill was known as a shooter in college, and he was able to translate that in the NBA by shooting 44.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Neemias Queta – Sacramento Kings
Utah State (2018-2021)

Queta was selected 39th by the Kings in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year averaged 14.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals during his last college basketball season. Neemias will be the first player from Portugal to play in the NBA.

Larry Nance Jr. – Portland Trail Blazers
Wyoming (2011–2015)‎

The Trail Blazers acquired forward Nance Jr. from Cleveland as part of a three-team trade in August. He brings athleticism and defense to Portland, as well as playmaking ability. Through 351 games played in the NBA, the former Cowboy is shooting at 52.9% from the field while averaging 8.2 points and 6.6 rebounds. 

 


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