Former Longhorns made a lot of noise during the 2015–16 NBA season.
Of the nine Texas standouts playing in the NBA, four were named to an All-NBA team and seven were involved in the NBA’s postseason. And many of them could be in for a big year in 2016. Here are some Longhorns in the NBA to watch.
Durant stole headlines this summer when he announced he would leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors, who are coming off an NBA-record 73-win season. He will play alongside two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, as well as All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. With Durant — the 2014 Most Valuable Player — in the mix, the Warriors have become a top pick to win their second title in three years.
Taylor left Texas a year early to take a chance on the NBA. After going undrafted, he signed a summer contract with the Houston Rockets to showcase his talents at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas — a tournament where drafted and undrafted players attempt to earn roster spots. Taylor averaged five points and four assists in the league, leading to a training camp offer from the Rockets. He will attempt to impress the organization and land a permanent role on the team when training camp starts in September.
Turner was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in May after flashing his high vertical all season. The 2015 NBA Draft’s No. 11 pick showcased his potential to be an elite shot blocker and rim protector, swatting almost one and a half shots a game — a top 20 rate amongst shot blockers in the NBA. In the Pacers’ first-round playoff matchup, Turner averaged a staggering 3.3 blocks a game in a losing effort against the Toronto Raptors. He will try to take the next step in his development this season.
Aldridge overcame the growing pains of transitioning to a new team and finished the regular season as the force for the San Antonio Spurs. He averaged 18 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, numbers that helped the Spurs achieve a franchise-best 67 wins. For his efforts, Aldridge was selected to his fifth-consecutive All-Star game and to the All-NBA Third Team. With Tim Duncan retiring this summer, Aldridge, along with forward Kawhi Leonard, will be expected to step into a role as a Spurs leader.