Longhorns in the NBA: Guards excel, big men struggle

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The 11 active Longhorns in the NBA continued to suit up in league arenas last week, led by the strong play of the former burnt orange guards. Avery Bradley excelled with his new teammates in Detroit, while D.J. Augustin contributed to the Orlando Magic’s blistering 5–2 start.

But while the little men found success early and often in the season, the bigs have struggled. Here’s how Bradley, along with two former front court Longhorns fared in week two of the NBA season.  

Avery Bradley

When players get traded, they sometimes play as if they have something to prove. Whether he feels that way or not, Avery Bradley is certainly playing like it. He’s off to a tremendous start to the season as a new member of a Detroit Pistons team that is surprising critics. The Pistons currently sit atop the Eastern Conference, holding a 5–2 record.

Bradley has heavily contributed to this success with averages of 15.4 points and 1.6 steals. He’s shooting an incredible 46.4 percent from three-point range, too. The cherry on top of Bradley’s week? A victory against the defending champion Golden State Warriors, in which Bradley led the way with 23 points and three steals.

Myles Turner

Don’t be fooled by Turner’s averages; he’s only played in one game this season due to a sore neck and a concussion. That one game, however, was the season opener against the Brooklyn Nets in which Turner put up 21 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in a win.

Turner is making progress on his road to recovery, although there is still no timetable for his return. When Turner is healthy again, the Pacers could potentially make some noise in the Eastern Conference. Pairing Turner with young guard Victor Oladipo could provide some added scoring punch in the Hoosier State. 

Tristan Thompson

Just before the season tipped off, it was announced that Thompson would start the season coming off the bench, as the Cavaliers were favoring a small-ball lineup that would feature Kevin Love starting at center. 

While it was uncertain at first how this would affect Thompson’s role, the move has clearly diminished it. 

Thompson is averaging just 22.6 minutes per game this season, over seven minutes less than his average last year. Head coach Tyronn Lue has recently decided to switch things up, however, and go with a more traditional starting lineup.

If the new starting lineup with Thompson on the floor stays intact for the foreseeable future, look for Thompson to revert back to the role he had when Cleveland won the 2016 NBA championship.