point guard

NBA Trade Deadline

The NBA Trade Deadline was supposed to be relatively quiet, with the possibility of a few trades. And it looked like that would be the case leading up to last Thursday’s deadline of 2 p.m. However, the league saw a number of trades come in at the last minute of the deadline. The trades came in fast and furious, but not all were as good as they seemed while others were better than you might think.

Starting from the first and possibly the most overlooked trade was Portland acquiring Arron Afflalo from Denver. With Afflalo, Portland bolsters their bench with a player who was averaging 14.5 points per game and is an excellent defender. Portland had to give up Thomas Robinson and Victor Claver plus a future first round pick, but I still think this was a huge win for Portland. A team who advanced to the second round in last year’s playoffs, returned their core group of guys, and are third in the Western conference added a veteran guard who can defend multiple positions and shoots the ball well. I’ll go ahead and say this trade puts Portland as a dark horse in the West. Why? Because they have a star point guard in Damian Lilliard, not to mention he might be a little pissed off for being an All-Star snub. Granted he was chosen as a replacement, but I still expect Lilliard to play with a chip on his shoulder the rest of the season. And let’s not forget Lamarcus Aldridge is playing at a high level despite his thumb injury. So with a healthy Robin Lopez and Afflalo coming off the bench, this team stacks up well with the West’s best.

The blockbuster trade that got way too much attention in my mind was Phoenix shipping Goran Dragic to Miami. Don’t get me wrong, Dragic is an excellent point guard, and he knows how to produce. But let’s not get carried away here. He isn’t going to help Miami contend for the title this year and most likely not anytime soon. Dragic is posting 16.2 ppg, 4.1 apg, and 3.6 rpg while sharing the point guard duties with Isiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe. However, I don’t think he is worth the max contract he will be offered this offseason or the two first round picks Miami gave up on top of some rotational players. He can’t lead a team by himself and essentially that’s why you pay a player the big time money. That’s what scares me for this Miami team, Dwayne Wade is in the latter half of his career, and Chris Bosh isn’t the same player he was in his prime. (There is a serious concern in Miami that Chris Bosh may miss the entire season due to blood clots in his lungs. It is a very serious issue, so we wish Chris Bosh the best in recovering.) Having said all this, Pat Riley is a genius when operating his teams so I might be completely wrong in saying Miami was on the losing end of this trade.

The trade I liked the most came from team that desperately needed help. And that was the Oklahoma City Thunder. A few days ago, I wrote about how they might acquire Brook Lopez but honestly, he wouldn’t be a fit for a team that runs lots of isolations for their guards and perimeter players. Lopez is a back to the basket type player and I don’t know how he would have gotten his touches in the OKC offense. But that trade didn’t surface out instead the Thunder acquired Enes Kanter from Utah and DJ Augustin and Kyle Singler from the Pistons. In my opinion, Oklahoma City got better overall value than getting Lopez. Kanter is a legit 7 footer averaging 14 ppg and 8 rpg this season. Not to mention he’s only 22 years old. He will slide right into OKC’s rotation with Adams out with injury and Perkins no longer there. This allows Serge Ibaka to play his natural power forward position and stretching the floow out with his perimeter shooting improving. Plus Augustin can fill Jackson’s role as backup point guard and Kyle Singler has proved he can be a solid bench contributor.

On the other hand of this trade, I love what Detroit did. Stan Van Gaundy quietly got himself a steal in Reggie Jackson. Detroit gave up next to nothing for a player who is about to get his chance to be a starter on a playoff contending team. But let’s forget about this season, and look to the future. Detroit has two great guards in Jackson and Brandon Jennings, and arguably the best young frontcourt in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe moving forward. If they can convince Monroe to sign long term after his contract expires after this season, watch out for the Pistons. Van Gaundy has done a great job in his first season operating the team and I look for him to continue to build momentum for the franchise.

Those are the trades that had impacts on contending teams making a final push for playoff jockeying. Oklahoma City and Portland solidified their roster needs to contend in the wild wild west. But there were was one trade that caught my eye and can have a huge impact for a franchise.

The trade that had every NBA fan reminiscing the old days was Kevin Garnett being sent back to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young. Obviously Minnesota is going nowhere this season, but Kevin Garnett could be a valuable pickup for them in terms of leadership and locker room presence. Minnesota might have the best core of young players in the league. Andrew Wiggins, Zach Lavine, Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett, and Gogui Dieng are all young talented players still learning their way in this league. The Timberwolves were lacking a veteran leader who can mold these young players into stars. That’s where Kevin Garnett comes in play. KG could be the perfect mentor for these kids since he was thrown into the same fire of the NBA right out of high school. He knows what it takes to become a perennial All Star and win NBA championships. So kudos to the Minnesota front office for making this happen.

And then there was the random swap of point guards that took place. Milwaukee sent Brandon Knight to Phoenix, Phoenix sent Isaiah Thomas to Boston, and Philadelphia packaged reigning rookie of the year Michael Carter Williams to Milwaukee. Brandon Knight was playing very well this season, so I was particularly surprised that the Bucks let him go and brought in Michael Carter Williams. I’m interested to see how Jason Kidd and company can mold the young Carter Williams into a legit PG. Brandon Knight could be a good compliment to Eric Bledsoe down in Phoenix so that could be something to watch for. As for Isiah Thomas in Boston, I just don’t get it. Boston should be in full rebuild mode, and Marcus Smart was their draft pick who could use some playing time at the point guard position so why trade for Thomas who can only play point guard. Thomas also is owed plenty of money after signing a lucrative deal just this offseason so that’ll take a hit on Boston’s cap room. These teams all made the headlines for acquiring players but I’m not sure any of them actually won their respective trades. I guess time will tell with them.

But wait, that’s not all! There have been reports Kendrick Perkins will be bought out by the Utah Jazz and the front runner to sign him is, you guessed it, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He would be a great fit for Cleveland, coming off the bench and giving them valuable minutes defending and rebounding the ball effectively. A few other potential bought out players include Tayshaun Prince and Thomas Robinson who could both be a great addition to any team. So the deadline might have passed, but a few teams could still be adjusting their rosters here in the next few days to gear up for the postseason.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

No. 6 Texas’ greatest assets were supposed to be its depth and 11-man rotation.

Head coach Rick Barnes has plenty to choose from in the front court with four rotation players who are at least 6 feet 9 inches. He has a plethora of shooting guards and a handful of small forwards. But the one position at which he doesn’t have many options is the one he needs most right now — point guard.

After a flagrant foul left sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor in a cast with a broken left wrist, Texas was left without a true floor general, which, in many people’s eyes, is the most important player.

Taylor can dictate the play of the game. He has improved his jump shot. He can drive. He can lead. He can defend.

But all that is wrapped in a cast on the Longhorn bench. Taylor will remain sidelined indefinitely. He’s going to be out until at least conference play, if not longer. Until then, the Longhorns must find an alternative.

Unfortunately for them, there aren’t options, just junior point guard Javan Felix.

In his two games since taking the starting point guard position, Felix hasn’t really left the floor. He played 35 minutes against Cal and 37 minutes at UConn on Sunday.   

“He got pushed in that role as a freshman,” Barnes said. “He went through three-fourths of a season. We knew he’d run the team.”

Felix, in his freshman year, took over during Myck Kabongo’s suspension, leading Texas to a first-round exit in the CBI Tournament. He was the only point guard option on that team, just like this year. The other possible point guards on the team now are junior Demarcus Holland and sophomore Kendal Yancy.

Felix has done an admirable job since filling in, averaging 9.5 points, four assists and 3.5 turnovers. With him at the helm, however, the offense has a noticeable stagnancy. There’s a lot more passing around the perimeter and lot less penetration.

“We’re a good driving team, and that’s something we do is penetrate to the basket,” Taylor said.

Texas is not without the lightning quick sophomore on the floor. It was evident Sunday at UConn. With the game on the line in the final seconds, Felix tried to take his man off the dribble. He got a step in front of the elbow before being stopped in no man’s land, slipping and throwing the ball away.

That’s just not his position. Felix is a shooter. He likes to find his spot behind the arc and let it loose.

“He’s a point guard,” Holland joked before the season. “All he does is shoot.”

Felix knew he’d have to handle the point at times before the season started, but he didn’t know he’d be the main guy. When UT-Arlington (3-3) strolls into Austin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Felix will be at the helm, running Texas’ (6-0) offense just as he did Sunday.

“Sometimes I have to be a point guard,” Felix said earlier in the season.

Well, that “sometimes” is now the foreseeable future. 

NEW YORK CITY — Amid swirls of speculation about the status of his injury, sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor spoke to a few members of the media Friday night reaffirming the uncertainty of the situation.

“We went to the hospital yesterday to check it out, X-rays and all,” he said outside the locker room.  “I haven’t been clued in on anything that happened yet. They put me in a hard splint. We’re just going back to Austin to get reevaluated, and I’ll take it from there.”

Taylor took a hard spill on a flagrant foul Thursday against Iowa at Madison Square Garden. He landed awkwardly on his left wrist, not thinking much of it at the time. He sat out Friday's game against Cal in the 2K Classic Tournament wearing a hard cast and sling on the bench.

“Coach Barnes kissed it in the huddle so it felt better then, but other than that I didn’t think it was that bad,” Taylor said.

There is still no timetable for his return and his guess is a couple of weeks. But missing a couple weeks would sideline him in big non-conference games at No. 1 Kentucky and No. 17 UConn. Taylor expects to be ready by the start of conference play.

Junior Javan Felix will run the point in Taylor’s absence.

“Without me this team is still good,” Taylor said. “As you can see we won today.”

For many of you, the playoffs have begun in your fantasy basketball leagues. If you were one of those who had a successful season and is still in it, let me tell you that the playoffs are all about working the waiver wire.

You can’t afford to have injured players on your team or players averaging low minutes.  You also need to make sure that you have players that are actually playing games this week. Check how many acquisitions you are allowed (if your league has a limit), and cater the wire to your needs. If you are losing in assists, pick up a point guard. If you are losing in rebounds, pick up a big man.

Working the waiver wire can win you a fantasy championship. Here are some hot pickups for the week:

SG, SF – Mike Dunleavy (CHI): This guy needs to be picked up immediately. He logs a lot of minutes and hits threes, gets a good amount of rebounds and assists and will get you 13 points per game.

SF, PF – Terrence Jones (HOU): If he is still available in your league, go get him.

PG – Patrick Beverley (HOU): The hardnosed Rockets point guard is a nice source of steals and can occasionally hit the three ball. The most important thing about Beverley is that he plays a lot of minutes, so you are guaranteed to get some stats out of him.

PG – Kirk Hinrich (CHI): Hinrich is a solid pickup for anyone desperate for a point guard. He will get you about four or five assists per game.

PG – Jarrett Jack (CLE): Jack has been logging a lot of minutes lately and is producing. He does a little bit of everything, spreading the wealth on the stat sheet.

PG – Jordan Farmar and/or Kendall Marshall (LAL): These two point guards are sharing the load as the point guard for the Lakers. If you want assists, Marshall will get you them. Farmar is a good scorer for the number of minutes he plays and gets his fair share of assists.

SG – Tim Hardaway Jr. (NY): The rookie out of Michigan has been lighting it up lately. If you need threes and points, take a gander at Hardaway Jr.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ season has been one of chaos and injuries, especially at the point guard position.

At the beginning of the year, future hall of famer Steve Nash was expected to run the show and maybe surprise fantasy owners by showing some flashes of his days in Phoenix as a member of the Suns. After all, he was ranked 79th overall before the season in Yahoo leagues, ahead of point guards like Isaiah Thomas, Jameer Nelson, Michael Carter-Williams, Trey Burke and so many more that have been much more valuable thus far due to Nash’s back issues.

Steve Blake was another guy that some expected to be a contributor at the point guard position for the Lakers. Like Nash, the injury bug bit him as well, as he battled a torn elbow ligament.

And then there was Jordan Farmar, who terminated his contract in Turkey to take less money to rejoin the Lakers, but struggled to stay on the court with a nagging hamstring injury.

With these three out, the Lakers were desperate to sign Kendall Marshall, who is just a year-and-a-half removed from being the thirteenth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. In the 20 games Marshall played with his fellow point guards injured, he averaged 10.2 points and 9.3 assists per game, making him a great waiver wire pickup.

However, Nash, Blake and Farmar are all back now for the “Lake Show.” Farmar and Nash have received some rest here and there in the three games they have been available, and Blake has played in three straight contests.

The main point – it may be a little difficult for fantasy owners to determine which Lakers point guard will be the guy to own in leagues down the line.

Stemming from their days together in Phoenix, Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni is a fan of Nash, saying earlier in the week: “He’ll start, and we’ll see where he is.”

Well, Nash has played and started in two of the three games he has been cleared to play in. On Tuesday, he played an unexpected 25 minutes, finishing with seven points and nine assists. He took a game off and returned to the starting lineup Friday, playing 28 minutes, scoring 19 points and dishing out five assists on his 40th birthday.

D’Antoni also made a case for Blake earlier in the week saying: “we need (him) on the floor, no matter what.”

Blake has been impressive in his three games back, averaging 8.3 points, 9.7 assists and 6.3 rebounds in a hefty 36 minutes per game. That includes a triple-double against Cleveland on Wednesday.

D’Antoni didn’t stop at Blake and Nash, adding that “Farmar deserves to play” too.

Farmar has only played one game recently, and that came Wednesday night against Cleveland when he played 33 minutes, scoring 21 points and gaining six assists.

That leaves Marshall, whom D’Anotni has said will “have to compete.”

With the simultaneous return all the point guards that were expected to play for the Lakers during the first half of the season, fantasy owners are most likely in a quandary on who to grab in their respective leagues.

Who knows what D’Antoni’s real plans are, but I would suggest going with Nash or Blake. D’Anotni has a man crush on Nash, so you can never count him out, and Blake is going to get his minutes at both the point guard and shooting guard positions. Each of these players will get you 3-pointers, assists, occasional rebounds and probably 10 points per game.

Farmar is still making his way back into the lineup, so I don’t think he is trustworthy at this point.

As for Marshall, if you were one to get him off the waiver wire, go ahead and drop him. He is essentially a fourth-stringer now and not going to see the floor as much, barring any more injuries to Nash, Blake or Farmar.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

The scene at the Frank Erwin Center was a familiar one for the Longhorns on Tuesday night. Texas and Kansas State traded baskets all night, with neither team ever leading by more than six. The game would come down to who could hit the last shot.

This time, with 1.9 seconds remaining on the clock and the ball on the sideline, junior forward Jonathon Holmes received an inbound pass in the corner and drilled a fade-away 3-pointer to give the Longhorns another close win, 67-64.

“The shot was exciting just because it was great to get the ‘W,’” Holmes said “It’s hard to win in the Big 12, so to get a win against Kansas State — a ranked team — is very big.”

Texas, which is now 11–2 in 13 games decided by 10 points or less this season, led for the majority of the first three quarters of the game, but terrible shooting plagued the Longhorns in the final 10 minutes of the game and kept the Wildcats in it.

After converting 51.7 percent of their field goals in the first half, the Longhorns went cold in the second half, hitting a miserable 39.3 percent of their attempts. Sophomore point guard Javan Felix, who shot the ball well in the first half, opened the second half with a series of misses and his teammates followed suit. Texas made just seven of its first 21 second-
half attempts.

“Those missed shots are just part of the game,” Barnes said. “You’re going to miss some shots, but you just have to keep shooting.”

Despite their struggles early in the second half, the Longhorns made enough stops on the defensive end to give themselves a chance to win it at the end.

Leading by two with 12 seconds to go and a chance to seal the game, Felix missed two free throws. Kansas State’s Shane Southwell grabbed the rebound off the second miss and took the ball coast-to-coast, throwing up a prayer in the lane that splashed through the mesh, tying the game at 64 with seven seconds to go.

After advancing the ball and calling a timeout with four ticks left on the clock, Texas failed to execute and was forced to call yet another timeout, this time with just 1.9 seconds left.

“The first time it was supposed to be for [Felix],” Holmes said. “So I knew they would be thinking about [Felix] again after the second timeout. I was the second option on the play, and I knew, if my guy went with [Felix], I would be open.”

The remaining seconds were all the time the Longhorns would need. Freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor found Holmes, who had rolled to the corner after setting a screen, and the team’s only upperclassman hit the biggest shot of his three-year career on the 40 Acres.

Already? Yes, already. The fantasy basketball season has almost reached its midway point, which means the All-Star break is coming up in a few weeks. If there was a fantasy basketball all-star game, who would make the cut? Here are the players who would get votes on my ballot. Keep in mind each team has starters consisting of two guards, two forwards and one center, while reserves consist of two guards, two forwards and one center, plus two players of any position.

Western Conference:

Starters:

PG – Chris Paul (LAC): While CP3 is out with a shoulder injury, and has been for a couple of weeks now, you can’t take away from his first half performance. The best point guard in the NBA is averaging 19.6 points, 11.2 assists and 2.4 steals per game. Did I mention he shoots 87 percent from the stripe to go along with a solid 4.6 rebounds per game? He’s got my vote.

SG – Stephen Curry (GS): Coming off a stellar playoff performance last season, Curry is living up to the fantasy hype. He is averaging career highs in points (23.0), assists (9.2), rebounds (4.6) and steals (1.8). The last player to average at least 23 points and nine assists per game in a season was the Warriors’ Tim Hardaway in the 1991-92 season. 

SF – Kevin Durant (OKC): He’s the best of the best. He just might win the Most Valuable Player Award if this matchup were to play out. Durant is posting 30.0 points, eight rebounds and five assists per game. He also takes the ball away 1.5 times and shoots a high percentage, considering the amount of shots he takes.

PF – Kevin Love (MIN): He does what he does – rebound. Not only does he grab 13 boards per game, he also puts up 25.6 points including 2.4 threes per game.

C – Anthony Davis (NO): The kid from Kentucky puts up serious fantasy stats. 19.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and a league-leading 3 blocks per game will certainly get a vote.

Reserves:

G – Damian Lillard (POR): If game-winning shots counted, he could be a starter. The man is clutch. Lillard is having a tremendous season scoring 21.6 points per game and is first place in the entire NBA with 3.3 triples per game.

G – James Harden (HOU): Harden does it all, averaging 24.4 points, 5 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Houston, we have a franchise player.

F – Dirk Nowitzki (DAL): The Germanator is still doing it at a high level, scoring 21.3 points per game while grabbing 5.8 rebounds and dishing out three assists. His 90.7 percentage from the free throw line helps too.

F – LaMarcus Aldridge (POR): What a year for the former University of Texas star. Aldridge is posting 23.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and one block per game. He also shoots 81.6 percent from the free throw line.

C – DeMarcus Cousins (SAC): Boogie is beasting, scoring 23.4 points and grabbing 11.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.

F – Serge Ibaka (OKC): High field goal percentage, lots of blocks, improved three-point percentage and a near double-double gets my vote.

F – Blake Griffin (LAC): Although his free throw percentage is unattractive, you can’t take away his 22.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. He even gets you a steal each game.

Eastern Conference:

Starters:

PG – John Wall (WAS): Do the John Wall! Wall is having the best season of his career, averaging 19.7 points, 8.6 assist and two steals per game. He also drops in the three ball often and shoots 84.9 percent from the stripe.

SG – Paul George (IND): This guy has emerged as a top player in the league. He is scoring a career-high 22.8 points per game to go along with 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 3.6 assists.

SF – LeBron James (MIA): His name speaks for itself but, in case you don’t know him, he posts a stat line of 26-6-6 every single night.

PF – Carmelo Anthony (NY): Melo has improved fantasy-wise over the years. He is averaging a very high 8.8 rebounds while putting up his usual high-scoring 26.1 points per game.

C – Spencer Hawes (PHI): Not a big name, but not many good centers in the East. Hawes puts up 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

Reserves:

G – Kyle Lowry (TOR): The stats say it all for this point guard: 16 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.4 threes per game.

G – Kyrie Irving (CLE): I was expecting a better season for Irving, as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers in general, but he still gets you 21.4 points and six assists per game.

F – Paul Millsap (ATL): New team, another impressive season. Millsap is averaging 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. On top of that, he makes a three each game.

F – Thaddeus Young (PHI): Believe it or not, I have two Sixers on this squad. Young does a little bit of everything; averaging 17.6 points per game, 6.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and one three per game.

C – Chris Bosh (MIA): Bosh is getting a solid 15.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and a block and a steal per game.

G – Kemba Walker (CHA): Someone has to do it for Charlotte. The former NCAA champion at UConn is having a productive season, scoring 19 points, grabbing 4.4 rebounds and 4.9 helpers per game. He also averages a solid 1.5 steals per game to go along with 1.6 threes.

F/C – Nikola Vucevic (ORL): As my friend from the University of Southern California would say, “Fight On!” The former USC Trojan is averaging 13 points, 11 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Look out for Vucevic.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Despite some poor shooting, Texas’ balanced scoring attack did just enough to beat Vanderbilt on Monday night, knocking off the Commodores 70-64 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Four different Longhorns scored in double figures in the victory, led by freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor, who had 14 points.

“Isaiah’s tough,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “I like guys who can take it when I get on them and move on, and Isaiah does that.”

The squirrelly point guard managed the offense well, tallying eight assists while turning the ball over only twice.

“We always want to establish our big men so my goal was to feed them throughout the game,” Taylor said. “They were able to run the floor and some of those passes were wide, open dump-ins, so I was just feeding them easy buckets.”

The Longhorns held on to its lead the whole way, growing the lead to as many as 12 points late in the first half. Vanderbilt chipped away throughout the second half and some poor shooting from the free throw line nearly cost the Longhorns the game, as Vanderbilt closed the gap to one point with 34 seconds remaining.

“The free throw shooting is all about routine,” Barnes said. “Down the stretch these guys were getting away from the routine, which caused some of those misses. They just have to go through their routine and live with the results.”

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Stephen F. Austin is known as the Father of Texas, and on Friday, the capital city bearing his name held a blow-by-blow clash featuring the school bearing his name sake and the University of Texas.

The battle wasn’t historic, but for the third-straight game, the Longhorns endured after being locked in a tight contest. Texas’ youthful group — the 345th most experienced team in the nation according to kenpom.com — proved resilient, sparking a 12-2 run over the last 2:37 to fuel a 72-62 victory. The win placed Texas at 3-0 to begin the season for the first time in the last three years.

“It’s good for us to have games like this and show that we have adversity,” freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor said. “It shows we have the ability to fight back and finish games.”

Sophomore shooting guard Demarcus Holland posted a career high 21 points, resulting in a different Longhorn leading the team in scoring in each of its games.

“He’s been the most valuable player we got,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “He keeps doing the little things, filling up the stat sheet. He plays harder than anyone on the team.”

The decisive run of the game came with just under two minutes left. After a missed jump shot by sophomore guard Javan Felix, junior forward Jonathan Holmes leaped over a pair of Lumberjacks for a put-back slam, and a two-point Texas lead. After a pair of missed SFA shots, Holland made a quick outlet pass to Taylor, who made a crafty cross over to reach the basket, finishing with a left-handed scoop around his man.

The Longhorns’ size proved advantageous, as it did all night, on the defensive end, as a Holmes swatted a Lumberjack layup attempt off the backboard. Texas extended its lead to six on the next possession and never surrendered it after that point.

The Longhorns’ main advantage came on the boards, outrebounding SFA 40-26. This created a number of second-chance opportunities for Texas in the second half and wore down a smaller Lumberjacks roster.

Texas, once again, endured an outstanding shooting performance on the outside from its opponent. The Lumberjacks converted 11-of-24 three-point attempts, following the lead of the Longhorns’ first two opponents, Mercer and South Alabama, which each knocked down more than 40 percent of their long-range shots.

Five Texas players finished in double figures: Holland (21), Javan Felix (15), Lammert (12), Holmes (11) and Taylor (10) — a performance that exemplifies the team’s first-man-up mentality.

The 70-point total represents the Longhorns’ lowest scoring output of the season, but is still six points above the team’s average form last season. Still, Barnes expects the team’s new up-tempo offense to continue increasing the pace.

“We still haven’t run the way we wanted to run,” Barnes said.

Many NBA teams played their first regular season game Wednesday night. The results were pretty mixed with all-star-like and poor showings. It’s just the first game of the year, but here are how some former Texas Longhorns opened their seasons.

Avery Bradley – Boston Celtics point guard

He will get a ton of playing time over the next few weeks, as star point guard Rajon Rondo patiently recovers from a torn ACL from last season. So don’t put too much stock into his relatively average offensive display against the Toronto Raptors. In 31 minutes against Toronto, Bradley recorded eight points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals on 4 for 13 shooting.

Bradley has always been a defense-first guard, even at Texas. He can score but anything too much more than his career average of 6.9 points per game is an added bonus. Bradley did a nice job of limiting explosive, all-around-scoring guard Kyle Lowry. Expect his defensive efforts to be a constant for Boston all season long, even when Rondo returns.

D.J. Augustin — Toronto Raptors point guard

The total opposite of Bradley, Augustin won’t be seeing too much court time anytime soon, simply because starter Kyle Lowry is just a better, more proven NBA point guard right now. Augustin wasn’t too efficient with his 13 minutes Wednesday night. He needed seven shots to score five points, and he only added two dimes to his stat sheet. Much more efficient, distributive play is required to be a starting point guard in the NBA.

The best news about Augustin’s performance Wednesday night? His Raptors are 1-0.

Tristan Thompson — Cleveland Cavaliers power forward

Thompson turned in the first stud performance by a Longhorn so far in this infant season. He is the Cavs’ best player by far, and led his team to an impressive win against the newly-powerful Brooklyn Nets. In 35 minutes, Thompson put up 18 points and 9 rebounds on an efficient 8 for 13 shooting performance. He made Kevin Garnett work on the defensive end, and the expended energy took a bit out of Garnett — who was really a non-factor Wednesday — on offense.

If Thompson puts up these numbers consistently, this upstart Cleveland squad just might make a return to the playoffs.

LaMarcus Alrdridge — Portland Trail Blazers power forward

I’m saving the best for last here. After all, it’s indisputable that Aldridge is the best former Longhorn in the league right now. He didn’t really need last night’s all-star performance to prove or even reinforce that status. He played huge minutes, but as the face of the Blazers’ franchise, he is expected to carry this burden. He poured in 28 points on 12 for 22 shooting, along with four rebounds and two assists in 39 minutes.

Aldridge will need to be a more consistent rebounding machine if Portland wants to sneak into the west’s top eight in April. But the scoring will always be there, and he has plenty of mates to help him on that front all season long.