By: Amanda Szylin
Wednesday was the first game of the NBA season for several teams, and a new season means more NBA debuts. Ten former AAU Basketball members stepped on the court for the first time as an NBA player, some of them having impressive games and playing for nearly the whole game. 38 of the 60 players in the 2014 NBA Draft were AAU members at some point in their young basketball careers and this week was the week they’ve been dreaming of their wholes lives. Dreams came true as they showed their talents on the hardwood and vied for a spot in the starting lineup. Below is a breakdown of the ten players who played last night.
Jabari Parker #12
Parker was selected as the second pick overall in the NBA this year by the Milwaukee Bucks and they took full advantage of their impressive draft pick. The 6’8 small forward played for 37 minutes and scored eight points. He was 3-for-9 in attempts and was 2-2 in free throws. Parker grabbed four rebounds on the night, with one assist and a steal. Unfortunately, his strong performance wasn’t enough to get the victory; the Bucks fell to the Hornets, 108-106. The Bucks play the 76ers next, where he will potentially face K.J. McDaniels, a fellow AAU alum.
Marcus Smart #36
Smart was given the opportunity to shine as the Celtics’ point guard for 28 minutes in last night’s game against the Nets. He made 3 of his 7 field goal attempts and sank a three pointer, totaling ten points. The 6’4 first round pick chalked up two rebounds, two assists and three free throws on the night, helping the Celtics grab a 121-105 victory over Brooklyn. With four steals, he is ranked fifth in the league. The Celtics have two day break, but will face the Rockets on November 1st.
Doug McDermott #3
The 6’8 small forward was drafted 11th overall by the Bulls and put up some impressive numbers against a strong Knicks team. McDermott played for 24 minutes, shooting 5-for-9 in attempts and sinking two of his five 3-point shots, totaling 12 points. He tacked on five rebounds, two assists and a steal to his stat line and put one in the win column for his Bulls team, defeating the Knicks 104-80. The Bulls have a rest day and then will come back full force to play the Cavaliers on Friday.
Rodney Hood #5
Utah picked this 6’8 Duke shooting guard 23rd overall in Draft and gave him 21 minutes of playing time in his NBA debut Wednesday night. Hood made 2 out of his 6 field goal attempts and sank one of his four 3-pointers, ending with five points in the game. He grabbed two rebounds, put up two blocks and a steal to add to his stats. Overall, not a bad debut, but unfortunately his team couldn’t pull off the win, dropping the game to Houston 104-93. The Jazz play again tonight against the Mavericks.
K.J. McDaniels #14
McDaniels, a 6’6 shooting guard from Clemson, was picked in the second round by Philadelphia but the 76ers wanted to see what he was capable of, giving him 20 minutes of playing time. McDaniels only scored two points on the night, but grabbed two rebounds, one assist, a block and a steal in a 103-91 loss to the Pacers. The 21 year old from Mobile, Alabama will hopefully have a chance to play again Friday night when his team plays the Bucks.
Jordan Clarkson #6
It wasn’t Clarkson’s first time on the professional stage last night. His NBA debut was Tuesday against the Rockets, where the Lakers fell 108-90. In that game, Clarkson logged 20 minutes of playing time, grabbing eight points, with four rebounds, two assists, and five free throws. In last night’s game against the Suns, the 6’5 point guard played 15 minutes, putting four points on the board, along with two rebounds and two assists. Unfortunately, his efforts weren’t enough and his Lakers team lost to Phoenix 119-99. Friday, the Lakers will play their city rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.
Shabazz Napier #13
The first round draft pick from Roxbury, Massachusetts played for 15 minutes in the Heat’s first game of the season. Napier tacked two points to the overall score, and added three rebounds, two assists and a steal to his personal stats. His Miami team starts the season with a winning record, beating the Wizards 107-95. The Heat are back in action on Saturday against the 76ers.
Tyler Ennis #4
The 6’2 point guard logged 13 minutes of play during his NBA debut, putting two points on the board, along with three assists and a block. Drafted by the Phoenix Suns 18th overall, he’ll undoubtedly get plenty of playing time over the course of the season, with the Suns next game on Friday against the Spurs.
Spencer Dinwiddie #8
In the 89-79 loss to the Denver Nuggets, Dinwiddie got eight minutes of playing time. He made one shot in those eight minutes, and didn’t score, but he did get credit for an assist. The Pistons will face the Timberwolves tonight at 8PM.
Cleanthony Early #17
In his seven minutes of playing time, the 6’8 small forward made his only shot, putting two points on the scoreboard. Although his Knicks team lost to the Bulls, they’ll go for the win against the Cavaliers tonight at 8PM.
Congratulations to ALL of the AAU Alumni who are making the NBA debuts!
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