Stars like Donovan Mitchell and Dejounte Murray aren’t the only NBA players who changed teams this offseason and are thriving in new places.
Many of the biggest names to change teams this offseason have been thriving in their new homes. Dejounte Murray is averaging 22.0 points and 7.8 assists and has helped shore up the perimeter defense for the 5-3 Hawks. Donovan Mitchell is playing like an MVP for the Cavaliers and Lauri Markkanen has carried the Jazz to a 6-3 record.
But while those stars are capturing plenty of attention plenty of roles players who changed teams this offseason are also making a huge difference in their new homes.
Here are 3 NBA role players who have been better than advertised for new teams
Malcolm Brogdon, Boston Celtics
Brogdon was an obvious candidate to make a huge impact for his new team — something we discussed more than once before the season began — and things have worked out pretty much as expected. He’s averaging 13.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists in just over 23.1 minutes per game and shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.
He’s played more than half his minutes this season with one, but not both, of Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum and the Celtics have outscored opponents by 16.8 points per 100 possessions in those minutes. Brogdon’s ability to help stabilize those minutes when one of the other primary creators has been a huge boon for Boston so far this season and well be especially important in the playoffs.
Kevin Huerter, Sacramento Kings
Huerter has taken over as the starting shooting guard, averaging 18.9 points and 3.9 assists per game, on a 69.2 true shooting percentage. Huerter has been marvelous working off the ball, a perfect complement to the actions run around Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox while running off screens and seeking out soft spots in the defense in the middle of the floor as well as beyond the arc. He ranks in the 93rd percentile in scoring efficiency on dribble hand-offs and the 88th on spot-ups.
His jumper has been phenomenal (51.8 percent on 3-pointers so far) but he makes himself available in so many ways inside and outside the arc, attacking off the dribble when the defense is already bent or exposed.
Huerter just understands how to find his spots, opportunistically manipulating space. His constant movement adds a whole new element to the Kings’ offense and makes things easier for Sabonis, Fox, rookie Keegan Murray and others.
De’Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers
Melton came to the 76ers in a trade, with Danny Green going to the Memphis Grizzlies. With Tyrese Maxey and James Harden entrenched in the starting lineup, Melton’s job was to work as the third guard, complementing both players with some playmaking, complementary scoring and a high level of defensive activity.
Melton’s box score stats are fairly modest — 9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists in just over 22 minutes per game. But he’s shooting 40.7 percent from beyond the arc, adding 2.0 steals per game and ranked third among regular rotation players in deflections per 36 minutes at 6.6.
The 76ers’ live-ball turnover percentage and pace are much higher with Melton on the floor and his ability to materialize fastbreak opportunities out of thin air has been extremely beneficial to a 76ers’ team that otherwise plays at one of the slowest paces in the league.
The 76ers have gotten off to a slower start than they hoped but there is no reason to think they won’t still be in the playoff picture and what Melton is adding could be even more helpful in the postseason.
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Joint statement from Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving, and Anti-Defamation League released
Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets, and the ADL released a statement on Wednesday regarding recent events.
- Last weekend, Irving shared a link to a movie that contained antisemitic themes.
- The Nets have not formally disciplined Irving but could if they wanted to.
- Irving said, “I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility,” via the statement.
- The Nets and Irving are donating $500,000, “toward causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance,” in Brooklyn’s communities.
- The ADL is a nonprofit that fights antisemitism and, “al types of hate that undermine justice and fair treatment for every individual,” according to the statement.
Ime Udoka hiring surprises Celtics players
Ime Udoka was surprisingly suspended before the season began. Now, he’s headed to Brooklyn to be their next head coach.
- Udoka’ s depature is surprising to plenty of Celtics players according to an article from The Athletic (subscription required).
- The Nets fired Steve Nash this week and quickly moved to vet and hire Ime Udoka.
- Previously, Udoka worked with the Nets as an assistant coach.
- Just prior to the season, Udoka was suspended for the year by the team after it was found he had a relationship with a staffer as well as at least one instance of crude comments made to a subordinate employee which prompted complaints.
- Team executive Brad Stevens held an emotional press conference just after the suspension that revealed the heavy impact on female employees within the organization.