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Since the Golden State Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics to capture the team’s sixth NBA Championship, bringing the curtain down on another thrilling season. Players from all the NBA rosters are now enjoying a well-deserved break, but head coaches are already making preparations for the upcoming season, with some of those coaches planning to use some former Syracuse athletes as they mount a charge to become the NBA’s number one team.
Most people instantly think of Carmelo Anthony when they consider former Syracuse stars in the NBA. Anthony is now 38 years old and entering the final throws of a long and illustrious career that has seen him named as an NBA All-Star on ten occasions. Amazingly, Anthony still does not have a championship ring, and he probably won’t get one this season if you look at the latest NBA odds from the sites offering online betting in Florida. Anthony could make one final move in his hunt for an NBA title, but which title-chasing team would take him?
While Syracuse fans will keep an eye on Anthony, their most famous brother, the following three stars are worth looking out for during the 2022-23 season, as they should see plenty more game time than in previous campaigns.
Oshae Brissett played two seasons for Syracuse before heading for the 2019 NBA Draft, where he went undrafted. Brissett averaged 14.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game during his first season before averaging 12.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
The Toronto Raptors took Brissett under their wing on a two-way contract, but he only featured in 19 games, averaging a mere 7.1 minutes per game. A brief spell with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants ultimately led to Brissett signing a deal with the Indiana Pacers.
Brissett’s first season with the Pacers saw him play 21 games, starting 16. He averaged 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds. Last season saw Brissett feature in a career-high 67 games, starting 25 at year’s end. Thanks, in part, to the Pacers’ many trades, Brissett led the team in every single major category, so we fully expect Brissett to shine for the Pacers this coming season.
Big things are expected of Elijah Hughes, who now finds himself wearing the Portland Trail Blazers uniform. Hughes transferred to Syracuse from East Carolina and had to redshirt a year due to the NCAA transfer rules. Hughes put in a lot of work during his enforced downtime, improving his strength and diet. The hard work paid off, with Hughes finishing his redshirt sophomore season with 13.7 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 steals.
Hughes entered the 2020 NBA Draft, and the New Orleans Pelicans selected him as the 39th overall pick. His draft rights were traded to the Utah Jazz, and he played 18 games during his rookie season.
Last season saw Hughes play 36 games (starting four) between the Jazz and the Trailblazers. He averaged 14.6 minutes per game for the latter, hinting that he will get more time on the court this coming campaign.
Jerami Grant is entering his tenth season as a professional basketball player, doing so with the Detroit Pistons, although Grant has been the subject of much trade speculation. The Pistons have been terrible for the past three seasons and are in full rebuild mode as a result.
Grant has been one of the few beacons of light for the struggling Pistons. He averaged 19.2 points per game, 4.6 rebounds, a career-best 2.8 assists, and 1.1 blocks last year. Those figures would likely have been even better had Grant not suffered a thumb injury that required surgery and kept him out of action for six weeks. Would Grant be open to a trade where he could play for a team more likely to challenge for honors? You can bet your bottom dollar he would.