Isaiah Thomas, PG- Washington Wizards
2018-19 (Denver): 12 games, 8.1 points, 1.9 assists, 34.3% FG, 27.9% 3pt, 63% FT
What a wild ride it has been for IT. Thomas earned 2nd team All-NBA honors just a few seasons ago with the Boston Celtics but played through a hip injury that later required surgery. Since then he was traded to both the Cavaliers and the Lakers and never appeared healthy. After missing most of last season rehabbing from injury yet again he signed a one year prove it deal with Denver hoping to earn their backup point guard spot. Thomas played in just 12 games and quickly fell out of the rotation as his shooting percentages plummeted.
This offseason he signed with the Washington Wizards who, because of John Wall’s injury, had the worst point guard situation in the league. Unfortunately, Thomas ruptured a ligament in his thumb last month and is expected to miss the first 2-4 weeks of the season. If Thomas can’t regain some of his magic and put up solid offensive numbers for the Wizards this season then we may be looking at a rapid and disappointing close to his pro career. When healthy Thomas is one of the most dazzling offensive players in the league but it’s been almost 2.5 years since we’ve seen the version of him we knew and loved in Seattle.
Terrence Ross, SG- Orlando Magic
2018-19: 81 games, 15.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 42.8% FG, 38.3% 3pt, 87.5%
Ross never really found his stride after being drafted by Toronto and averaged between 9.8 and 11 points for the Raptors in the four seasons following his rookie year. Solid 6th man type numbers but slightly underwhelming for a top-ten pick in the NBA draft. That led the Raptors to trade Ross to Orlando in 2017 in order to bolster a playoff run. He struggled the following year with injuries and I had some concern last year if he’d be able to fully recover.
Well recover he did and he put up by far his best season as a pro coming off the bench for a surprising Magic team that made the playoffs last year. The 15.1 points per game was a career high and his shooting numbers were back to where they were at his peak with the Raptors. The expectation is that Ross will continue to play the 6th man role coming off the bench for Evan Fournier and that he will again be the spark plug for an Orlando team that badly needs his shooting.
Justin Holiday, SG- Indiana Pacers
2018-19 (Chicago): 82 games, 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 38.6% FG, 34.8% 3pt, 89.6% FT
Holiday had to fight his way into the NBA after not getting drafted but he has shown the ability to be a plus defensive player while putting up good enough 3-pt shooting to be an acceptable 3 and D style guy. Last season on a tanking Chicago team he took way too many shots and attempted to be “the guy” on offense. That has never been Holiday’s strength and he took fewer shots after being traded to an also terrible Memphis team midseason.
There’s a good chance that Justin ends up as one of the steals of this past free agency period after he settled for a one year $4.8 million deal almost a month after free agency opened. He’s re-united with younger brother Aaron Holiday but may struggle to find playing time on a roster that includes his Aaron, Malcolm Brogdon, TJ Warren, and Jeremy Lamb. Plus Victor Oladipo is expected to return at some point during the season to take up another guard spot. We’ll see if Justin can force his way onto the court but at least this will be the first time he’s been on a good team since his rookie year with the Warriors.
Dejounte Murray- PG, San Antonio Spurs
2018-19: Did Not Play
The most disappointing part of last season from a Pro Dawgs perspective was that Murray didn’t get the chance to play after tearing his ACL in the offseason. It was clear before that incident that Dejounte was the brightest young Husky star in the league. After inheriting the starting point guard spot from Tony Parker he emerged as one of the best defensive players in the game with his freakishly long arms. That earned him 2nd team All Defensive Team honors in just his 2nd season; a rare feat. It looks like Murray is back to full health as evidenced below:
Dejounte Murray clamps James Harden and then blows past him on the next play pic.twitter.com/b3TNnGxOhR— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 17, 2019
The Spurs may be one of the most boring teams in the league but if Murray has gotten better during his year away and has developed a semi-reliable jumper then he’s going to assert himself as one of the better two-way players in the NBA. Which could mean a steal for San Antonio as yesterday he agreed to a 4-year $64 million extension. If Murray progresses at all linearly then that contract will be one of the better ones in the NBA among players his age.
Marquese Chriss, PF- Golden State Warriors
2018-19 (Houston/Cleveland): 43 games, 4.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.3 blocks, 37.2% FG, 22.2% 3pt, 71.1% FT
It has been a rough start to an NBA career for Chriss after being taken by the Suns in the top-ten. His time at Washington made it clear that Chriss was incredibly raw from a basketball IQ standpoint and playing on a losing team with no veteran leadership certainly did not help him mature. The Suns eventually gave up on him and traded him to Houston before last season where he saw almost no playing time before being unloaded to the Cavaliers.
He got a prove it deal from the Warriors and has been playing the best basketball of his NBA career in this preseason. The path to long-term playing time probably isn’t there but both Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein have been battling injuries so that appears to at least be enough for Chriss to make the roster and see minutes for the first month or so.
John Oliver being Marquese Chriss' biggest fan is great. pic.twitter.com/PrjKZ2Qubt— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) October 15, 2019
Markelle Fultz, PG- Orlando Magic
2018-19 (Philly): 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 41.9% FG, 28.6% 3pt, 56.8% FT
Oh boy. Where do we begin? Fultz’s NBA saga has been one of the most bizarre stories in recent memory. After getting drafted #1 overall he suddenly lost the ability to shoot in what was later attributed to a shoulder injury. He has played just 33 games through two seasons in his NBA career and put up solid rate stat numbers except of course for his abysmal shooting. The 76ers finally decided to cut bait last season and traded him to Orlando where he has the chance to rebuild his career.
Initial reports are promising about Fultz’s new shooting motion although it’s still nowhere near as pretty as it was at Washington. DJ Augustin is entrenched as the starter at PG for the Magic but Fultz will compete with fellow perceived bust Michael Carter-Williams to earn playing time as the backup.
Matisse Thybulle, SG- Philadelphia 76ers
It turns out that Matisse is really good at defense. Who woulda thunk it? Boston drafted Matisse 20th overall but immediately traded the pick to rival Philadelphia. That has turned out to be fortuitous for the 76ers. Thybulle has picked up right where he left averaging 5+ steals and 2+ blocks per 36 minutes so far during the preseason. Philadelphia is one of the preseason favorites so Matisse won’t earn a starting spot right off the bat or anything. But it’s hard to imagine him not pressing his way for playing time off the bench immediately after being one of the most impressive rookies in the preseason.
KOC and I discussed our front row seats on the Thybulle Bandwagon on today’s BS Podcast... he’s already the most destructive non-Kawhi perimeter defender in the league. It was crazy when he dropped to the 20s in June and it’s crazier now. pic.twitter.com/ti1t1t36ML— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) October 16, 2019
Jaylen Nowell, PG- Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves drafted Jaylen with the 43rd overall pick in the 2nd round of the last NBA draft and it seemed to be a solid landing spot for him. Jeff Teague is pretty clearly the starting point guard but there wasn’t a surefire backup for him. Unfortunately, it looks like Shabazz Napier has won that job to this point. Jaylen played 58 minutes in the first 4 games of the preseason but got a DNP- Coach’s Decision in the most recent game. I think he’ll still make the roster but at least initially he’ll be the 3rd PG and will need an injury and/or a trade in front of him to earn serious playing time.
Other Huskies Not in the NBA
Abdul Gaddy- Gaddy was waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder after playing with them in the preseason for the second straight year. We’ll see if he goes to their G-league affiliate or tries to play overseas.
CJ Wilcox- Similarly, Wilcox was waived by the Indiana Pacers in his attempt to regain an NBA roster spot.
Quincy Pondexter- It looks like his NBA career may be over after playing fewer than 300 minutes for the Spurs last year and not getting picked up this offseason.
Noah Dickerson- Noah is playing overseas in Israel.
Dominic Green- Will be playing in the G-league for the Erie Bay Hawks which is an affiliate of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Excited to start my Professional career in the G-League and officially become a Memeber of the @ErieBayHawks! Grateful for this opportunity and looking forward to what the future holds! Time to get to work, This is just the beginning stay tuned!— Dominic Green (@DGreenGiant) October 11, 2019
Tony Wroten- Currently playing in the Polish Basketball League.
Let us know in the comments section below if you have kept up with any other Dawgs that are still active professionally outside the NBA.