Six Former Tigers Presently On NBA Rosters As 2021-22 Season Opens
BATON ROUGE – Six former LSU Tigers are presently on rosters as the National Basketball Association tips off its 75th anniversary season Tuesday night with a game featuring one of the recent additions to an NBA roster.
Brooklyn will open the season at defending NBA champion Milwaukee at 6:30 p.m. CT on TNT and the Nets will have on their roster first-round draft choice All-SEC selection Cameron Thomas. Thomas averaged 12.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in four preseason games for the Nets. Thomas was the 27th pick of the first round and signed a multi-year contract with the team on Aug. 5, 2021.
Thomas averaged 27.0 points in four Las Vegas Summer League games, ranking as the third-highest points per game for a player in a single summer league season. This after leading all freshmen in scoring in the NCAA at 23.0 points a contest.
Joining him from that 2021 LSU team that advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament will be Trendon Watford. Watford was undrafted but signed a two-way deal with Portland that will allow him time with both the NBA team and their G-League partner franchise.
In the preseason, Watford averaged 4.3 points and 3.3 rebounds.
On the opposite side from the two NBA rookies is Garrett Temple of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Temple is entering his 12th NBA campaign, having played in 632 league contests with 212 starts. His 632 NBA games is fifth all-time among LSU players in the league and with another 27 games will pass Pete Maravich for fourth behind only Shaquille O’Neal, Bob Pettit and Brandon Bass who have played more.
Temple, from Baton Rouge, last season with the Chicago Bulls averaged 7.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He was part of LSU’s 2006 NCAA Final Four team and players with LSU from 2005 to 2009. The Pelicans will be the 12th NBA team he has played for, many of those coming in his first three years when he played for several teams off 10-day contracts.
Skylar Mays is in his second year on a two-way contract with the Atlanta Hawks. The four-year LSU player averaged 3.8 points, 1.1 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game. Mays played in 33 games in his rookie season. He averaged 10 minutes a contest in the preseason with an average of 3.5 points and 1.3 rebounds.
Naz Reid starts his third year with the Minnesota Timberwolves after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent. Reid has played in 100 league contests and last year averaged 11.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists per contest.
As of this writing, Ben Simmons is still on the roster for the Philadelphia 76ers but reports are on Tuesday that he has been suspended for one game. He has played four seasons with Philadelphia after being the number one pick of the team in the 2016 NBA Draft. He has played 275 career NBA games for the team and last year averaged 14.3 points and 7.2 rebounds to go with 6.9 assists.
Besides Tuesday’s game for Brooklyn, the other teams with LSU ties will open either Wednesday or Thursday with Philadelphia (apparently without Simmons) and the Pelicans scheduled to face each other while the Trail Blazers meet Sacramento, Minnesota takes on Houston and Atlanta goes against Dallas.