Jayhawks in the NBA: An Update

We’re a quarter of the way through the 2016-17 NBA season and former 15 former Jayhawks have contributed minutes to NBA teams. Here’s a look at each pro-Jayhawk’s production thus far (listed in order of Win Shares per 48 minutes, according to Basketball Reference).

Jeff Withey, Utah Jazz

Also known as “JEFFFFFFFF!!!” for Inside the Paint listeners, Withey has carved out a significant role as a rim protector in the association. He boasts a block% of 6.6 and a stellar defensive rating of 99, helping Rudy Gobert in anchoring a stellar Jazz defense.

Cole Aldrich, Minnesota Timberwolves

From the similar rim protection mold as Withey, Aldrich has bolstered his professional value by being an incredible rebounder on both ends of the floor. Aldrich’s veteran presence and defensive prowess will be key in moving the young T-Wolves forward.

Tarik Black, Los Angeles Lakers

Black has found a home in Los Angeles, and appears to be a big part of the Lakers’ youth movement. Black averages 6 points and 5 rebounds a game for L.A. in just over 15 minutes per game. The Lakers are 9 points better than their opponents per 100 possessions with him on the floor.

Marcus Morris, Detroit Pistons

Marcus has started every game since arriving in Detroit to play for Stan Van Gundy. He’s currently enjoying career highs in points and blocks per game, as well as free throw percentage. The Pistons currently hold the eighth playoff spot in the East.

Paul Pierce, Los Angeles Clippers

Playing in his final professional season, Pierce has largely been relegated to the bench for a Clippers team that finds itself third in the West. Pierce’s championship experience and relationship with Clippers head coach Doc Rivers will be extremely valuable to a Clippers team that has plenty of talent, but a lack of playoff success to show for it.

Joel “The Process” Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

My favorite story of the young NBA season has been the debut and emergence of Joel Embiid. Embiid is putting up insane numbers (8.3 block %, 26.2 total rebound %, and oh yeah, is shooting 50% from three). When Embiid is on the floor, the Sixers are one of the best defensive teams in the league when referencing defensive rating. Though minutes restrictions and the franchises’ proclivity to rest Embiid on back-to-back’s have limited his total minutes, he has been nothing short of incredible on night’s he suits up.

Kelly Oubre, Washington Wizards

Oubre has yet to make the leap that Washington was expecting from the hyper-athletic wing, but keep in mind, he is still just 21 years of age. Oubre has too much athletic upside to give up on, and the Wizard’s roster does not exactly inspire success. A change of scenery may best suit Oubre at this point in his young career.

Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves

Wiggins’ NBA career has largely been an enigma to this juncture. The former #1 overall pick has seen his points per game rise each of his first three seasons, and he’s starting to show the ability to knock down 3’s at a respectable rate, but Wiggins’ defensive production is keeping him from becoming a mega-star. Wiggins’ current defensive rating of 114 is right in line with the previous two seasons he’s put together, making his offensive contribution pale in comparison. Under the guidance of renowned defensive mind, Tom Thibodeau, it appears the Wolves’ culture has changed, but the defensive production remains largely the same. Wiggins’ offensive ability is no joke, though. If he can get his defensive outputs to trend in that same direction, he’s going to be a perennial all-star.

Markieff Morris, Washington Wizards

As with Oubre, Markieff is finding Washington to be a difficult place to produce effectively. Since joining the Wizards at the trade deadline last season, Markieff has seen nearly all of his numbers decline to near career lows. Here’s to a Morrii reunion in Detroit under Stan Van Gundy.

Darrell Arthur, Denver Nuggets

Arthur signed a 3-year/23 million dollar deal in the off-season to return to Denver, where the front office and coaching staff praised Arthur for having all the attributes possessed by a great teammate. Due to injury, Arthur has missed a large portion of the current season, but is starting to round into form. The Nuggets are currently 8-14, good for 11th in the Western Conference.

Thomas Robinson, Los Angeles Lakers

“T-Rob” has struggled to find a niche in the NBA after putting together an incredible final season at Kansas, taking the Jayhawks to the national championship game. In his first year with the Lakers, Robinson is averaging 2 points and 3 rebounds in just under 10 minutes per game.

Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings

The fourth year King and former lottery pick has failed to live up to expectations, but at the age of 23, he still possess wing talent that another franchise will surely take a chance on in the near future. Look for McLemore to be moved at the deadline if the Kings (8-13, 10th in the West) fail to turn things around.

Nick Collison, Oklahoma City Thunder

Collison is in his 13th year as a pro, all with the same ‘franchise’ (sorry, Sonics fans). One of the most popular and prolific Kansas players ever, Collison has only played 22 minutes this season, but his longevity speaks volumes as to the type of teammate Collison has been as a professional.

Brandon Rush, Minnesota Timberwolves

Rush left the Golden State Warriors as a free agent (after they blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals) to join a young, upcoming Minnesota team. Rush has struggled to find the floor this year, as he’s been injured as of late. Rush has made a career out of shooting from behind the arc, where he is a 40% career shooter.

Cheick Diallo, New Orleans Pelicans

Diallo has played in 7 minutes this season, where he has recorded 1 block and 1 offensive rebound. He has yet to score. The 20 year-old Diallo has always been viewed as a project, and it appears the Pelicans are going to use a very slow method in terms of developing him.

Stats used for this piece were courtesy of Basketball Reference.

Caleb Feist contributes content weekly each Thursday. View his archive, or follow him on Twitter.

Caleb Feist

Writer for Rock Chalk Blog who loves threes, the crying Jordan meme, and watching Mario Chalmers' game-tying shot on YouTube. Follow me on twitter, @cjfeist.