Hint: It might not be Greg Oden
As we get into the nitty gritty of You’re Nuts basketball edition (I keep saying that, but I don’t think this thing ever actually ends), the resident “Bucketheads” Connor and Justin will be looking at some Ohio State hoops history and digging into the record books.
For this week’s You’re Nuts, we will look into who we think has been the best Buckeye in the NBA since 2000. SINCE 2000. I have to say that twice, because I know someone is going to yell John Havlicek at me. So, again, the question is the best Buckeye since 2000 in the NBA.
Last week, Connor and Justin put together a team of a coach, a player and a mascot to be deserted on an island with. Connor picked Greg McDermott, Kofi Cockburn and Brutus and Justin picked Jay Wright, Jordan Bohannan and Brutus as well.
Connor’s team narrowly edged out Justin’s team with 55 percent of the votes while Justin’s team picked up 45 percent. That puts the current tally at:
After 15 weeks
(Nine weeks ago there was a tie)
After 15 weeks of nuts, Connor holds a 8-4 lead over Justin and is now officially running away with the win. The “other” option won twice.
Let’s now move ahead and focus on this week’s topic, the best Buckeye hooper in the NBA since 2000. We will give the option of other, but you have to tell us in the comments who you think it is if you pick other. Teach us something.
Today’s Question: Who has been the best Ohio State hoops player in the NBA?
Connor: Mike Conley Jr. (2007-)
If you’re looking for consistency, Mike Conley Jr. is your man. He’s like apple pie with vanilla ice cream — not the best option out there (that would be cherry pie, fyi), but you can count all the better options on one hand. An all-around great player, who to this day is still underappreciated.
Conley — the fourth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies — has played in well over 800 games in his career, averaging 63 games per season during his 14-year NBA career so far. He’s averaged 14.9 points, 5.7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game over those 14 seasons. He’s also an 82.1% free throw shooter and 37.9% from beyond the arc. He’s averaged 15+ points per game for seven of the last eight seasons, including last year, his age-33 season.
Now with the Utah Jazz, Conley’s most recent season was one of his best yet. This past campaign, he averaged 16.2 points, 6 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game for the 52-20 Jazz, who were the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference in the NBA playoffs. He also earned his first ever All-Star appearance, which at 14 years was the longest any first-time All-Star has ever had to wait.
While he has been great with the Jazz for the past two years, we mustn’t forget all of the fantastic years he had with the team who drafted him, the Memphis Grizzlies. Conley played in Memphis for 12 seasons, and is the current Memphis career record holder in the following categories:
- Games played (788)
- Three-point field goals (1,086)
- Assists (4,509)
- Steals (1,169)
- Points (11,733)
- Offensive win shares (45.6)
And the thing is, Conley isn’t done yet, and his recent seasons suggest that he’s still got a few years left in those legs. But when he’s finished, there will be a Mike Conley statue outside the FedEx Forum in Memphis. Conley, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph will likely have a shared statue as the Grizzlies’ “Core Four” for the better part of a decade.
While his lone All-Star appearance and no titles (so far) might cause some people to pause when thinking about how high he was drafted, Conley has been anything but a bust. Between his durability and downright productivity, Conley has had a wonderful and consistent career to this point — with much more to go.
Justin : Michael Redd (2000-2012)
I like Michael Redd. There is something to be said about a guy who goes above and beyond what he is supposed to do. That is Michael Redd. He went from the 43rd overall pick in the NBA draft to averaging almost 20 points per game for his 11 year career in the league. He played for the Milwaukee Bucks from 2000-11 and then played for the Phoenix Suns in the 2011-12 season.
Redd went through a three to four year span where he was one of the top scorers in the league, averaging 23.0 points per game in 2004-05, 25.4 points the next year, and 26.7 points per game in the 2006-07 campaign for the Milwaukee Bucks. In his 11 seasons, he only averaged less than 10 points per game during three of them, one being his first year in the league and one being his last.
Redd was also a vital part of the U.S. Men’s National Team winning gold with the “Redeem Team” in the 2008 Summer Olympics. They were called that because they lost out on a gold medal in 2004 and were hunting for redemption in 2008. Redd helped them accomplish that goal.
He was a career 38% three-point shooter, 48% from the field and 84% from the free-throw line. All of those numbers are solid for the rate and usage that he was being used on the Bucks as a scorer.
He averaged 3.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for his career. Neither of those numbers are amazing or jump off the page at you, but he was able to make himself useful on the glass and kept his efficiency up.
Bottom line is, the Bucks drafted a young and unproven 6-foot-6 guard from Ohio State and got a franchise scorer that true Bucks fans still remember. He was Khris Middleton before Khris Middleton; admittedly, Middleton is a better rebounder, but that’s not the point of this article.
The point is: Michael Redd has been the best Buckeye in the league since 2000.
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