As promised, I’m here to provide an update on how some of our old pals are doing twenty-ish games into the season. If you recall, I outlined the prospects of former Rockets players: Kenyon Martin Jr., Josh Christopher, Usman Garuba, TyTy Washington Jr., and Daishen Nix.
A few things have changed since...
Kenyon Martin Jr.
KJ only appeared in two games for the Los Angeles Clippers before he was shipped off as part of a package for another former Rocket, James Harden. Since joining the Philadelphia 76ers, he has only received game action in nine games, and that’s only been six minutes per game.
I truly feel bad for KJ as he’s been buried behind an assortment of vets on the Sixers depth chart. It’s a shame that neither LA or Philly could carve out a role for him up to this point. This just may be an instance that the grass isn’t always greener.
His replacement: Dillon Brooks
DB has been great this season and you do this exchange every time. That being said, I hope KJ gets a fair chance to hold a role once his number is called.
Josh has yet to see a minute with the Utah Jazz, but he’s putting up a respectable 17.8 points and 6.8 rebounds with the Salt Lake City Stars. However, his issue continues to remain turning the ball over, as he’s coughing it up 4.6 times per game. I can’t say I’ve watched any SLCS games this season, but if the Utah brass is testing JC out at point guard, the G-League is the best place to do it.
His replacement: Jae’Sean Tate
Tate essentially reabsorbed whatever minutes Christopher got last season after Tate endured an injury riddled 2022-23. He’s been solid and reliable so far.
Like Christopher, Garuba has spent all of his time with the Golden State Warriors’ G-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. Never a huge scoring threat, Garuba has made his living off of hustle and defense. At 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, it appears to be the same Uzi that we grew accustomed to.
His replacement: Jock Landale/Jeff Green
Jeff Green has been an awesome presence while Landale has left more to be desired. I wouldn’t mind a Garuba reunion next year for depth reasons.
TyTy Washington Jr.
TyTy has split his time between the Milwaukee Bucks (2 games) and the Wisconsin Herd (6 games) this season. His shooting splits have been ugly so far this season, so ugly that I won't bother typing them. He’ll need to improve on those if he hopes to see more time behind Dame Lillard and Cam Payne.
His replacement: Amen Thompson
Amen’s absence due to injury has felt pretty equal to the existence of TyTy last season considering that he didn’t get to see much NBA action. I expect that to drastically change once Amen can get back out there.
The seldom-used Nix has only played 20 minutes for the league-leading Minnesota Timberwolves, but who says he hasn’t made an impact? The team has only ascended to the top of the conference since he arrived. Coincidence?
His replacement: Aaron Holiday
Buddy, you want to talk about night and day?