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Where are they now? Buffs in the NBA

Let’s take a look at the Buffs that played in the NBA this season.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA Finals wrapping up last Sunday, it seemed like a good time for us to take a look around the league at the Colorado alumni and their contributions to their various teams.

Chris Copeland, Free Agent

Chris Copeland, who played at Colorado from 2002-2006, didn’t debut in the NBA until 2012-13. He spent this past season playing for the Milwaukee Bucks before he was cut in February to make room for Steve Novak. In the 24 games he played before that, he averaged 2.1 points, 0.5 assists and 0.4 rebounds in 6.5 minutes per game.

Alec Burks, Utah Jazz

Alec Burks, who Dwyane Wade called the most underrated player in the NBA, played for CU from 2009-2011 and appeared in 68 games for the Buffs before he declared for the NBA Draft. Drafted 12th overall by the Jazz in 2011, Burks has been slowed considerably by injuries the last two years, appearing in 58 games in that time. His 2014-15 season was cut short after 27 games due to shoulder surgery. 2015-16 was ended after 31 games when he suffered a fractured fibula that required surgery. Utah expects him to be healthy and will likely use him as their sixth man.

However, there has been talk of the Jazz potentially trading the combo guard, as his skills are somewhat redundant with that of starter Rodney Hood’s and with a team-friendly contract ($10M per season is team-friendly in this market), Burks has serious value. If Burks is moved, he stands to get more playing time and potentially star.

When he was on the court, he showed glimpses of being the player that electrified the Coors Events Center for two years. Burks shot 40% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc, averaging 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 29.2 minutes per game en route to being named first team all-conference.

André Roberson, Oklahoma City Thunder

The first commitment of the Tad Boyle era, André Roberson spent three years at CU. He averaged 9.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game in his career, which spanned 105 games. When all was said and done, he finished second in program history in career rebounding, pulling down 1,045 boards in 105 games, just nine behind the program’s all-time leading rebounder, Stephane Pelle.

Roberson was drafted 26th overall in 2013 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and then was immediately traded twice. Once from Minnesota to Golden State, and again from the Warriors to Oklahoma City. His first season in the league was split between the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League and the Thunder, before he moved into the starting rotation for OKC in his second season. Despite spending his career at Colorado as a forward, he plays as a shooting guard now.

This past season, Roberson started all 70 games he appeared in, averaging 4.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 22.2 minutes per game, all while providing lockdown defense. He improved on his regular season numbers in the playoffs, averaging 5.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks in 26.2 minutes in the 18 games they played.

Spencer Dinwiddie, Chicago Bulls

The Mayor played three years at CU, leading the Buffs from 2010-2014. In 86 games with the Buffs, he averaged 13 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 30.1 minutes per game. He tore his ACL against Washington halfway through his junior year and declared for the draft following the conclusion of the season. He was drafted with the 8th pick of the second round (38th overall) by the Detroit Pistons, and played two seasons for the team before they traded him to the Chicago Bulls for Cameron Bairstow last week.

In two years, Dinwiddie appeared in 46 games for Detroit, averaging 4.4 points, 2.7 assists and 1.4 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game. He also appeared in 19 games for the D-League’s Grand Rapids Drive, where he averaged 14 points, 5.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game.

With Derrick Rose out of the picture in Chicago, it’s likely that Dinwiddie will see the floor more than he did for the Pistons, but that hinges on the team picking up their option on the third year of his contract, which is non-guaranteed.