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Buffaloes in the NBA: 2022-23 Season Preview

Where are all the Buffs this season?

Orlando Magic v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA season is beginning this week, meaning it’s the best time to run around the association and check in on all the Colorado Buffaloes alumni playing or coaching.

McKinley Wright IV secured a two-way contract from the Dallas Mavericks. Wright played in the G League most of last season and earned a spot on the Minnesota Timberwolves’ roster for a while despite some injury issues. Wright hopped to the Suns for Summer League, moved to the Mavs for the preseason, and was impressive enough to get a two-way deal. The Mavs are set at point guard — Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie will play most of their minutes — but Wright could steal some back-end minutes from Frank Ntilikina, Tyler Dorsey and Jaden Hardy.

Spencer Dinwiddie will be a contender for Sixth Man of the Year on those Mavs, filling the role of Jalen Brunson, who parlayed his playoff success into a $104 million free agent deal. Dinwiddie will play upwards of 30 minutes per game, as he’s capable of running the second team as a primary ball handler in their pick-and-roll offense, and as an off-ball guard when Doncic is on the court. Dinwiddie has been up and down the last few years, but this seems as ideal as possible for him to find consistency and contribute on a contending team.

Derrick White will be promoted from a sixth man role to the starting 2-guard on the Boston Celtics, at least until Robert Williams III returns from injury. Acquired in a midseason trade with the Spurs, White was instrumental in helping the Celtics reach the NBA Finals, adding his defensive brilliance to the best defense in the league. The Colorado native will have to figure out his jumper after he lacked confidence in it during the playoffs, but his role will be secure even with Malcolm Brogdon joining the rotation.

Jabari Walker was one of the best players at Summer League, impressing the Portland Trail Blazers with his garbage man abilities and overall feel for the game. Originally thought to be headed for a two-way deal, the Blazers instead signed him to a standard three-year contract, meaning he’s on their 15-man roster. He might spend some time in the G League, but the Blazers need frontcourt depth and there’s a good chance he earns minutes over bench forwards Drew Eubanks, Trendon Watford and Justice Winslow.

Alec Burks is still hanging around, producing wherever he goes. His seventh stop in five years, Burks will add a veteran presence to a Detroit Pistons team that is hoping to take the next step around Cade Cunningham and their young core. The 12th-year pro (!) will be expected to play a significant role, steadying the second unit and guiding young guards Jaden Ivey and Killian Hayes in their development. There’s also a decent chance that the Pistons flip him at the deadline to a contender, or a someone trying to make the playoffs.

Jeriah Horne signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Sacramento Kings, meaning he’s trying out for the team and they might keep him on a two-way contract. More likely, he will be waived, given a decent paycheck (~$50K) and signed again to their G League affiliate, where they will keep an eye on him throughout the season. Regardless, it’s good to see Horne hanging around the fringes this season since he’s a great locker room guy and a reliable stretch-4.

Chauncey Billups enters his second year with the Blazers with expectations of making the play-in tournament, if not the playoffs. His first season was a bit of a disaster, defined by a Damian Lillard injury, front office drama with GM Neil Olshey getting fired, and then a blatent tankathan that saw the Blazers lose 21 of their final 23 games, starting luminaries such as CJ Elleby, Kris Dunn and Didi Louzada. Now a year removed, Billups will have to get the most out of guards Lillard and Anfernee Simons and find a defensive identity better than his blitzing scheme that got torched last year. The West is loaded so they have to hit the ground running if they’re going to contend for the playoffs.

Jamahl Mosley enters his second year as the head coach of the Orlando Magic with one of the more interesting jobs in the league. The Magic tanked their way to the first pick and will now build the offense around 6’10 power forward Paolo Banchero, 6’10 small forward Franz Wagner and 6’10 center Wendell Carter Jr., all of whom can pass, dribble and shoot. That frontcourt is going to be very good and very weird. Mosley will have to spend a lot of time developing his young guards, as the underrated Markelle Fultz is injured again, Jalen Suggs needs to refine his skills and Cole Anthony is not much of a team player. There are a lot of moving pieces — all very interesting players — and that’s before Jonathan Isaac plays his first game since August 2020.

Elsewhere in the World

Evan Battey — Rilski Sportist (Bulgaria)
Cory Higgins — Barcelona (Spain)
D’Shawn Schwartz — Fenerbahçe 2 (Turkey)
George King — Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
Tyler Bey — Ironi Ness Ziona (Israel)
Andre Roberson — not playing, probably retiring after his knee injuries :(
Josh Scott — Utsunomiya Brex (Japan)
Askia Booker — Shenzhen Aviators (China)
Xavier Johnson — Verona (Italy)
Wesley Gordon — Trefl (Poland)
Tre’Shaun Fletcher — Free Agent
Lucas Siewert — Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Josh Fortune — Randers (Denmark)
Namon Wright - Uralmash Yekaterinburg (Russia)
Shane Gatling — Gostivar (North Macedonia)
Lazar Nikolic — Stella Azzurra Roma (Italy)
Thomas Akyazili — Pınar Karşıyaka (Turkey)
Kenan Guzonjic — Free Agent