It's a big week for the NBA, as the trade deadline has just passed and the All-Star Game is on the horizon. As such, it's been a busy week for former Duke men's basketball players in the league, so join the Blue Zone as we check in:
Curry goes to Brooklyn, Bagley goes to Detroit, Ojeleye goes to Clippers
A busy NBA trade deadline saw multiple Blue Devils find new teams. A couple of hours before the 3 p.m. deadline, a blockbuster trade occurred between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets, which sent star James Harden and Paul Millsap to the 76ers in exchange for star point guard Ben Simmons, as well as former Blue Devil Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and draft picks. Curry will become a key shooter for a Nets team with championship aspirations. He is having a career year, averaging 15.0 points on 40.0% shooting from three. Now, he will get to play with former Duke teammate Kyrie Irving in the Big Apple.
Meanwhile, a massive four-team trade deal occurred that involved Blue Devil and 2018 No. 2 draft pick Marvin Bagley III. In the trade, he Sacramento Kings agreed to trade Bagley to the Detroit Pistons in return for Trey Lyles and Josh Jackson. Bagley never really clicked in Sacramento during his time there mostly because of injuries and disagreement with the organization. The power forward, who is averaging 13.5 points per game over his career, will get a fresh start in the Motor City and progress in his development. Also part of the trade was Semi Ojeleye, who was dealt from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Los Angeles Clippers. With superstar wings Paul George and Kawhi Leonard sidelined for some time, Blue Devil fans may get to see more playing time for Ojeleye in Los Angeles.
Tatum becomes three-time NBA All-Star
The Blue Devils will be represented in Cleveland next week at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. Feb. 3, the Boston Celtics' superstar forward Jayson Tatum became an NBA All-Star for the third consecutive year when he was selected to be on the reserves for the Eastern Conference. However, Tatum was recently moved to the starters as the Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant, who was a team captain, will be sidelined due to a knee injury. Tatum was selected to become a starter because he had the next most All-Star votes, and it will be his first career All-Star Game start. During Thursday’s NBA All-Star Draft, he was selected for Team Durant as Durant called him, “my fellow Olympian,” since they won a gold medal together for Team USA last summer.
Tatum has shown his ability to plow forward through a tumultuous season. While he has been healthy this season (apart from missing a week for COVID-19 protocols), fellow Celtics star Jaylen Brown has missed several games for a variety of reasons. However, Tatum has averaged 25.5 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game and 4.1 assists per game, and though his shooting has not been efficient as a Celtic, he is making a career-high percentage of his 2-point attempts. The Celtics have picked it up in a recent stretch, as they have won seven straight and are currently right in the playoff picture ranked No. 7 in the Eastern Conference. Still, Tatum will need to continue his All-Star-level play to get Boston farther into the postseason.
Ingram earns weekly honors
Last week, Brandon Ingram was named the NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week. This came off a week where the New Orleans Pelicans were 3-1, with Ingram playing in the three wins. He averaged 27.3 points, 9.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds, and had five steals, four blocks and just five turnovers in total. Ingram stuffed the stat sheet while doing it very efficiently, including shooting 40% from 3-point range.
Ingram’s week made history in several areas. For one, he became one out of two NBA players to average at least 27 points and nine assists in at least three games. Since this is Ingram’s third time receiving this weekly honor, he is just the third player in franchise history to win this award multiple times, behind Chris Paul and Anthony Davis. His return from ankle injury was certainly needed, as it has now lifted the Pelicans into play-in territory in spite of Zion Williamson's continued absence.
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