How Former Ohio State Basketball Players Fared In The NBA And G League In 2018-19 Season

By Colin Hass-Hill on May 22, 2019 at 10:10 am
Evan Turner
Isaiah J. Downing – USA TODAY Sports

The 2018-19 NBA season hasn't wrapped up, but when the Golden State Warriors eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers from the playoffs on Monday, Ohio State's season in the NBA came to an end. 

Evan Turner's Trail Blazers and D'Angelo Russell's Brooklyn Nets made the playoffs, and Turner's team advanced to the Western Conference finals, but the three teams remaining in the playoffs – the Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors – do not have any former Ohio State players.

With no Buckeyes still playing, it's time to take a look at how each former Ohio State player in the NBA and G League fared in the 2018-19 season.


Evan Turner, Portland Trail Blazers

Stats: 6.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.2 blocks, 46.0 shooting percentage, 21.2 3-point percentage, 70.8 free-throw percentage, 22 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Turner's productivity fluctuated between games, and how he helped his team often changed, but he steadily played double-digit minutes in all but one regular-season game this year. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound versatile shooting guard came off the bench to fill a key role in Portland's rotation. He finished fifth on the team in rebounds and second in assists, also finishing with a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio, which was second-best on the Trail Blazers.

Performance of the year: Prior to the seventh game of the Trail Blazers' series against the Denver Nuggets, Turner had scored just seven points and made three shots in 140 minutes in the Western Conference semifinals. In Game 7 on May 12, he had 14 points, hit 8-of-9 free throws, grabbed seven rebounds and added two assists to help power Portland into the conference finals with a 100-96 win.

What's next?: Turner has one more year on a four-year, $70 million contract that he signed prior to the 2016-17 season. He will make $18.6 million as a 30-year old next season. His playing time has slipped in recent years, but he's still playing more than 20 minutes per game, and he'll once again serve as a role player on a team led by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Career earnings (after the 2018-19 season): $78.7 million

Mike Conley Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

Stats: 21.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, 43.8 shooting percentage, 36.4 3-point percentage, 84.5 free-throw percentage, 33.5 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: For a couple weeks, Memphis looked like it might shock the world, but after beginning the season with a 12-5 record, it quickly fell back to Earth and finished 33-49. Conley did what he could to keep the Grizzlies afloat, playing in 70 games, his most since the 2014-15 season. He led the team in points and assists per game, showing that even though he's spent more than a decade in the league and has never made an All-Star team, he's still among the better point guards in the NBA.

Performance of the year: Conley has now spent 12 seasons in the NBA, but has never scored more than he did in a 120-111 win against Portland on March 5. He dropped 40 points on Turner's team, hitting 12-of-18 shots, including 6-of-7 from behind the arc. He added four assists and four rebounds, turning the ball over just once.

What's next?: Conley became a fixture on the trade block this season, and since the Grizzlies will likely take Ja Morant with the second pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, he'll again become a highly discussed trade chip. He has two years remaining on his five-year, $152.6 million deal that he signed prior to the 2016-17 season, which could make him more difficult to deal. Regardless of whether he stays in Memphis or is sent elsewhere, he's still an impact point guard when healthy.

Career earnings (after the 2018-19 season): $141.1 million

D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets

Stats: 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.2 blocks, 43.4 shooting percentage, 36.9 3-point percentage, 78 free-throw percentage, 30.2 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: This season was the breakout year Russell had been waiting for. Playing the most minutes and games in his four NBA seasons to date, he had career-highs in points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. Russell captured the attention of NBA fans with his prolific scoring ability, scoring more than 35 points six times. He is a finalist for the league's Most Improved Player award. For the first time since the 2014-15 season, the Russell-led Nets made the playoffs.

Performance of the year: The Nets trailed the Sacramento Kings by 25 points in the fourth quarter, but Russell dropped 27 of his 44 points in the final 12 minutes to pull off a 123-121 win for Brooklyn on March 19. The best performance of his young career.

What's next?: Restricted free agency awaits for Russell. The Nets can offer him five years and $158.1 million, or another team can offer him four years and $117.2 million, allowing Brooklyn the option to match the offer. If the Nets chase and land any of the top free agents, such as Kyrie Irving, Russell could become expendable. But if they don't, it would make sense for him to return to Brooklyn.

Career earnings (after the 2018-19 season): $23 million

Kosta Koufos, Sacramento Kings

Stats: 3.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.4 blocks, 47.7 shooting percentage, 0.0 3-point percentage, 41.7 free-throw percentage, 12.0 minutes per game (42 games)

Season in a nutshell: Playing in the fewest games since his second year in the league, Koufos' role on Sacramento declined to a level it hadn't been at since early in his career. The 30-year-old big man started just a single game and averaged the fewest points and rebounds since he was 21 years old.

Performance of the year: Koufos reached double figures just once this season, scoring 11 points in a 122-105 win against the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 4. He made five-of-seven shots and collected five rebounds in the victory.

What's next?: Koufos has spent the past four seasons in Sacramento on a four-year, $32.9 million contract, but that expires after the 2018-19 season. He will enter unrestricted free agency. Given how much his role on the team declined this season, the 11-year veteran will have a much lighter market than he did than when the Kings came calling a few years ago.

Career earnings (after the 2018-19 season): $47.3 million

Keita Bates-Diop, Minnesota Timberwolves

Stats: 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.5 blocks, 42.3 shooting percentage, 25.0 3-point percentage, 64.3 free-throw percentage, 16.8 minutes per game (30 games)

Season in a nutshell: Bates-Diop played sparsely during the first half of the season under Tom Thibodeau, getting most of his action in the G League, where he averaged 17.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in 16 games. Later in the year, he got tossed into the rotation, which he surely hopes will be a sign of things to come. Bates-Diop averaged 6.5 points in more than 20 minutes per game in March and April combined.

Performance of the year: Following his career-high 12-point performance in an overtime win against the Washington Wizards, Bates-Diop immediately raised the bar by scoring 18 points in a victory against the New York Knicks. He hit 7-of-12 shots and grabbed six rebounds.

What's next? Bates-Diop's career has just begun, and he'll return to the Timberwolves for his sophomore season. With Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Anthony Tolliver hitting free agency, he might have a chance to earn a larger role. The third year of his contract is not guaranteed, so he'll need to make an impression to stick around after the 2020-21 season.

Career earnings (after the 2018-19 season): $838,464

G League

Shannon Scott, Long Island Nets

Stats: 9.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks, 37.4 shooting percentage, 32.5 3-point percentage, 76.7 free-throw percentage, 30.4 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Scott's season came to a premature end due to a right ankle injury in March, but he led the Long Island Nets to a first-place regular season finish in the Eastern Conference as the starting point guard. He led the team in assists per game, uniting with Theo Pinson, Alan Williams and Dzanan Musa to make up one of the top teams in the G League. Scott, now 26 years old, showed he has a lot left in his professional basketball career.

Performance of the year: Instead of a single game, we're going with a four-game stretch that featured two triple-doubles and two 20-assist games. Between Jan. 2-12, Scott racked up 49 points, 61 assists and 34 rebounds. Game 1: 9 points, 20 assists, 6 rebounds, 5 steals. Game 2: 17 points, 16 assists, 11 rebounds. Game 3: 12 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds. Game 4: 11 points, 20 assists, 11 rebounds. Not too shabby. 

Sam Thompson, Greensboro Swarm

Stats: 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks, 42.0 shooting percentage, 28.1 3-point percentage, 76.9 free-throw percentage, 20.7 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Spending his second straight season with the Swarm, Thompson once again split his time between the starting five and coming off the bench. His minutes dropped by an averaged of seven per game this season, but he remained in a sturdy role on the team. Greensboro struggled, finishing with a 24-26 record.

Performance of the year: In a 115-112 win against the Canton Charge on Dec. 15, Thompson scored an efficient 21 points, knocking down 8-of-11 field goals and going 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. He added four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Dallas Lauderdale, Maine Red Claws

Stats: 4.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.1 steals, 1.3 blocks, 73.8 shooting percentage, 0.0 3-point percentage, 37.0 free-throw percentage, 18.5 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: As a starter, Lauderdale's minutes fluctuated greatly, but he provided Maine with the same physical, interior presence he showed as a Buckeye. Since averaging 7.5 points and 8.7 rebounds during the 2013-14 season in the G League as a rookie, Lauderdale's role has declined, but he still has value in the post. As shown by his 73.8 shooting percentage, he knows how best to contribute and focuses on those areas.

Performance of the year: Lauderdale snagged a season-high 13 rebounds in a win against Raptors 905 on Dec. 29. He scored eight points, hitting 4-of-6 shots, and tossed four assists.

Marc Loving, Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario

Stats: 5.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.6 blocks, 37.8 shooting percentage, 30.1 3-point percentage, 84.2 free-throw percentage, 16.8 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: After starting just three games in his first G League season, Loving had 17 starts this season, though his production didn't change much. His shooting percentage remained below 40 percent, and his points per game dropped from 6.1 to 5.0. The Clippers went 26-24.

Performance of the year: In a 117-107 loss to Long Island, Loving scored 14 points, hitting 6-of-11 shots. He also grabbed eight rebounds and added four assists.

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