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Beyond the Flats: NBA Edition

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Roundball Rock!

Orlando Magic v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

In this weekly feature, we’ll take a look at what Tech’s finest are up to since leaving the Institute. This week, we focus on former basketball Jackets in preparation for the upcoming season.

Seeing Josh Partner and crew raise the ACC Championship trophy in March was a long time coming. We’d seen incremental improvements, an NIT championship run that felt like the start of something real, upsets over highly ranked ACC foes that brought the thunder back to the Thunderdome, but hadn’t seen it all come together for the Jackets. The 2020-2021 season did not start how we’d hoped, but the hardware at the end was a fitting salve, proving that commitment and cohesion produce truly great things. From that team we lost our two leaders, but I am hopeful for the upcoming season and the raised expectations of finishing as the best in the ACC. Let’s delve into what those two stars are doing now, as well as where some other former Jackets have landed in the NBA.

Jose Alvarado, G, New Orlean Pelicans

Orlando Magic v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Jose signed a two-way deal with the Pelicans as they moved on from Lonzo Ball and had a bit of room in their organization for a young guard. In Summer League, Jose showed his tenacity and propensity for defense, overcoming his size disadvantage to hound opponents and take the ball away regularly. He is currently assigned to the Birmingham Squadron of the G League, reuniting with former Georgia Tech center James Banks.

Moses Wright, F, Clippers Organization

Denver Nuggets v LA Clippers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

A camp signing in L.A., Moses was a final cut for the Clippers. He left a strong impression on the organization, and was signed to the Agua Caliente Clippers. The G League affiliate is coached by none other than former Tech head coach Paul Hewitt, and don’t be surprised if Moses gets some run at the top level this season. He showed in preseason he has the game.

Moses Wright gets his start in G League, coached by Paul Hewitt

Derrick Favors, C, Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

After a strong run for the Utah Jazz that saw Favors become a regular starter, he has changed teams each of the past three seasons, playing for the New Orleans Pelicans, Jazz, and this season suiting up for the Thunder in OKC. After not starting a game last season, Favors has returned to the starting lineup for the Thunder, and in their win over the Lakers last week posted a strong line: 15 points & 6 rebounds on 88% shooting. With an extended strong run, I expect Favors to get looks from contenders down the stretch and be a late addition to a playoff team.

Josh Okogie, G, Minnesota Timberwolves

New Orleans Pelicans v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

While his offensive game has always ebbed and flowed, Okogie’s defense is keeping him in the rotation in Minnesota, and he’s started this season strong from a defensive standpoint. Thus far in 2021 (4 games), Okogie is averaging 4 rebounds and nearly 2 steals, while committing 0.5 turnovers in 20 minutes of action each game. In Minnesota’s latest game, Okogie recorded 6 points for the Timberwolves in a win over the Houston Rockets. He has always been a dependable perimeter defender, locking down an opponents best outside option. But I do hope Okogie can add a bit more consistency on the offensive end and really take his game to the next level.

Thaddeus Young, F, San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs v Milwaukee Bucks

A journeyman in every sense of the term, Thaddeus has now suited up for 6 teams during his 14 year career. It would appear he is still finding his place in the San Antonio rotation, as he is averaging just 4 points and 9 minutes per game through 3 games, down from averages of 12 points and 24 minutes from year ago. Thaddeus has been a respected veteran presence in every locker room he’s been a part of, and I expect him to find his footing and leave his mark on San Antonio before long.