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Update of Cyclones in the NBA

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Check out which former Iowa State men’s basketball players will be on NBA rosters this season.

Photo via: nbagleague on YouTube

Training camp has officially begun for all 30 NBA teams, so I thought it would be a great time to see where all the former Cyclones will be playing this season.

Monte Morris, G, Denver Nuggets

In 2017 Monte was the 51st overall selection in the NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. He spent the bulk of his rookie season playing in the G-League. Which led to him signing as a two-way player (he was able to play for the G-League team and the NBA team) last season. He began 2018 performing very well and he was given the opportunity to be the backup point guard with the Nuggets. He really took advantage, appearing in all 82 games and averaging 10.4 points and 3.6 assists, as one of the best backup point guards in the league.

This season Monte will continue to backup Jamaal Murray in Denver in the second year of his 3-year fully guaranteed contract.

Georges Niang, F, Utah Jazz

Georges has had a very similar career path as Monte. He was the 50th pick overall in the 2016 draft by the Utah Jazz. He spent his first two seasons in the G-League, but in his third year he was signed a two-way player for the Jazz, and he worked his way to being a serious rotational player. Last season appeared in 52 NBA games where he shot 47.5% from the field and averaged 4 points a contest.

Heading into this season the Jazz lost a lot of their depth in the Mike Conley trade, so I expect Niang to have an increased role in the second year of this 3-year fully guaranteed contract.

Talen Horton-Tucker, G, Los Angeles Lakers

Horton-Tucker’s great freshman season with Iowa State led to him signing with LeBron James’ own sports agency Klutch Sports. After signing with Klutch the Lakers decided to take Talen with the 46th pick in last year’s draft (coincidence?). He suffered a stress fracture in his right foot during one of his pre-draft workouts therefore he wasn’t able to participate in summer league in the offseason. His lack of offseason work might lead to him struggling to find consistent time with the Lakers the season. I expect him to spend most of his time with their G-League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers in hopes of developing further as a player.

Deonte Burton, F, Oklahoma City Thunder

Deonte went undrafted in 2017, so he decided to go play in the Korean basketball league for Wonju DB Promy. After one season there, the OKC Thunder saw his exciting style of play and decided to sign him to a two-way contract for the 2018 season last year. In the G-League for the OKC Blue, he averaged 17 points a game and 5 rebounds, but he appeared in only 32 games for the Thunder and averaged 2.6 points a contest.

Deonte will always have a spot in professional basketball because his highlight reel plays will put butts in the seats. The 6’5” monster has a chance to have an increased role this season on the first year of his new fully guaranteed two-year contract.

Marial Shayok, F, Philadelphia 76ers

Shayok was drafted in the with the 54th pick of last years draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He has already signed a two-way contract with the team for the upcoming season, but I would not be shocked if he worked his way to a fully guaranteed contract as soon as this year.

He was Philly’s leading scorer in the Summer League averaging 14.5 a game, showcasing his elite shooting ability, and defensive versatility. He will begin this season with the Delaware Blue Coats, but don’t be surprised if Shayok carves out a serious role with the Sixers this season.

Matt Thomas, F, Toronto Raptors

Thomas went undrafted after graduating from Iowa State following the 2017 season. In 2018 he played for Obradoiro which is a team in the Spanish ACB league. Last year Thomas played for Valencia, who plays in the higher level of Spanish basketball in the EuroLeague (often viewed as the second best league in the world). He was an automatic three-point shooter in his euro-league career, shooting a ridiculous 47.2% from beyond the arc, which led to a Euro Cup championship last season with Valencia.

The defending NBA champs decided to take a chance on Thomas, on a three year free agent contract this offseason. With the obvious subtraction of Kawhi Leonard, Thomas will have a serious chance to play meaningful minutes with the Raptors, in hopes of showing the league that he belongs in the NBA.

Naz Mitrou-Long, G, Indiana Pacers

Naz has jumped around the NBA after going undrafted in 2017. He began his career with the Kings summer league team. Then he signed a contact with the Utah Jazz prior to his rookie season, and he would play with their G-League team for two seasons. He was later released and then he played with the Cleveland Cavaliers summer league team this offseason. He performed very well, which led to signing a two-way contract with the Indiana Pacers.

Naz is a perfect modern NBA 3-and-D player, so if he performs well with the Pacers this season between their G-League team the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, and the NBA team I think he could work his way to a guaranteed contract, this might be his last chance to do so in the NBA.

Abdel Nader, G, Oklahoma City Thunder

Nader was selected with the 58th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. He played with their G-League affiliate for his entire rookie season. Which led to seeing NBA time the following year, where he appeared in 48 games averaging 3 points and 1.5 rebounds. Following the 2017 season Nader was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Last year in OKC the former Cyclone averaged 4 points and 1.9 rebounds in 61 total games.

Similar to his teammate Deonte Burton, Nader will be given the chance to showcase his full potential with the new-look Thunder this season. He has always struggled to find his consistency with his three point shot but if he does that we could maybe see a breakout season?

Lindell Wigginton, G, Minnesota Timberwolves

After two seasons at Iowa State, Wigginton decided to enter the 2019 NBA Draft where he would go undrafted. He played well with the Toronto Raptors in the summer league this offseason, which led to him earning an opportunity to compete for a roster sport with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He does have the chance to make the T-Wolves roster, but playing in the NBA his first season might be a stretch. Best case scenario is that Wigginton gets brought on as a two-way player or he finds a spot with their G-League team. Lindell is still only 21 years old so his professional career is just beginning.

**FYI Iowa will only have 1 former player on a training camp roster this season... Devyn Marble who will most likely not make the Warriors team.**