State has no shortage of NBA guards

Here’s a trivia question for any NBA fans out there. And, no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the possible move of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. That seemed like a slam-dunk six weeks ago. Now, not so much. One gets the feeling David Stern is working some creepy behind-the-scenes magic to keep the team in Sac-town. And I’m OK with that, as long as the league delivers Seattle an expansion team that will being play no later than the 2015-16 season, which is when Chris Hansen’s new arena in SoDo is expected to be completed and ready to open.

Anyway, back to the trivia question? How many guards on NBA rosters played their high school or college basketball in the state of Washington? Hint, it’s probably more than you think. (Answer below).

Before I get to the answer, there are four e four NBA forwards from the state: Martell Webster (Seattle Prep), Washington Wizards; Marvin Williams (Bremerton), Utah Jazz; Aron Baynes (Washington State), San Antonio Spurs; Quincy Pondexter (Washington), Memphis Grizzlies.  Of that foursome, Webster’s the top player, averaging 11.9 points and 3.9 rebounds. Williams’ play has really tailed off this season. The former B-town star is averaging a career low 7.4 ppg and 3.6 rpg for the Jazz, but has been nagged by a series of ailments. The latest is a tendinitis in his right heel.

And there’s three centers: Spencer Hawes (Seattle Prep/Washington), Philadelphia 76ers; Robert Sacre (Gonzaga), LA Lakers; Ronny Turiaf (Gonzaga), LA Clippers. Hawes averages 11 ppg, 7.3 rpg. He averaged 14 points in March while playing the best basketball of his career.

That brings us back to the trivia question. How many guards?

Did you say 14? By my count, that’s how many were in the league last week. But Dallas didn’t sign Justin Dentmon (Washington) to a second 10-day contract, so there’s only 13. That’s still a pretty high number, don’t ya think? (Update: There are 14; Justin Holiday is now in the league after signing with Philadelphia in early April).

They are, in no special order:

Nate Robinson (Rainier Beach/Washington), Chicago Bulls. Nate the Great came off the bench to score 35 points in 33 minutes on Thursday in an overtime win over the Knicks. The season-long injury to Derrick Rose gave Robinson an opportunity in Chicago and he’s averaging 14.4 ppg in his seventh NBA season.

Jason Terry (Franklin/Arizona), Boston Celtics. The veteran averages 10.2 points, coming off the bench for the Celtics.

Avery Bradley  (Bellarmine Prep/Texas), Boston Celtics. Former backcourt partner with UW’s Abdul Gaddy, who was the higher-rated player out of high school, averages 9.1 points. Injuries have limited this quick, defensive-oriented player to 47 games, but he had stretches early where he really played well.

Terrance Williams (Rainier Beach/Louisville), Boston Celtics. Yep, three state players on the C’s roster. Williams was in Spain earlier this season and is getting limited minutes. Technically I suppose, you’d list T-Williams as a G-F.

Rodney Stuckey (Kentwood/Eastern Washington), Detroit Pistons. I still remember him coming off a screen and hitting a deep jumper in front of press row in the 2004 Class 4A state finals victory against South Kitsap. “That was an NBA jump shot,” I remember saying to the guy next to me. Stuckey’s coming off the bench now, but he’s still an above-average NBA guard, averaging 11.7 points.

Terrance Ross (Washington), Toronto Raptors. Averages 6.2 points per game in rookie season.

Luke Ridnour (Blaine/Oregon), Minnesota Timberwolves. Ridnour’s probably a better player now than he was in Seattle years ago. Averages 11.6 points. 3.8 assists in his 9th season. He was the 14th overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Sonics.

Brandon Roy (Garfield/Washington), Minnesota Timberwolves. Perhaps the greatest guard to come out of our state, Roy came back for one more season, but appeared in just five games before his knee gave out on him again.

Tony Wroten (Garfield/Washington), Memphis Grizzlies. A classic case of a player who needed more time in college to refine his game, but you can’t blame him for turning pro, not with the money they’re throwing at guys these days. He’s getting 8.5 minutes a game, all of it garbage time, with the Griz.

Aaron Brooks (Franklin/Oregon)m, Houston Rockets. Fourth-year player’s once-promising career seems to be headed in another direction. He was let go by Sacramento and picked up by the Rockets, but isn’t getting much court time.

Isaiah Thomas (Curtis/Washington), Sacramento Kings. The second-year guard has matured into a really good player in just his second season. Thomas averages 14 points, 3.9 assists and would become an huge fan favorite if the Kings move to Seattle.

Klay Thompson (Washington State), Golden State Warriors. Second-year pro seems destined for stardom. Averages 16.4 points while shooting at a 40 percent clip. His genes are pretty good. His dad Mychal Thompson was the top overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft. He won two rings with the Lakers. His mom played volleyball at the University of San Francisco. Older brother Mychel Thompson played basketball at Pepperdine. Younger brother Trayce Thompson is an outfielder and the top prospect in the White Sox’s minor league organization.

Jamal Crawford (Rainier Beach/Michigan), LA Clippers. Crawford could always score, and he’s not slowing down at age 33. The 8th overall pick out of Michigan in 2000, the 12-year pro is averaging 16.9 points off the bench and could be this year’s Sixth Man of the Year award winner.

Justin Holiday (Washington), Philadelphia 76ers. Holiday was signed to a 10-day contract at the start of the month. He’s a strong defender who was playing in the NBA D League. He joins his brother, Jrue Holiday, in Philadelphia. Jrue is Philly’s leading scorer.


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