Longhorns in the NBA: Opening Day performances

Will Korn

Many NBA teams played their first regular season game Wednesday night. The results were pretty mixed with all-star-like and poor showings. It’s just the first game of the year, but here are how some former Texas Longhorns opened their seasons.

Avery Bradley – Boston Celtics point guard

He will get a ton of playing time over the next few weeks, as star point guard Rajon Rondo patiently recovers from a torn ACL from last season. So don’t put too much stock into his relatively average offensive display against the Toronto Raptors. In 31 minutes against Toronto, Bradley recorded eight points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals on 4 for 13 shooting.

Bradley has always been a defense-first guard, even at Texas. He can score but anything too much more than his career average of 6.9 points per game is an added bonus. Bradley did a nice job of limiting explosive, all-around-scoring guard Kyle Lowry. Expect his defensive efforts to be a constant for Boston all season long, even when Rondo returns.

D.J. Augustin — Toronto Raptors point guard

The total opposite of Bradley, Augustin won’t be seeing too much court time anytime soon, simply because starter Kyle Lowry is just a better, more proven NBA point guard right now. Augustin wasn’t too efficient with his 13 minutes Wednesday night. He needed seven shots to score five points, and he only added two dimes to his stat sheet. Much more efficient, distributive play is required to be a starting point guard in the NBA.

The best news about Augustin’s performance Wednesday night? His Raptors are 1-0.

Tristan Thompson — Cleveland Cavaliers power forward

Thompson turned in the first stud performance by a Longhorn so far in this infant season. He is the Cavs’ best player by far, and led his team to an impressive win against the newly-powerful Brooklyn Nets. In 35 minutes, Thompson put up 18 points and 9 rebounds on an efficient 8 for 13 shooting performance. He made Kevin Garnett work on the defensive end, and the expended energy took a bit out of Garnett — who was really a non-factor Wednesday — on offense.

If Thompson puts up these numbers consistently, this upstart Cleveland squad just might make a return to the playoffs.

LaMarcus Alrdridge — Portland Trail Blazers power forward

I’m saving the best for last here. After all, it’s indisputable that Aldridge is the best former Longhorn in the league right now. He didn’t really need last night’s all-star performance to prove or even reinforce that status. He played huge minutes, but as the face of the Blazers’ franchise, he is expected to carry this burden. He poured in 28 points on 12 for 22 shooting, along with four rebounds and two assists in 39 minutes.

Aldridge will need to be a more consistent rebounding machine if Portland wants to sneak into the west’s top eight in April. But the scoring will always be there, and he has plenty of mates to help him on that front all season long.