Former Longhorns shining in the NBA Playoffs


AP Photo/ Sue Ogrocki

Kevin Durant, former Longhorn and current Oklahoma City Thunder, drives to the basket during a game on April 16. 

Garrett Callahan

It’s no secret that Texas is considered more of a football school than a basketball school.

But, while the Longhorns have produced many NFL stars, they have also started the careers of multiple NBA personalities, six of whom are currently playing in the NBA playoffs.

The two most well known Texas Exes in the big leagues are Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge, both of whom can be considered among the current top 10 players in the NBA.

Durant, with the Oklahoma City Thunder, sits among the top three leading scorers in the league during these 2014 playoffs. While he’s had a few shooting problems in his first four games against the Grizzlies, Durant is still averaging 28.5 points per game with a 39.6 shooting percentage.

Durant is also a front-runner to claim a well-deserved Most Valuable Player honor this season after averaging a league-best 32 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game in the regular season. He captured his fourth career scoring title and is currently in the lead for the MVP title above two-time winner LeBron James.

But Aldridge, who left Texas the same year Durant came to Texas, has taken the spotlight in the playoffs. Aldridge, a Dallas native, sits atop the playoff leaderboard with an average of 35.3 points per game during the Trail Blazers’ first series with Houston.

Aldridge is having what might be his best season during his seven-year NBA career after finishing the regular season with a career-high 23.2 PPG and a career-high 11.1 RPG. He has led his team to a 3-1 series lead against the Houston Rockets with a 52.9 shooting percentage during the playoffs. Aldridge’s interior offense, combined with his jump shot skills, has propelled him as one of the best power forwards in the league.

Other Longhorns have also shone in the postseason this year. While the Bulls have gone down three games to one against the Wizards, D.J. Augustin has tallied 15.5 points per game during these playoffs. 

While basketball continues to grow in popularity in the state, Longhorns are making their own basketball stance in the NBA. While veterans like Durant and Aldridge continue to shine, young stars such as Augustin and Cory Joseph are still growing and will soon make their own spotlight in the NBA postseason.