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Georgia Tech #ProJackets Basketball Report

THE FLATS – The 2023-24 NBA regular season begins next Thursday … Why the Phoenix Suns need Josh OkogieThaddeus Young’s experience valuable as the Toronto Raptors navigate new coaching staff … Jose Alvarado talks his return to action and his defensive mindset … Michael Devoe waived with Utah Jazz … more in this week’s #ProJackets Report.

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WHAT JOSH OKOGIE BRINGS TO THE PHOENIX SUNS

Phoenix Suns forward Josh Okogie was largely seen as an afterthought signing in July of last year when he departed the Minnesota Timberwolves to sign a one-year deal with Phoenix.

Okogie, a former first-round pick, was largely considered a disappointment in Minnesota. The Georgia Tech product was largely seen as a lockdown defender with significant upside as a scorer coming into the NBA, but the jump shot never translated in Minnesota,

The Nigeria national team star only played 49 games and averaged a paltry 10 minutes a game in his last season in Minnesota. The opportunity the Suns presented him was widely seen to be a similar role that he previously had in Minnesota, especially with the Kevin Durant rumors swirling at the time.

The at-the-time five year vet surely exceeded expectations in his first season in the desert, becoming the Suns’ main POA defender and a regular starter in the absence of Mikal Bridges.

Phoenix decided to bring Okogie back on another one-year deal in July, and he quickly became a prime candidate to start for the franchise once again.

More from Inside the Suns

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JOSE ALVARADO TALKS HIS RETURN TO THE COURT, DEFENSIVE MINDSET

New Orleans Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado’s post-practice interview from Oct. 19, 2023 at Pelicans Training Camp ahead of the 2023-24 NBA season.

“Meanwhile, Jose Alvarado participated in non-contact portions of practice. “It’s getting better,” Alvarado said of the progress of his right ankle. “It’s frustrating for me, because I want to be out there. We’re improving every single day.” Asked about his chances of playing in the regular season opener Wednesday at Memphis, Alvarado said, “That’s my plan. Obviously (recently getting) the flu took me out unexpectedly. But the plan is still to be there for opening night and be myself.””

More from NBA.com

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DAY 11: THE SUNS NEED JOSH OKOGIE

Kellan Olson: Through everything that happened for the Suns last year and in the offseason, along with how his postseason went, I think we collectively forgot the huge success story Okogie was. And it’s good to revisit that since it looks like he’s going to be a key part of this Suns team as well.

First-round picks who see their first contract expire and then sign elsewhere for the minimum are at a real line-in-the-sand moment in their career. They are either going to figure it out within two to three years or end up pursuing basketball outside the NBA. Okogie’s four seasons in Minnesota had finished with his playing time decreasing across the last two and Phoenix was his first get-right pitstop attempt.

He didn’t start last year in the rotation, but thanks to injuries and the Suns getting stuck in a rut, Okogie’s energy was enough of a difference-maker to get enough chances to show he belonged in the rotation. It earned him spot minutes. But then because of the three-for-one wing swap for Kevin Durant that also included Durant missing a ton of time, Okogie got more playing time than he ever had before. He logged 28.9 minutes per game post-Durant trade.

More from Arizona Sports

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THAD YOUNG’S EXPERIENCE VALUABLE AS RAPTORS NAVIGATE NEW COACHING STAFF

After 16 seasons and 1139 NBA games, there’s not much new to Thaddeus Young. He’s played for seven different teams and worked for 12 different coaches.

He’s used to seeing things for the first time.

In that sense, he’s the Toronto Raptors expert on the matter.

“For me, it doesn’t really matter because I’m in my 17th year. I’ve played for so many different coaches, and played under so many different systems. I’m used to change,” he said.

But as the Raptors are working to get ready for a new season under a new head coach, Darko Rajakovic, and an entirely new staff, Young is having his expertise put to the test.

More from SportsNet Canada

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BULLS WAIVE FAVORS, WHO MAY START SEASON IN G LEAGUE

From Hoops Wire

Veteran big man Derrick Favors said he was looking to play in the G League and that appears to be precisely where he is headed.

That’s because both Favors and small forward Kahlil Whitney were waived by the Bulls one day after signing with the team. The idea was to send both to the Windy City Bulls, making them eligible for a $75,000 bonus should they remain with the team for 60 days.

“I still love the game. I love everything about it,” Favors told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “I love the whole process of working out, getting better, the weight room and conditioning, and the on-court work. … I’m 32. I want to keep playing until my body tells me I can’t play anymore. I’m playing until the wheels fall off.

“I still feel like I’ve got a lot more years left in me, and I still feel like I can compete at a high level. I still feel like I can help a team. I think I’ve shown in the past that I can adjust to any role that I’m in. I can come into the game on the offensive and defensive end. I can still do a lot of things out there on the court with the right team and the right situation to help a team either win a championship or be a mentor to a younger team.”

Favors is 6-foot-9 and spent most of last season as an unrestricted free agent. He did sign a 10-day deal with the Hawks in January, though he didn’t appear in a game.

His last full season came with the Thunder in 2021-22, when he made 39 appearances and averaged 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds. His best run came with Utah from 2010-19.

Overall, Favors has compiled career averages of 10.6 points and 7.1 boards in 790 career NBA games. He reportedly worked out for at least the Trail Blazers and Warriors this past offseason.

Derrick Favors talks NBA return – Hoops Hype

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MICHAEL DEVOE WAIVED BY UTAH JAZZ

From CBSSports.com

Michael Devoe was waived by Utah on Tuesday.

Devoe will be available on waivers for all other teams, but he’ll likely catch on with Utah’s G League affiliate to begin 2023-24. The 6-foot-4 guard has yet to appear in a regular season NBA game.

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Eurobasket #ProJackets Report

Courtesy of Eurobasket LLC

Khalid Moore (6’7”-F-2000, played in 2018-22, plays pro in Greece) was the major contributor in Lavrio’s victory against the ninth-ranked AEK (0-2) 98-93 in the Greek GBL in Saturday night’s game. He recorded 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in 34 minutes. It was his first game for Lavrio this season; quite an impressive performance considering it’s only Moore’s first season in pro basketball. His team is placed fifth in the GBL. But this is still an early stage of the season and everything may happen.

Adam Smith (6’1”-PG-1992, played in 2015-16, plays in Spain) led Bilbao to a 1-point victory against one of league’s weakest teams Granada (0-5) 94-93 in the Spanish Liga Endesa last Saturday. He scored 23 points. Surne Bilbao Basket (3-0) is placed second in the Liga Endesa. So far his team won all three games in the Regular Season. But the season just started, so everything may happen. Smith has relatively good stats this year 14.0ppg, 1.4rpg and 2.8apg.

Ben Lammers (6’10”-C-1995, played in 2014-18, currently in Spain) contributed to a Gran Canaria’s victory against the 11th-ranked Unicaja (2-3) 76-69 in the Spanish Liga Endesa on Sunday night. Lammers recorded 7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and made 2 blocks in 15 minutes. Draemland Gran Canaria (1-2) is placed third in the Liga Endesa. But the season is still in its first stage and everything can happen. It’s Lammers’ first year with the team. This season he averages 9.0ppg, 3.5rpg and 1.8apg in four games he played so far.

Jordan Usher (6’7”-SF-1998, played in 2019-22, plays pro in Australia) could not help Perth Wildcats (2-3) in their last game on Friday. Despite his very good performance Perth Wildcats were defeated 88-81 on the road by the leading United. Usher was the second best scorer with 20 points. He also added 7 rebounds. But the season is still in its first stage and everything can happen. Usher has individually a very good season with high stats. He averages 18.8ppg and 3.8rpg.

Marcus Georges-Hunt (6’5”-F-1994, played in 2012-16, plays in Kuwait) was not able to help Kuwait (3-0) in their last game. Despite his very good performance the league leader Kuwait lost 97-101 at home to the leading Beirut Club. Georges-Hunt was the top scorer with 31 points. He also added 5 rebounds and dished 4 assists in 35 minutes. The Semifinals already ended in the Arab Club Championships. Georges-Hunt has very impressive stats this year 16.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.0apg and 1.1spg in seven games. He is a naturalized Virgin Islander.

Josh Heath (6’1”-PG-1994, played in 2014-17, currently in Belgium) was not able to secure a victory for Spirou Basket Charleroi in their game against Leuven Bears in the BNXT League. He scored 8 points. His team was crushed by 24 points 82-58. This season Heath averages 7.5ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.0apg and 1.3spg.

Charles Mitchell (6’8”-F/C-1993, played in 2014-16, plays pro in Argentina) led Obera to an easy victory against the 12th-ranked Penarol crushing them 105-71 in the Argentinian La Liga in Monday night’s game. Mitchell scored 15 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in 22 minutes. Mitchell has relatively good stats this year 12.5ppg and 6.5rpg in two games.

Abdoulaye Gueye (6’9”-C-1994, played in 2014-15, plays in Turkey) led Sigortam.net to a victory against the league outsider Kocaeli 70-63 in the Turkish TBL (second division) last Saturday. Gueye recorded a double-double by scoring 11 points and getting 13 rebounds. He also added and 3 steals. Gueye has relatively good stats this season 12.2ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.8apg and 1.2spg.

Experienced Gani Lawal (6’9”-F/C-1988, played in 2007-10, currently in Mexico) managed to help Plateros de Fresnillo in a victory against the sixth-ranked Halcones Rojos 103-96 in the Mexican LNBP (second division) on Friday night. He recorded only 3 points in 10 minutes. This year Lawal averages 9.7ppg and 7.1rpg in 18 games. He is a naturalized Nigerian.

Other former Georgia Tech players, who play in pro basketball:

  • Thaddeus Young (6’8”-F-1988, played in 2006-07) plays for Toronto Raptors in the NBA
  • Jose Alvarado (6’0”-PG-1998, played in 2017-16) plays for New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA
  • Michael Devoe (6’5”-G-1999, played in 2018-22) signed for Utah Jazz in the NBA
  • Josh Okogie (6’4”-G-1998, played in 2016-18) plays for Phoenix Suns in the NBA
  • Ja’von Franklin (6’7”-F, played in 2023-23) signed for Borac CA in Serbian KLS
  • Avi Schafer (6’9”-C-1998, played in 2017-19) plays for SeaHorses Mikawa in Japanese B1 League
  • Glen Rice Jr. (6’6”-F-1991, played in 2009-12) plays for Power in the Big3
  • Robert Sampson (6’8”-F-1992, played in 2013-13) plays for Nhatrang Dolphins in Vietnamese VBA
  • Moses Wright (6’9”-F-1998, played in 2017-21) plays for Toronto Raptors in the NBA Summer League

The list above includes only some of alumni playing currently in pro basketball. Check complete list of Georgia Tech basketball alumni.

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