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NBA Players That Started In Mountain West Conference


The NBA season has come to its midpoint, and "March Madness" is around the corner. This presents an excellent opportunity to look at former Mountain West conference players doing exploits in the NBA. Here are the top-performing players:

Christian Wood

Team: Houston Rockets

Christian Wood used to play at UNLV between 2013 and 2015. When he was a sophomore, he featured in 33 games in which he averaged 15.7 points, ten rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game. His performances earned him first-team All-Mountain West honors. After that season, he declared for the 2015 draft.

Additionally, Wood has been the subject of a lot of debate amongst Rockets fans. He is undoubtedly the best player since he arrived from the Detroit Pistons in December 2020. However, the Rockets have been one of the worst teams in the same period.

That does not mean that his time with the Rockets has not been productive. In the 90 games he has played, he averaged 19 points and ten rebounds per game on 50% shooting and 27.4% 3-point shooting. Basketball betting fans cannot claim he is a favorite, but he can still affect games if he improves. If you are a bettor, visit www.oddsshark.com/nhl/computer-picks for top picks services. Why is Woods not there yet?

Regrettably, his defensive work and rebounds have not been great. His rim protection is not the best, and he is still trying to find his feet on perimeter switches. As a result, you can only describe him as average defensively. Withal, Woods remains a good NBA player, and if he improves his game, he will take a step closer to borderline All-Star status.

Brandon Clarke

Team: Memphis Grizzlies

Brandon Clarke played for San Jose State Spartans for two seasons before moving to Gonzaga. While there, his performances earned him the West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the first-ever player to win the two honors in the same season.

As a sophomore, Clarke registered an average of 17.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.6 blocks. These numbers allowed him to be named All-Mountain West First Team and Mountain West All-Defensive Team.

At Memphis Grizzlies, Clarke has been playing off the bench to significant effect. Notably, his partnership with Jaren Jackson Jr. has helped the Grizzlies outscore their opponents by a remarkable 16 points per 100 sessions. Therefore, if the Grizzlies are planning to transition Jackson Jr. into their full-time center, then Clark is his likely frontcourt partner.

Martin Twins

Team: Charlotte Hornets & Miami Heat

As Wolf Pack fans learned, Caleb and Cody Martin teaming up can produce something special. The two also began their NBA career together with Cody being drafted by the home-state Charlotte Hornets and Caleb making the team as an undrafted free agent.

Their storyline was interrupted this offseason when Charlotte let Caleb go but kept Cody. Nonetheless, their performances this season have shown there is more in their game than publicity play for the Hornets.

Caleb went to Miami Heat, where he is averaging career highs in points, steals, rebounds, and blocks per game. Besides that, he is shooting a career-best of 51.8% over 44 games and a career-best of 23 minutes for every game.

On the other hand, Cody Martin is also having his best season at Charlotte. He is also registering career highs in rebounds, points, blocks, and steals per game. Moreover, he is shooting a career-high 45.4% from two and an outstanding 41% from the three-point line.

Derrick Jones Jr.

Team: Chicago Bulls

Jones Jr. was traded to the Chicago Bulls for Larry Nance, fellow MWC alum. His numbers for the 33 games he has played are modest. Specifically, he has registered 6.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 40.5% of his 1.2 three-point attempts per game, which is a career-best.

However, these numbers are not a true reflection of his overall impact this season. His athleticism and 7’ wingspan make him a versatile defender off the bench. Moreover, he is a capable small ball center option.

Larry Nance Jr.

Team: New Orleans Pelicans

Nance Jr. played for Wyoming Cowboys for his college basketball. While there, he was considered one of the best players in the MWC. Besides that, he led the Cowboys to make their first NCAA appearance since 2002.

The Portland Trail Blazers got him from Cleveland Cavaliers, where he has had a frustrating season. He later made the switch to New Orleans Pelicans but underwent knee surgery and might be out for around eight weeks.

He is most likely to return before the playoffs begin assuming the Pelicans make it. Suppose that happens, he would give his team the much-needed big man depth, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Zion Williamson.

Who is your favorite NBA player from the Mountain West Conference?