Nov. 9, 2012
Deacons in the NBA Photo Gallery
By Eric Roberts, WakeForestSports.com
Al-Farouq Aminu - New Orleans Hornets
Aminu was sent to the New Orleans Hornets last year in the blockbuster trade that sent fellow Deacon Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers. Aminu, fresh off an Olympic appearance with the Nigerian national team, is returning for his second season with the Hornets and his third in the league. He had 21 starts last year for the Hornets and averaged six points per game in 21.4 minutes of playing time. He had one of his best games last year against the Golden State Warriors where he had a career high four blocks in the game. The Hornets look for him to have an expanded role this season and will need him to produce high numbers in order to compete in the Western Conference. Aminu has taken the court by storm this season by averaging 12.5 points per game in almost 35 minutes of playing time in the Hornets (2-2) first four games this season.
Tim Duncan - San Antonio Spurs
The oldest Deacon to currently play in the league is entering his 16th season for the San Antonio Spurs. Despite growing in age, Duncan has not missed a beat on the court. He averaged 28.2 minutes on the court last year with 17.4 points per game. He averaged two points higher last season from the 2010-2011 season. The 13-time NBA All-Star helped lead the Spurs into the Western Conference championship last season against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Duncan and the Spurs have dominated early as they have a 4-1 record on the season. Their first loss came on Nov. 7 against fellow Deac Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Spurs (4-1) hope they can continue their 12-year streak of winning at least 50 games this year with the help of Duncan and his strong defensive presence.
James Johnson - Sacramento Kings
The four-year veteran forward was traded from the Toronto Raptors to the Sacramento Kings in the offseason. Johnson started 40 games for the Raptors last season and contributed greatly at the small forward position. He averaged 9.1 points per game with 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He has started all five games this season already and is averaging almost 28 minutes per game for the Kings (2-2).
Chris Paul - Los Angeles Clippers
The five-time NBA All-Star is entering his second season with the Los Angeles Clippers and his eighth in the league. Paul had a busy offseason overseas as he was a member of the USA Olympic basketball team which won gold against Spain in the finals at the London Olympics. He had the second-most minutes played on the team with 206 minutes and led the team in steals with 20 for the entire tournament. The victory gave Paul his second consecutive gold medal as the United States team also won against Spain in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has led the league in steals and assists for the past four years, setting a league record. Paul and the Clippers (3-2) have gotten off to a fast start this season and they hope they can improve on their record from last season and make a run at the NBA Championship.
Ishmael Smith - Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic signed Smith late in the season last year to add depth to their bench at the guard position. Smith averaged nine minutes per game coming off the bench and scored roughly two points per game. The Magic want to extend Smith's role this year and have him get more minutes off the bench. Smith has played in all four of the Magic's games this season and is averaging 13 minutes per game with three assists. The Magic (2-2) hope they can have better success in the playoffs this season after their first-round exit last year.
Jeff Teague - Atlanta Hawks
Teague is entering his fourth season for the Atlanta Hawks this season as he is coming off of his best season last year. Despite the lockout forcing a shortened season, he started all 66 games for the Hawks at the point guard position and averaged 15 points per game in 33.1 minutes on the court. He helped lead the Hawks to a No. 5 seed in the playoffs for the second straight season. In the first two games of this season, Teague is averaging 15 points per game with six assists in 26.5 minutes of playing time. Teague is a crucial component for the Hawks (2-1) this year as they look to improve on last season's disappointing first round playoff loss.
Chas McFarland - Springfield Armor (NBDL)
The former Wake Forest big man is entering his second season with the Springfield Armor in the NBA Development League. He played in 26 games (21 starts) with the Armor during the 2010-11 season, his first professional campaign. McFarland spent all of last season playing professionally in Japan and briefly played in Uruguay this fall. He is back stateside and is gearing up for a potential chance at a call-up to the NBA. The Armor start the season on Nov. 23 when they travel to take on the Canton Charge.
Deacons Playing Overseas
Taron Downey - Etha (Cyprus)
Justin Gray - Poitiers (France)
Nikita Mescheriakov - Acegas Aps (Italy)
Antwan Scott - Saitama Broncos (Japan)
Darius Songaila - BC Donetsk (Ukraine)
Trent Strickland - London Lightning (Canada)
Kyle Visser - Juve Caserta (Italy)
Ty Walker - Limoges (France)
David Weaver - Neckar Ludwigsburg (Germany)
Eric Williams - Umana VE (Italy)
L.D. Williams - Bourg (France)