Dec. 10, 2012
Deacons in the NBA Photo Gallery
By Eric Roberts, WakeForestSports.com
Al-Farouq Aminu - New Orleans Hornets
In his second season with the Hornets, Aminu's role has greatly expanded. In almost 30 minutes of playing time per game Aminu is averaging 9.4 points with 6.9 rebounds. He has started 17 out of 18 games for the Hornets this season. Aminu broke out in their game against the Philadelphia 76ers as he grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds in the game and netted 10 points. The Hornets have a tough schedule in the month of December as they take to the road for seven out of their 11 total games. The Hornets are 5-14 on the season and will need Aminu to continue his steady improvement if they are going to turn their season around.
Tim Duncan - San Antonio Spurs
The oldest former Deacon in the NBA, Duncan has continued to play at an elite level throughout the first quarter of the season. Although he continues to age his playing time in minutes has increased from over last season. In 30.5 minutes on the court this season Duncan is averaging 18.1 points per game with 9.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Duncan also is sixth in the league averaging 2.4 blocks per game. One of Duncan's best games this year came against the Indiana Pacers in which he netted 22 points and added 17 boards. With Duncan's strong efforts on both the offensive and defensive side he helped lead the Spurs to a 104-97 victory over the Pacers. Duncan and the Spurs faced a dilemma early in the season as head coach Greg Popovich sat Duncan as well as a few others in their game against the Miami Heat. The Spurs overcame this discussion and are currently on a four-game win streak and sit first in the Western Conference with an overall record of 17-4.
Josh Howard - Minnesota Timberwolves
In his 10th season in the league, Howard was signed by the Timberwolves in mid-November to a one-year deal. Howard has seen action in 10 games this season with four starts and is averaging 7.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 20.0 minutes per contest. Howard's best performance so far this season came in a 105-88 win at Philadelphia in Dec. 4, as the forward scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting with 10 rebounds. It was Howard's first double-double in more than three years. Minnesota is 9-9 this season and is battling for the eighth spot in the Western Conference Playoff race.
James Johnson - Sacramento Kings
Johnson has certainly impressed in his first season with the Sacramento Kings. He has played in 18 games this season, nine of which he started. He is averaging 4.5 points per game with 2.6 rebounds. Johnson had a breakout game on Nov. 13 against the Portland Trailblazers as he scored a season-high 16 points in 33 minutes of play. Sacramento had a tough stretch in the middle of its season thus far after dropping five out of six. The Kings will look to Johnson throughout the season to play a vital role as both a starter and coming off the bench. Sacramento sits fourth in the Pacific Division with a 7-12 record.
Chris Paul - Los Angeles Clippers
The dynamic point guard has started all 19 games for the Clippers this season. He has continued to dominate at the position as he currently has eight double-doubles. Paul is averaging 16.1 points per game with 9.6 assists and 2.7 steals. His 2.7 steals per game is the highest in the league. Paul is also second in the league in assists per game with 9.6. One of Paul's best games this season came on Nov. 24 against the Atlanta Hawks in which he finished the game with 19 points, seven assists, seven steals and went 8-for-8 from the free throw line in a strong all-around performance. The Clippers' month will be highlighted with a game against the Denver Nuggets on Christmas Day. The Clippers are currently on a five-game win streak and are leading the Pacific Division with a 14-6 record.
Ishmael Smith - Orlando Magic
Smith has performed a crucial role this season coming off of the bench at any point in the game to perform at a high level and control the offense. He has played in 11 games this season for a Magic team that is currently struggling shooting the ball. On Nov. 30, Smith netted a season-high four points against the Brooklyn Nets. Smith is averaging 1.5 assists in 11.5 minutes per game. The Magic are currently 7-12 overall and are tied for third in the Southeast Division.
Jeff Teague - Atlanta Hawks
Teague has emerged as a leader on the Hawks' squad this year as he has currently started all 17 games this season. He is averaging 13.6 points per game with 6.6 assists in 31.7 minutes on the court. Teague has piled up three double-doubles this season for a Hawks squad that is contending with the defending champion the Miami Heat to win the Southeast Division. Teague's season has been highlighted by his performance on Nov. 24 against the Los Angeles Clippers and fellow Deacon Chris Paul. Teague finished the game with 19 points and 11 assists in 45 minutes as the Hawks upended the Clippers 104-93. The game marked the first time Teague had back-to-back games with a double-double. The Hawks have won nine of their last 10 games and are now only a half-game behind the Heat for the division lead with an overall record of 12-5.
Chas McFarland - Springfield Armor (NBDL)
The Wake Forest big man returned for his second season with the Armor after he played in the league during the 2010-11 season. McFarland has gotten off to a quick start as he is averaging 8.0 points per game with 5.5 rebounds in four games this season. Despite a loss against the Canton Charge, McFarland played a season high 29 minutes and netted 15 points for the Armor.