April 13, 2010
MADISON, Wis. -- In perhaps the most successful season for Badgers in the NBA yet, six former Badger standouts competed professionally for eight different NBA teams over the course of this year. Greg Stiemsma, who signed a two-year contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday, became the latest Wisconsin alum to crack basketball's highest level. Here is the low down on how former Badgers are faring in the NBA this year.
In the most recent NBA transaction involving a former Badger, Greg Stiemsma was called up to the Minnesota Timberwolves on April 13 after rising to the challenge during the NBA Development League playoffs. After averaging 8.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in his 45 games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Stiemsma tallied averages of 15.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game during the playoffs.
Stiemsma recently recorded his highest-scoring game of the season on April 9 when he tallied 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks in 35 minutes to help his team defeat Tulsa in the first game of the NBDL playoffs.
Former Badger Brian Butch signed with the Denver Nuggets on April 11 after his impressive three-month performance in the NBA Development League with the Bakersfield Jam. Butch averaged 17.7 ppg and 11.9 rpg in 39 games for the Jam earlier this season, and the Appleton, Wis., product also was named MVP of the 2010 NBDL All-Star game after scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Read Brian's final blog entry from his stint in the D-League
As Wisconsin's most recent graduate in the NBA, Marcus Landry was re-signed by the Boston Celtics on Monday, April 5 after a month with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League. He was waived from the team four days later however.
Landry, who was traded from the Knicks to the Celtics on Feb. 18, played in 13 games with the Red Claws, averging 11.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, highlighted by a 34-point night that included eight 3-pointers on March 21.
In 18 NBA games with the Knicks and Celtics, Landry has averaged 2.4 points and 1.1 rebounds. He posted a career-high 8 points vs. Indiana (1/3/10) and career-high 4 rebounds vs. Dallas (1/24/10).
Wisconsin's longest-tenured NBA star Michael Finley has appeared in 19 games with the Celtics, averaging 5.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. The 15-year NBA veteran signed with Boston in March after spending the last four full seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.
Finley recently recorded his second-highest scoring game of the season when he dropped 14 points and grabbed six rebounds in 24 minutes for the 115-104 win over the Toronto Raptors on April 7. His highest-scoring game of the season came only weeks earlier, when he recorded 15 points on March 15 to boost his team to the 119-93 win over Detroit.
Finley has averaged 15.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists per game over his 15-year career. He is a two-time All-Star (2000, 2001) and has earned NBA Player of the Week honors three times (2/6/00, 4/14/02, 1/18/04). Outside of the NBA, he was a member of the USA team that competed in the 2002 World Championship, played for the Team USA squad in the 1994 World University Games and was named USA Basketball's Male Athlete of the Year.
The 2004 Big Ten Player of the Year, Devin Harris is in his sixth season in the NBA and his second full season with the New Jersey Nets. After an All-Star 2008-09 season, Harris has not dropped the ball in his 63 games and 60 starts with the Nets this season, averaging 17.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. He has scored more than 20 points in three of his last five games, and tallied a season-high 31 points on March 6 for the 113-93 victory over the Knicks.
The Badger superstar was traded to the Nets during the 2007-08 season after completing his first three full seasons with Dallas.
Wisconsin's all-time leading scorer, Alando Tucker most recently suited up for the Minnesota Timberwolves playing four games, averaging 2.0 points per game in his three months with the Timberwolves. Previously, Tucker competed with the Phoenix Suns, playing 11 games and averaging 3.9 points per game in 2008-09 after entering the NBA as a first-round draft pick in 2007.