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Checking in on the Arizona Wildcats in the NBA

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Deandre Ayton and Allonzo Trier have been two of the top rookies

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is nearing its quarter point of the season, so let’s find out how Arizona Wildcats are faring in the league.

Deandre Ayton

2018-19 stats: 16.9 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.7 BPG, 62.4 FG%

The No. 1 overall pick is living up to his draft spot so far for the Phoenix Suns. The rookie is averaging 16.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 62 percent. If he can keep it up, he can become the first rookie in NBA history to average 15+ PPG and 10+ RPG on 60 percent shooting.

The one knock on Ayton—which analysts questioned pre-draft—is his effort on the defensive side of things. So far, there have been mixed reviews about that during his time with the Suns.

Ayton had career-highs in points, 25, and blocks, three, in a loss to the Pistons on Sunday. The Suns are arguably the worst team in the league, but Ayton certainly isn’t at fault.

Lauri Markkanen

2018-19 stats: N/A

The 7-foot Finnish star is close to finally getting on the court for the Chicago Bulls. Markkanen sprained his right elbow in September and it has kept him off the court all season.

Bulls’ coach Fred Hoiberg said last week that Markkanen is cleared to fully participate in practice. A timetable for his return should become clearer once he starts to practice, Hoiberg said. Markkanen averaged 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in 68 games as a rookie.

Allonzo Trier

2018-19 stats: 11.4 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 49.1 FG%, 45.9 3PT%, 82.6 FT%

Easily the breakout story of the season belongs to “Iso Zo”.

After leaving Arizona in the spring after a perplexing thee-year career, Trier is becoming the talk of not only New York City, but the NBA.

In 21 games with the Knicks, he’s averaging 11.5 points and has had three games in which he’s scored 20+ points.

The biggest question with Trier is what will the Knicks do with him?

Per Elite Sports NY, the Knicks’ front office will have to figure out how to make a roster spot for him in the coming weeks.Trier is on a 45-day two-way contract, and time is running low for the Knicks as to how they will keep their breakout star.

T.J. McConnell

2018-19 stats: 3.9 PPG, 2.4 APG, 51.9 FG%, 14.3 3PT%

The fourth-year player might not have the most eye-popping stats, but he is making a case to be the 76ers’ starting point guard.

McConnell came into the game against the Suns on Nov. 19 and, despite only scoring two points in eight minutes, he sparked Philadelphia to a 119-114 win.

McConnell replaced the enigma that is Markelle Fultz, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder issue. McConnell, who is a free agent at the end of the season, has been the subject of trade talks, but he won’t be on the move now that Fultz’s future is in doubt.

Aaron Gordon

2018-19 stats: 16.1 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, 47.7 FG%, 36.0 3PT%, 69.0 FT%

The highest paid player on the Magic is showing he’s more than just putting players on posters with his dunks — AG is shooting his career best in both field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.

The Magic are in first place in the Southeast Division at 10-11 and eighth in the Eastern Conference.

Jerryd Bayless

2018-19 stats: N/A

Bayless hasn’t played a game for the Minnesota Timberwolves as he rehabs from left knee sprain. He was inducted into the Arizona Ring of Honor in October.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

2018-19 stats: 9.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 41.6 FG%, 13.3 3PT%

The “shimmy” is off to a slow start with the Brooklyn Nets after missing some games early in the year with an ankle injury. His shooting percentages are at career lows, but there is still plenty of time to turn it around.

Stanley Johnson

2018-19 stats: 8.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 40.2 FG%, 30.4 3PT%, 82.4 FT%

Entering his fourth season, Johnson still struggles offensively, but he is averaging career-highs in points and field-goal percentage right now.

He has started in seven games, helping the Pistons jump out to a 10-7 start.

Andre Iguodala

2018-19 stats: 4.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 45.2 FG%, 33.3 3PT%

Iggy, 34, is playing a career-low 22.8 minutes per game, but is still contributing in a multitude of ways for the Warriors, who are having a down season by their standards thanks to some ongoing injuries to Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

Iguodala has missed a few games himself, but expect this Golden State team to flip the switch in the playoffs come April.

Solomon Hill

2018-19 stats: 2.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 29.0 FG%, 20.0 3PT%

Hill missed nearly all of last season with a hamstring injury and he hasn’t had much success in nine games this season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 27-year-old is in the third year of a four-year, $48 million contract.

Rawle Alkins

2018-19 stats: N/A

Alkins is on a two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls. He hasn’t played with the team so far, but is with the G League’s Windy City Bulls where he’s averaging 14.5 points and 5.3 rebounds.

Kobi Simmons

2018-19 stats: N/A

He signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the off-season, but hasn’t played with them. He is on the Cavs’ G-league affiliate the Canton Charge. In eight games, he is averaging 14.5 points.

Channing Frye

2018-19 stats: 3.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 50 FG%, 3-4 3PT

Frye is in his 12th year in the NBA. He has played in three games for the Cavaliers this season.