The 2023-24 NBA season is underway with Wednesday marking the first full slate of games.
Once again, Arizona is one of the most well-represented schools in the league. The Arizona men’s basketball programs has nine former players on NBA rosters.
The program also has one current NBA head coach to its name, Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors.
Here are the former Wildcats on NBA rosters to open the season.
Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets
Gordon is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, which culminated in an NBA Finals championship. Gordon started 87 games for the Nuggets last season, including all 20 playoff games. He averaged 16.3 points in the regular season on a career-best 56.3 field goal percentage.
Gordon and the Nuggets will look to become the first NBA back-to-back champions since the Warriors in 2017-18.
Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz
Markkanen’s first season in Salt Lake City was a special one. He averaged career-highs in points per game (25.6), field goal percentage (49.9) and assists (1.9) and played in the All-Star game. Markkanen was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player, joining Gilbert Arenas (2002) as the only former Wildcats to win that award. The next goal for Markkanen is leading Utah to the postseason.
Deandre Ayton, Portland Trail Blazers
Ayton was traded to Portland on Sept. 27 as part of a blockbuster deal that sent Damian Lillard to Milwaukee. Ayton needed a fresh start after two straight disappointing postseasons with the Phoenix Suns. The 25-year-old Ayton believes he has his best basketball ahead of him. He’ll be counted on to lead a young Portland team in search of an identity.
Bennedict Mathurin, Indianapolis Pacers
Mathurin enters his second season in the NBA in a starting role after playing spectacularly well off the bench last year. As a rookie, Mathurin averaged 16.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Mathurin can improve on his 3-point field percentage (32.3 last year) to become one of the league’s top scorers.
T.J. McConnell, Indianapolis Pacers
McConnell is a certified veteran as he begins his ninth NBA season. The 31-year-old is coming off a career year in points per game (8.7), 3-point field goal percentage (44.1) and free throw percentage (85.3). McConnell’s minutes have gone down each of the last two seasons.
Josh Green, Dallas Mavericks
Green just signed a three-year, $41 million contract extension with the Mavericks, which indicates the conference the franchise has in him. In his third NBA season, Green averaged in points per game (9.1), field goal percentage (53.7) and 3-point field goal percentage (40.2). Green mostly came off the bench last season. Will he crack the Dallas starting rotation this year?
Christian Koloko, Toronto Raptors
Koloko missed Toronto’s training camp and preseason due to respiratory issues and will sit the season opener. Once Koloko is healthy, he is expected to play significant minutes at center for the Raptors. Koloko averaged 3.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1 block as a rookie.
Zeke Nnaji, Denver Nuggets
Nnaji just signed a four-year, $32 million contract extension with the Nuggets ahead of his fourth season in the league. Nnaji has struggled to find consistent playing time in Denver, because of both injuries and roster competition.
Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls
Terry played sparingly in 38 games as a rookie, so he’ll be eager to carve out a role for himself this year. Scoring has been an issue. Terry only shot 20.8 percent in Chicago’s five preseason games, which doesn’t elicit much confidence heading into the season.