The Miami Hurricanes don’t have much of a history of producing basketball talent at the NBA level, but they currently have three former players who had good years during the 2021-22 season.
Easily the most successful Hurricane in the NBA was Rick Barry, who scored more points in his career than any other Miami alumni combined. John Salmons and James Jones also had good careers in the National Basketball Association, but there are three active Hurricanes in the NBA on their way to good careers as well.
All three players had increases in production from past seasons and will enter free agency in 2022.
Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets
In his fourth season in the NBA and second with the Brooklyn Nets, Bruce Brown was important to a team that had a lot of issues on and off the court. Brown played in 72 games in 2021-22, starting 45 of those.
Brown averaged 24.6 minutes per game, scoring nine points with 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Maybe the most important number for the season was his three-point percentage, which was by far the highest of his career at 40.4 percent.
On one of the most talented offensive teams in the league with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, floor spacing is necessary as a role player. As a good defender, Brown needed to improve his shooting and did that this season. He didn’t shoot from behind the arc a ton, only averaging a little over one attempt per game, but he made them at a good enough rate.
He has built his career off his defense and athletic ability, but he continues to improve his offensive game. It helps that he is on a team that doesn’t need much from him on that end of the court. But that may not be the case moving forward.
Brown had signed a one-year deal worth $4.73 million during the last offseason. At the end of this season, he will become an unrestricted free agent. The Nets are paying a lot of money for their top players, so Brown will have to choose between getting paid and being in a good situation in the future.
Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Spurs
As one of the most talented offensive players in Miami Hurricanes basketball history, Lonnie Walker IV is tied as the second-highest drafted player in program history when he was taken with the 18th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Walker has had to compete with a ton of young talent at his position with the San Antonio Spurs. And though he may not be the dominant scorer some may have hoped, he has put together a good career thus far.
This season, he had career-highs with 12.1 points per game and 2.2 assists in 70 appearances.
Most of Walker’s season boiled down to how he shot from behind the arc. He shot a career-worst three-point percentage of 31.4 percent. But when he shot it well, he was extremely lethal as a scorer.
Walker had 15 games with three or more made three-pointers. In those 15 games, Walker averaged 19.6 points. It is pretty obvious that he would average more points when making three-pointers, but he seemed to rely on his jump shot falling too much for a player who barely shot over 30 percent on the season.
But his scoring ability off the bench is still extremely useful and is something to build off moving forward as a young guard with his size and athletic ability.
Walker becomes a restricted free agent after this season and has a chance to show teams why they should give him a nice deal in the play-in tournament. The Spurs will have the opportunity to match any deal offered to Walker, but with multiple young wings on the roster, the decision may be made based on how much another organization offers him.
Davon Reed, Denver Nuggets
The most surprising player of the season out of Miami was easily Davon Reed who began the season in the G-League. After playing with the Denver Nuggets in Summer League, Reed earned his way onto their G-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold.
With the Nuggets dealing with multiple injuries early in the season, it was Reed that earned a 10-day contract. Playing in the NBA for the first time since the 2018-19 season with the Indiana Pacers, Reed showed he belonged and was signed to two more 10-day deals.
On January 9, Reed was converted to a two-way deal so he could stay with Denver for the rest of the regular season. He was so effective at times that there were even hopes that a roster spot would be opened so the team could have Reed available in the playoffs.
Even though Reed won’t be available in the playoffs, Reed has proven his ability and will likely have options this coming offseason.
Reed played in 48 games, including five starts for the Nuggets. In those five starts, Denver went 3-2 with Reed being a positive on the court in four of those games. Reed did a lot of different things to help his team including three-point shooting and solid wing defense.
He only averaged 4.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists, but all of those were career-high numbers. His 43 percent from three-point range is also a number that could have teams looking with more interest during this offseason, including the Nuggets.
At 26 years old, Reed is in the same age range as Denver’s core of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr, and Aaron Gordon. He also happens to play well with the two of those who played this year.
As a cheap option and someone head coach Michael Malone obviously trusts a decent amount, Reed should have at least one team who will give him a chance at a full-time roster spot moving forward.