Seven former LSU basketball players will be in action Wednesday night on the second night of the 2022-23 National Basketball Association season, which begins with two games on Tuesday.
The last piece of the former players puzzle was apparently solidified over the weekend when the Houston Rockets picked up undrafted Darius Days off waivers from the Miami Heat and then converted his contact to a two-way contract, allowing him to spend time with the Houston franchise while also getting practice and valuable playing time with the team’s G-League franchise, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Days last season was one of two Division I players to have averaged at least 13.0 points per game, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.0 three-point field goals made a contest.
He has rejoined his teammate from last season, Tari Eason, the SEC Sixth Man of the Year, who was the 17th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Eason was named All-Summer League First Team after averaging 17.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals, continuing his strong finish to the 2021-22 season when he averaged 18.4 points over the final 17 games for the Tigers.
Eason, Days and the Rockets will travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks.
Another game will have three former Tigers on the rosters as the New Orleans Pelicans travel to Brooklyn to take on the Nets
Temple, who played on LSU’s NCAA Final Four team in 2006 and a second SEC Championship team in 2008, is in his second season with the Pelicans and what will be his 13th season in the league. He has played 691 games, fourth all-time among LSU players in the league, and should easily pass 700 games played by year’s end.
Cam Thomas is in his second year with the Nets, averaging 8.5 points as the first-round pick of the team in the 2021 NBA Draft. Thomas played in 67 games and averaged 17.6 minutes a game.
Simmons looks to restart his career after coming to Brooklyn from Philadelphia where he averaged 15.9 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Naz Reid enters his fourth season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Reid was undrafted after the 2019 NCAA Sweet 16 season at LSU, but his performance in the NBA Summer League convinced the Timberwolves to sign him and he has taken full advantage, playing at least 70 games each of the last two seasons. In 177 games, he has averaged 9.5 points and 4.2 rebounds.
The Timberwolves will host the Oklahoma Thunder.
In one of the late games on Wednesday, second year pro Trendon Watford and the Portland Trailblazers will travel to Sacramento.
Watford was another former Tiger who made the most of an opportunity after going undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft. He was signed to a two-way contract on Aug. 3, 2021, but Portland converted it to a standard contract in February of this year. He played in 48 games with 10 starts and averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds a game.
This past summer he had 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals to lead the Blazers to an 85-77 win over the Knicks in the Summer League Championship game. He was named the championship game’s MVP.