Six Jayhawks begin NBA Playoffs this week
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Six of 15 Jayhawks currently playing in the NBA have advanced to the postseason playoffs, which begin Saturday, April 15.
There will be one first-round matchup featuring Jayhawks on both sides of the ball. Paul Pierce ’98 and the Los Angeles Clippers will face Jeff Withey ’13 of the Utah Jazz starting Saturday in Los Angeles. Other KU players in the playoffs include Nick Collison ’03 (Oklahoma City vs. Houston), Wayne Selden Jr. ’16 (Memphis vs. San Antonio) and Markieff Morris ’11 and Kelly Oubre Jr. ’15 (Washington vs. Atlanta).
Pierce is making his 14th career playoff appearance and his second with the Western Conference No. 4 seed Los Angeles Clippers, who went 51-31 this season. Ten of Pierce’s appearances came with the Boston Celtics, two with the Clippers and one each with the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards. The 19-year NBA veteran in his final season has played in 163 playoff games entering this weekend. Pierce appeared in 25 games (seven starts), and averaged 3.2 points and 1.9 rebounds in 11.1 minutes this season. Pierce was the 2008 NBA Finals MVP with Boston.
Collison and the Oklahoma City Thunder begin the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference after posting a 47-35 record. The Thunder face the Houston Rockets starting Sunday, April 16, in Houston. In his 13th season, Collison has played in 91 playoff games and the Thunder advanced to the NBA Finals in 2012. This season, Collison appeared in 20 games and averaged 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per contest.
The other four Jayhawks will be making their first-ever playoff appearance this weekend. Morris is in his sixth season and averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in starting all 76 games played for the Eastern Conference No. 4 seed Wizards. Oubre averaged 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds with five starts in 79 games played. Washington finished the regular season with a 49-33 record.
Withey is in his second season with Utah, fourth year in the NBA, where he averaged 2.9 points and 1.4 rebounds in 51 games in 2016-17. The Jazz are the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference even though they tied the Clippers with a 51-31 record in 2016-17.
Undrafted in 2016, Selden was a member of the Memphis Grizzlies’ training camp roster and played for their NBA Developmental League team, the Iowa Energy, for most of 2016-17. On March 8, Selden received a 10-day contract with the New Orleans where he started all three games for the Pelicans and averaged 5.3 points and 1.7 rebounds. On March 18, Memphis then signed Selden for the remainder of the 2016-17 season to a multi-year contract. In his 11 games with the Grizzlies, Selden averaged 4.7 points in 15.8 minutes per contest with two starts. Memphis is the Western Conference No. 7 seed after going 43-39 in 2016-17.
A total of 12 Jayhawks have won 18 NBA titles, including three Jayhawks earning NBA Finals MVP honors (Pierce, Jo Jo White, Wilt Chamberlain). Of the 18 titles, four have come in the last five years with Mario Chalmers ’08 of the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, Brandon Rush ’08 of Golden State in 2015 and Sasha Kaun ’08 of Cleveland in 2016.
JAYHAWKS IN THE NBA PLAYOFFS
Nick Collison ’03
Oklahoma City Thunder (6th West, 47-35)
First Round vs. Houston Rockets
Markieff Morris ’11 and Kelly Oubre Jr. ’15
Washington Wizards (4th East, 49-33)
First Round vs. Atlanta
Paul Pierce ’98
Los Angeles Clippers (4th West, 51-31)
First Round vs. Utah Jazz
Wayne Selden Jr. ’16
Memphis Grizzlies (7th West, 43-39)
First Round vs. San Antonio
Jeff Withey ’13
Utah Jazz (5th West, 51-31)
First Round vs. L.A. Clippers
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