The 2013-14 NBA season tips off on Tuesday night with 12 former Florida Gators on active rosters across the league.
Those players are spread out over nine teams with the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies each employing a pair of Gators on their respective squad.
Below is a preview of all 12 Florida players to kick off the 2013-14 season.
F/C DAVID LEE, Golden State Warriors
Drafted: 2005: 1st round, No. 30 overall pick (New York)
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 240 lbs.
Year: Ninth | All-Star: Twice
Since joining the Warriors in 2010-11, Lee has continued to display the dominant scoring ability he initially showcased as a member of the Knicks. He averaged 18.5 points, 11.2 boards and 3.5 dimes last year on the way to being chosen for his second All-Star game in four seasons. Lee tore his right hip flexor during Golden State’s first playoff game but remained on the active roster and even saw limited playing time during the rest of the series despite suffering an injury that would have immediately sidelined most players.
F/C AL HORFORD, Atlanta Hawks
Drafted: 2007: 1st round, No. 3 overall pick
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 250 lbs.
Year: Seventh | All-Star: Twice
Horford was selected to be a big part of Atlanta’s puzzle. As he has developed (while the talented roster around him has simultaneously disappeared), he’s become the unquestioned team leader and go-to player. Horford averaged career-highs of 17.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals while playing a career-most 37.2 minutes per game last season but has not been selected as an NBA All-Star since 2011. He is currently dealing with a hamstring injury and is listed as day-to-day.
C JOAKIM NOAH, Chicago Bulls
Drafted: 2007: 1st round, No. 9 overall pick
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 232 lbs.
Year: Seventh | All-Star: Once
Noah has become one of the premier defenders in the NBA while improving his overall game on a year-to-year basis. He averaged career-highs of 11.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals in a career-most 36.8 minutes per game last season. He also put together his best professional game with career marks of 30 points and 23 rebounds against Detroit on Dec. 7, 2012. For his efforts, Noah was selected to his first All-Star game. Later in the season, he recorded the third triple double of his career; his career-high 11 blocked matched Artis Gilmore’s franchise record and made him just the seventh player in NBA history to record a triple-double with double-digit blocks. Noah dealt with plantar fasciitis all season but played for Chicago in the playoffs; he is finally over that ailment but now dealing with an injured groin.
F CHANDLER PARSONS, Houston Rockets
Drafted: 2011: 2nd round, No. 38 overall pick
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 227 lbs.
Year: Third | All-Star: None
Parsons became a full-time starter for the Rockets in his sophomore season, averaging 15.5 points, 5.3 boards and 3.5 dimes per game – all career-highs – while shooting 38.5 percent from beyond the arc. He also registered a career game with 32 points on 12-of-13 shots (6-of-7 from three) on Mach 3, 2013 against Dallas. Now seen as a dependable player and team leader, Parsons has become a fan favorite in Houston. He was also instrumental in the Rockets’ summer recruitment of All-Star center Dwight Howard.
G BRADLEY BEAL, Washington Wizards
Drafted: 2012: 1st round, No. 3 overall pick
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 207 lbs.
Year: Second | All-Star: None
Beal concluded his rookie season with a third-place finish in NBA Rookie of the Year voting and plenty of observers singing his praises. Despite starting slow and hitting the rookie wall early, he exploded after the All-Star break by averaging 45.5 percent from downtown while scoring 16.5 points per game and registering 5.7 rebounds each contest. Unfortunately for Beal and the Wizards, those stats only came over a 12-game span as he severely injured his leg and was forced to miss most of the second half of the season (as well as a large portion of the offseason). Now healthy and ready to make a name for himself, Beal is joined by (equally healthy) point guard John Wall and an improved Washington team that has a legitimate shot of making the playoffs in 2013-14.
F MIKE MILLER, Memphis Grizzlies
Drafted: 2000: 1st round, No. 5 overall pick (Orlando)
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 218 lbs.
Year: 14th | All-Star: None
The 2001 NBA Rookie of the Year is older and slower but still has some gas left in the tank. At least that is what the Grizzlies, the team that signed him to a two-year contract in July just days after he was released via the amnesty clause by the Heat, happen to believe. Miller helped Miami to back-to-back titles and made highlights last season by draining a three pointer during the NBA Finals while only wearing one shoe. Nevertheless, the team had no choice but to let him go. Miller returns to Memphis, where he spent six seasons from 2002-08 (the longest stretch of his career with one team) and still owns a home. He averaged 4.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 41.7 percent from three as a reserve in 2012-13 but will certainly see most of those numbers go up while playing starters minutes this season.
F COREY BREWER, Minnesota Timberwolves
Drafted: 2007: 1st round, No. 7 overall pick
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 188 lbs.
Year: Seventh | All-Star: None
Speaking of returning to a former team, Brewer is back with the Timberwolves after agreeing over the summer to a three-year contract worth $15 million. He spent the first four years of his career in Minnesota but played with Dallas (2011) and Denver (2011-13) over the last three seasons. Though he expected to start when signing his deal, Brewer may come off the bench for the Timberwolves but will nevertheless see the lion’s share of minutes at small forward. He averaged 12.1 points and 2.9 boards last year but struggled with his shot, hitting just .425 from the field and .295 from deep.
PF UDONIS HASLEM, Miami Heat
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 235 lbs.
Year: 11th | All-Star: None
The second-oldest former Gators player in the league (behind Miller), Haslem has seen his minutes and production steadily decrease over the last four seasons. Not that it matters one bit to the man known as Mr. Miami. Haslem remains in a leadership role inside the Heat locker room, and he is not in danger of going anywhere while he looks to win his fourth title (third-straight) with the league’s favorites.
F MATT BONNER, San Antonio Spurs
Drafted: 2003: 2nd round, No. 45 overall pick (Chicago)
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 235 lbs.
Year: 10th | All-Star: None
The Red Rocket, as he is affectionately known by his fans, will continue to serve as a three-point specialist for the Spurs. He hit 44.2 percent of his threes last season, the second-best mark of his long career.
C MARREESE SPEIGHTS, Golden State Warriors
Drafted: 2008: 1st round, No. 16 overall pick (Philadelphia)
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 255 lbs.
Year: Sixth | All-Star: None
With his fourth team in six seasons, Speights is hoping to catch on as a permanent reserve at the center position. He has displayed an ability to put the ball in the hoop over the course of his career – and is actually a reliable free throw shooter, too – but has only started three contests over the last two seasons. His best work game in 2011-12 as a replacement for Zach Randolph with the Grizzlies, but Speights averaged just 6.6 points and 4.7 rebounds last year with Memphis.
PG NICK CALATHES, Memphis Grizzlies*
Drafted: 2009: 2nd round, No. 45 overall pick (Dallas)
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 213 lbs.
Year: First | All-Star: None
The 24-year-old rookie is finally getting his shot in the NBA after leaving Florida early and choosing to spend the first five seasons of his professional career overseas in Europe. Calathes’s rights were acquired by Grizzlies in the offseason, and Memphis signed him to a two-year, $1.3 million contract. The second year, at $816,482, is a club option. He could earn it by proving to be an effective reserve.
F ERIK MURPHY, Chicago Bulls*
Drafted: 2013: 2nd round, No. 49 overall pick
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 230 lbs.
Year: First | All-Star: None
Displaying a deft shooting stroke and enough defensive ability to hold down a job in the league, Murphy was selected by the Bulls in the latest draft and officially made the team’s opening night roster out of training camp. Though he had his ups and downs during NBA Summer League action, Murphy smoothed things out in the preseason and looks to give Chicago the distance shooter it has sorely needed.