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Twelve Former UCLA Players Eye the Start of NBA Season

Oct 17, 2021
Zach LaVine (photo by USA Today Sports/Kamil Krzaczynski)

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA men's basketball program has 12 former players who are expected to open the NBA season this week on rosters across the league.
 
Ten of those 12 players could see action in their team's respective opening games.
 
UCLA's most veteran NBA players include Trevor Ariza of the Los Angeles Lakers (season No. 18), Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers (season No. 14), Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers (season No. 14) and Jrue Holiday of the 2021 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks (season No. 13).
 
Ariza, unavailable to play this month (right ankle injury), has returned to the Lakers for his second stint with the hometown team. He spent portions of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons with the Lakers, helping Los Angeles win the 2009 NBA Championship.
 
Westbrook and Love, who helped lead the Bruins to the 2008 Final Four, are each entering their 14th seasons in the NBA. Westbrook has joined the hometown Los Angeles Lakers, after having averaged 22.2 points, 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds per game with the Washington Wizards in 2020-21. Westbrook led the league in assists per game (11.7) and ranked sixth in rebounds per game (11.5).
 
Love will begin his eighth season with Cleveland, having averaged 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds in 25 games last season. The former No. 5 selection in the 2008 NBA Draft has played in 738 career NBA games, logging career averages of 18.0 ppg and 11.0 rpg.
 
Jrue Holiday is set to enter his 13th NBA season, his second year with the Milwaukee Bucks. Holiday averaged 17.7 points, 6.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 59 regular-season games with Milwaukee last season, helping the Bucks win the 2021 NBA Finals in a best-of-seven-game series versus Phoenix. In addition, Holiday was part of the USA Men's Basketball Olympic Team in Japan over the summer, helping Team USA win the gold medal. He has played in 772 career NBA games, compiling career averages of 16.0 ppg, 6.4 apg and 4.0 rpg.
 
Kyle Anderson (Memphis Grizzlies) and Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls) are both entering their eight NBA season, having been teammates in Westwood during UCLA's 2013-14 Sweet 16 campaign. Anderson averaged a career-best 12.4 points per game with Memphis in 2020-21 and also registered 5.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
 
LaVine, now in his fifth season with Chicago, averaged a career-high 27.4 points per game in 2020-21. He earned his first selection to the NBA's All-Star Game, concluding the year with averages of 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game (both career-high marks).
 
LaVine joins former All-American guard Lonzo Ball with the Chicago Bulls this season. Ball, a freshman at UCLA in 2016-17 before getting selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds for the New Orleans Pelicans last season. He will begin his fifth NBA season this year, looking to propel the organization to its first postseason appearance since 2017.
 
Norman Powell (Portland Trail Blazers) and Kevon Looney (Golden State Warriors) will both begin their seventh NBA season, having teamed in Westwood during the Bruins' 2014-15 Sweet 16 season. Powell spent four years in Westwood. He enters his second year with Portland, after a mid-season acquisition by the Trail Blazers in March 2021. Powell averaged a career-best 19.6 points per game in 2020-21 (with Toronto and Portland), registering 3.0 rebounds per game and shooting nearly 44 percent from 3-point distance.
 
Looney has spent his previous six NBA season with the Golden State Warriors, having been a part of NBA Championship teams in 2017 and 2018. Last year, Looney averaged 4.1 points and a career-best 5.3 rebounds per game, competing in 61 games for the Warriors.
 
Aaron Holiday will begin this fourth NBA season this fall, his first year with the Washington Wizards (after three seasons with the Indiana Pacers). Holiday has averaged 7.7 points and 2.4 rebounds in 182 career contests, all with Indiana. Last season, he registered 7.2 points per game in 66 contests. Holiday spent three years at UCLA (2016-18), helping lead the Bruins to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018.
 
Moses Brown enters his third NBA season, his first year playing for the Dallas Mavericks. Brown averaged 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last year with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 7-foot-2 center from New York City finished his second NBA season with 47 blocked shots in 43 games. Brown was a freshman with the Bruins in 2018-19, advancing to the NBA as an undrafted prospect.
 
Chris Smith has agreed to a two-way contract with the Detroit Pistons, as he continues to recover from a knee injury sustained on Dec. 31, 2020, during his senior year at UCLA. The 6-foot-9 rookie from UCLA looks to make his professional debut later this season. Smith averaged 12.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in eight games with the Bruins last season before suffering a season-ending injury as the calendar moved into January.
 
The NBA schedule tips-off with two games on Tuesday (Oct. 19) and 11 contests on Wednesday (Oct. 20). Tuesday's matchups include the Brooklyn Nets at the Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors playing the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

UCLA's Former Players Currently Competing in the NBA

Player Years at UCLA NBA Team Years in NBA NBA Debut
Kyle Anderson 2013 - 2014 Memphis Grizzlies 2014 - 2021 11/06/2014
Trevor Ariza 2004 Los Angeles Lakers 2004 - 2021 11/03/2004
Lonzo Ball 2017 Chicago Bulls 2017 - 2021 10/19/2017
Moses Brown 2019 Dallas Mavericks 2019 - 2021 11/10/2019
Aaron Holiday 2016 - 2018 Washington Wizards 2018 - 2021 10/17/2018
Jrue Holiday 2009 Milwaukee Bucks 2009 - 2021 10/30/2009
Zach LaVine 2014 Chicago Bulls 2014 - 2021 10/30/2014
Kevon Looney 2015 Golden State Warriors 2015 - 2021 01/27/2016
Kevin Love 2008 Cleveland Cavaliers 2008 - 2021 10/29/2008
Norman Powell 2012 - 2015 Portland Trail Blazers 2015 - 2021 11/01/2015
Chris Smith 2018 - 2021 Detroit Pistons Rookie Rookie
Russell Westbrook 2007 - 2008 Los Angeles Lakers 2008 - 2021 10/29/2008