The NBA playoffs get under way tonight with a pair of play-in games and the Pac-12 Conference will be well-represented over the next three months.
Thirty former Pac-12 players, including at least one from every conference school, will play prominent roles in the postseason. UCLA leads the way with five alums on the NBA playoffs while Arizona, USC and Washington each have four players on the big stage.
Cal will be represented on the court solely by Jaylen Brown, who helped the Boston Celtics secure the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
But the Bears also have a prominent figure on the sidelines with Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd having coached the Dallas Mavericks to a 52-30 record and the No. 4 seed in the West.
Kidd joins Warriors coach Steve Kerr, formerly a shooting guard at Arizona, as the only two Pac-12 alums coaching in the playoffs.
Here’s a rundown on the 30 (arranged alphabetically) who are trying to help their teams advance through the NBA postseason:
KYLE ANDERSON (UCLA) Grizzlies: A year after averaging a career-best 12.4 points, Anderson’s role has changed and he’s giving Memphis 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds, primarily off the bench. An excellent passer, he is something of a point forward at 6-foot-9.
DEANDRE AYTON (Arizona) Suns: The 6-foot-11 center has averaged a double-double each of his four NBA seasons, producing 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in 2021-22 for the Suns, owners of the league’s best record. He is shooting better than 63 percent from the field. He had a 35-point, 14-rebound performance against the Timberwolves late last month.
CHRIS BOUCHER (Oregon) Raptors: The slender 6-9 forward comes off the bench to provide 9.4 points and 6.2 rebounds for Toronto. Among 10 double-doubles, he had 28 points and 19 rebounds vs. Philadelphia earlier this season.
DILLON BROOKS (Oregon) Grizzlies: Brooks missed extensive time in separate stints because of hand and ankle injuries, but has averaged 18.5 points in 11 games since returning last month from the latter ailment. That includes a 30-point outburst in a win over Phoenix.
JAYLEN BROWN (Cal) Celtics: Now in his sixth season with Boston after one year in Berkeley, Brown averaged 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and a career-best 3.5 assists. The 6-foot-6 guard heads into the postseason on a roll, scoring at a 27.1 clip the past 12 games, including five games of at least 30 points.
DeMAR DeROZAN (USC) Bulls: Chicago’s leading scorer and seventh in the NBA at 27.9 points per game, DeRozan assembled the most productive season of his 13-year pro career. Also averaging 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists, the 32-year-old small forward had a spectacular 10-game stretch in February where he averaged 36.9 points on 57-percent shooting and topped 30 in every game.
SPENCER DINWIDDIE (Colorado) Mavericks: Acquired from Washington two-thirds the way through the schedule, Dinwiddie has averaged 15.8 points as a part-time starter in 23 games for the Mavericks. The 29-year-old combo guard scored a season-high 36 points vs. Sacrament.
AARON GORDON (Arizona) Nuggets: The 26-year-old San Jose native a erased 15.0 points and 5.9 rebounds as a full-time starter for Denver. The 6-8 forward scored at a 20.0 pace the final eight games of the regular season.
JAMES HARDEN (Arizona State) 76ers: Acquired by trade from Brooklyn last month, Harden has averaged 21.0 points in 21 games, well below his career average of 24.9. He is shooting barely 40-percent, including 33 percent from the 3-point arc. Still in search of his first NBA title in 13 seasons, Harden has averaged 23.3 points in 137 career postseason games.
JRUE HOLIDAY (UCLA) Bucks: Milwaukee’s third option on offense, the 13-year NBA veteran averages 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists for the defending champions. Holiday scored 29 points last week in a victory over Boston. Holiday averaged 17.3 points and 8.7 assists in 23 playoff games a year ago.
ANDRE IGUODALA (Arizona) Warriors: At 38, Iguodala played in just 31 games this season after returning to Golden State for the first time in three years. MVP of the 2015 NBA Finals, Iguodala has played 104 playoff games for the Warriors, averaging 9.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
ZACH LaVINE (UCLA) Bulls: A one-and-done player at UCLA where he averaged a modest 9.4 points in 2013-14, LaVine has been a dynamite NBA player. A two-time All-Star, he averaged 24.4 points this season, his fourth straight year producing at least 23 points per game. He had 16 games of at least 30 points.
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KEVON LOONEY (UCLA) Warriors: The team’s undersized post player, Looney started a career-high 80 games this season, contributing 6.0 points and a career-best 7.3 rebounds.
BROOK LOPEZ (Stanford), Bucks: Sidelined since opening night by a back injury, the 34-year-old center returned to the lineup on March 14 and has averaged 12.8 points in 12 games. He scored 28 points vs. Chicago last week, and gave the Bucks an average of 13.0 points and 5.9 rebounds during the 2021 title run.
KEVIN LOVE (UCLA) Cavaliers: The 33-year-old former five-time All-Star has found a role off the bench with Cleveland, contributing 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 39 percent from the 3-point arc. He is coming off a 32-point performance in a season-ending win over Milwaukee.
LAURI MARKKANEN (Arizona) Cavaliers: The 7-footer from Finland started 61 games this season, averaging 14.8 points and 5.7 rebounds.
JADEN McDANIELS (Washington) Timberwolves: In his second NBA season, the 6-8 forward produced 9.2 points and 4.2 rebounds. He missed nine games in March with an ankle injury but returned the past three games.
De’ANTHONY MELTON (USC) Grizzlies: A 23-year-old combo guard, Melton posted career-best numbers of 10.8 points and 4.5 rebounds, mostly off the bench.
EVAN MOBLEY (USC) Cavaliers: One of the NBA’s best rookies, the 7-foot center averaged 15.0 points and 8.3 rebounds. Mobley recorded 21 double-doubles.
DEJOUNTE MURRAY (Washington) Spurs: Murray’s fifth season in the NBA was his best, averaging 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 9.2 assists in 68 starts. The 6-4 point guard had 13 triple-doubles, three of them in which he scored at least 30 points.
GARY PAYTON II (Oregon State) Warriors: At age 29, the son of the Hall of Famer finally found a secure niche in the NBA, playing 71 games for Golden State. Playing primarily off the bench, Payton averaged 7.1 points and maintained the family tradition as a tenacious defender in the backcourt.
JAKOB POELTL (Utah) Spurs: The 7-foot-1 center from Austria had his best season, averaging 13.5 points and 9.3 rebounds.
DWIGHT POWELL (Stanford) Mavericks: Powell often showed more potential than production at Stanford, but he has built a sturdy NBA career. He started a career-best 71 games this season, averaging 8.7 points and shooting 67 percent from the field.
PAYTON PRITCHARD (Oregon) Celtics: The second-year guard provides Boston 6.2 points per game off the bench, including 11.3 points over the past 13 games.
KLAY THOMPSON (Washington State) Warriors: After missing all of the past two seasons with knee and Achilles injuries, Thompson finally made his return on January 9, and he has gotten better each month. He finished a 32-game season averaging 20.4 points, and over the past three games scored 36.7 per game, shooting 51 percent (21 for 41) from the 3-point arc.
ISAIAH THOMAS (Washington) Hornets: The 33-year-old guard, who has played for 10 NBA teams, averaged 8.3 points in 17 games since arriving in Charlotte. As recently at five years ago he averaged 28.9 points over a full season with the Celtics.
MATISSE THYBULLE (Washington) 76ers: An elite defensive player, Thybulle averages 5.7 points, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocked shots, but his vaccination status is uncertain, which could impact his availability for first-round games at Toronto.
NIKOLA VUCEVIC (USC) Bulls: The 31-year-old center averaged 17.6 points and a team-best 11.0 rebounds, his fourth straight season producing at double-double pace.
DERRICK WHITE (Colorado) Spurs: Traded from San Antonio in early February, White averaged 11.0 points in 26 games for the Celtics. He scored double digits 17 times for Boston.
ZIAIRE WILLIAMS (Stanford) Grizzlies: A one-and-done player at Stanford, Williams averaged 8.1 points for the Grizzlies, starting 31 times. The 20-year-old forward produced 15.4 points over the final five regular-season games.
Cover photo of Jaylen Brown by Benny Sieu, USA Today
F.Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo