Former Spartans, Wolverines on the NBA stage – Where are they now?

Raise your hand if you thought Draymond Green would be an NBA Champion and surefire all-star when the 6-foot-7 former Michigan State forward was selected 35th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft.

If you saw this coming, we’ve got nothing but respect. But for many (present company included), Green’s impact on the NBA level has been one of the most interesting revelations in recent basketball history. As of Thursday’s voting update, he’s currently in line to be named a starter in this year’s NBA All-Star Game. This all comes after tying the Golden State Warriors franchise record by completing three triple-doubles in a row last week.

But what about the other guys? What about the likes of Adreian Payne, who helped push MSU to the brink of the Final Four in 2014? Or Nik Stauskas, who was one half away from delivering Michigan its first NCAA basketball National Title since 1989?

The results, predictably, are all over the board. But here’s a rundown of the new school, all with Ann Arbor and East Lansing roots:

Nik Stauskas (U-M, 2012-2014)

Drafted eighth overall by the Sacramento Kings in 2014, Stauskas now finds himself on his second NBA team in as many years, coming off the bench for the 4-34 Philadelphia 76ers. After averaging 14.6 points per game in his team’s first five games, his numbers have leveled out to 7.2 points per while still struggling to find his long range stroke at the next level (.308 from the arc this year).

That said, Stauskas recently connected on a career-high six three-pointers against the Clippers on Jan. 2.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2V8AEQQtO8

Adreian Payne (MSU, 2010-2014)

Like Stauskas, Payne is a 2014 first round draft pick who found himself traded mid-way through his rookie year. After withering away on the Atlanta bench, Payne produced 7.2 points in 25 minutes a night for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half of the 2014-15 campaign.

Now playing behind the likes of budding star Karl-Anthony Towns and future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, Payne has seen his minutes decline (9.9 per game) while still working to develop himself as a reliable big league banger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAJIageaJdQ

Tim Hardaway Jr. (U-M, 2010-2013)

A promising start to an NBA career has led to just 75 minutes of action for the Atlanta Hawks in 2015-16. Hardaway averaged 11.5 points per game for the Knicks in 2015, but did so on just .389 percent shooting and while drawing the ire of an entire fanbase for a supposed lack of defensive effort. Still, despite being sent down to the D-League shortly after Christmas, Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer remains positive.

“I can promise you he’s doing well and in a good place,” Budenholzer recently said of Hardaway. “His approach to it has been very professional. There’s a real emphasis here on player development. We’ve seen guys come in, not start out as gangbusters. Through work and effort, they find a way. I would say he’s following that path.’’

Gary Harris (MSU, 2012-2014)

Harris, the 19th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, struggled to find minutes during his rookie campaign but is currently trending upward in second season with the Denver Nuggets. The 6-foot-4 guard is currently on pace to triple his first year scoring average, hovering at 10.3 points per game heading into tonight’s matchup against former teammate Adreian Payne and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Also, he’s managed to sneak in a few posters here or there:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-iufqb01qE

Trey Burke (U-M, 2011-2013)

After spending two seasons being wedged into a starting point guard position for which he may have not been ready to take over to begin with, Burke has joined forces with backcourt mate Alec Burks to create a potent bench attack out in Utah. Still earning over 24 minutes a night, Burke has seen his scoring hold steady while his efficiency has jumped (currently averaging 18.1 points per 36 minutes on a career-high .429 percent shooting).

His 27-point performance on New Year’s Eve (on 12-19 shooting, no less) ranks among the best of his young NBA career:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E77hj4XBqUI

Branden Dawson (MSU, 2011-2015)

The fight to establish oneself as a 6-foot-6 brute at the next level carries on for Branden Dawson. After being selected by the Los Angeles Clippers late in the second round of last year’s draft, Dawson appeared in just two games with L.A. before being sent to the Grand Rapids Drive on flex assignment (the Clippers have no D-League affiliate, so Grand Rapids agreed to take him on in the meantime).

In seven games in West Michigan, Dawson is averaging 4.7 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Glenn Robinson III (U-M, 2012-2014)

Already on his third NBA team in one and half seasons, the 21-year-old Robinson has shown flashes of potential in his abbreviated time with the home state Indiana Pacers. After an impressive preseason, Robinson broke out for a career-high 17 points against Milwaukee in November. And despite seeing a reduction in minutes over the last month, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel likes what he sees.

“Tremendous athleticism, great attitude, great spirit,” Vogel said of Robinson. “He’s willing to pick things up and can learn quickly. He’s really improved his shooting and he’s got a lot of upside and potential.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_dZR11w2iE

Mitch McGary (U-M, 2012-2014)

After filling in admirably for a injury-riddled Oklahoma City frontcourt in 2014-15, Mitch McGary has found himself on the outside looking in this season, stuck behind the likes of Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter, and Steven Adams.

As a result, McGary’s spent much of the 2015-16 season in the D-League racking up double-doubles for the Oklahoma City Blue. Before being recalled by the Thunder on New Year’s Eve, McGary was averaging 14.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assists in 26.1 minutes over 11 D-League appearances.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM94qQfxZR0

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