411OnTheForty: Sutton rejoins Mystics; four Longhorns headed to NBA playoffs

18 Aug By
Former Texas guard D.J. Augustin is heading to the postseason with the Orlando Magic — his eighth NBA team in 12 years (photo courtesy of nba.com).

This week represents great opportunity for five former Longhorn basketball standouts.

For Sug Sutton, it is simply a success that she'll be out on the court, getting a second chance in the WNBA. The rookie guard signed with the Washington Mystics Sunday, 10 games into the 22-game 2020 season.

The starting point guard for the Horns last season, Sutton averaged 9.1 points per game and 4.1 assists per game, leading the team to key wins over Tennessee and Stanford. She was drafted by Washington with 36th overall pick in the WNBA Draft, and waived May 25 before even practicing with the team. Now, she will rejoin the team after a four-day quarantine period in Bradenton, Florida, where she will team up with former Texas guard Ariel Atkins, her teammate at UT from 2016-18.

Meanwhile, four former men's basketball players will embark on a different kind of journey: the NBA playoffs. They have experienced life in the "bubble," managed to finish the regular season unscathed from Covid-19 and now head into the postseason.

Brooklyn Nets Jarrett Allen and his teammates are taking on the defending league champions, the Toronto Raptors, in a best-of-seven series that began Monday afternoon. Allen, who played for the Longhorns during the 2016-17 campaign, has averaged 11.1 points per game in his third season at the pro level.

Beginning Tuesday, center Myles Turner, guard D.J. Augustin, and forward P.J. Tucker will all start to playoffs with the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets, respectively..

Turner likely will start for the Pacers as Indiana takes on the Miami Heat. A key force on both offense and defense, Turner has averaged 12.1 points per game on offense, while causing havoc for opponents in the paint with 2.1 blocks per game.

The most experienced of the group, Augustin and the Magic will attempt to upset the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in a best-of-seven first-round series. One of the main facets of his game is his consistency from the line, having made 89 percent of his free throw attempts over the course of this season.

Tucker has played a supporting role for the Houston Rockets this season to the star duo of Russell Westbrook and James Harden, but still found time to make his mark, with an average of 6.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest. Tucker will be needed in the upcoming series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, as a complement to the Rockets' potent backcourt.

Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, his personal blog 360 Sports, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. Twitter: @ZayasRiley