Former Florida Gator Bradley Beal’s biggest moment so far this season came with the clock stopped. On Oct. 27, whistles sounded as players and referees charged toward the action underneath the basket.
Beal, now with the Washington Wizards, had just wrapped his arm around the back of Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green’s neck and pulled him to the ground. The two wrestled until they were separated by teammates. Green emerged with his jersey torn almost completely down the side.
The fight started after Green swatted away Beal’s layup attempt. Both players were ejected from the game and later fined, with Beal paying $50,000.
Beal responded with a four-game scoring frenzy, averaging over 32 points, including a 40-point performance against Phoenix.
Beal is currently a top-10 scorer in the league and has converted on more than half of his field-goal attempts. While the Wizards have lost five of their last seven games, Beal and teammate John Wall remain a serious threat to defenses around the league.
Apart from Beal, here’s how other former Gators have performed through an exciting three weeks of the NBA’s regular season.
The Boston Celtics, also contenders in the Eastern Conference, are on a nine-game win streak after an 0-2 start to the season. Al Horford has played a significant role in the team’s success. Through 11 games, Horford is the Celtics’ leading rebounder and has recorded four double-doubles. In a comeback win Friday against Oklahoma City, he scored 20 points and converted on all four of his three-point attempts, one of which gave Boston its first lead following an 18-point deficit. The Celtics (9-2) have the best record in the East.
Chandler Parsons has returned for his second season with the Memphis Grizzlies. While injuries remain a concern, he entered Tuesday averaging over eight points per game. In an Oct. 28 win over the Houston Rockets, Parsons scored 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting in just 19 minutes of play. Less than a month into the season, the Grizzlies have proven to be a threat in a highly competitive Western Conference.
In his 10th season in the NBA, and first with the Magic, Marreese Speights is proving to be valuable to a much-improved Orlando team. So far, he has posted double-figure points in an Oct. 21 upset over the Cleveland Cavaliers and in an Oct. 30 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Corey Brewer, a veteran on a young Los Angeles Lakers roster, has been limited to a career-low 1.8 points per game. After starting at small forward in their second game of the season, Brewer has settled into his role coming off the bench.
In Dallas, Dorian Finney-Smith is battling a knee injury in his second season in the league. He has only played in five of Dallas’ first 11 games. In his second contest of the year, Finney-Smith scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting in a loss to Sacramento on Oct. 20.
Former Gators yet to play this season include Udonis Haslem and Joakim Noah. In Haslem’s 15th season with the Heat, he has settled into a leadership role off the court and will likely see limited minutes as the year progresses.
Noah was suspended before the season began for a violation of the NBA’s drug policy. He is eligible to return on Nov. 13 when the New York Knicks take on the Cavaliers.
You can follow Benjamin Brandt on Twitter @bhb1227, and contact him at [email protected].