Vols in the NBA update

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) -- With two weeks left in the NBA regular season, we provide an update on former Vols in the NBA.

Second-year forward Tobias Harris (2011) has shown tremendous improvement since being traded from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Orlando Magic on Feb. 21.

During the month of March, Harris appeared in 16 games and averaged 16.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 blocks while shooting .431 from the field, .358 from 3-point range and .768 at the free-throw line. He has been logging minutes at the power forward position for Orlando after being used primarily as a small forward in Milwaukee.

In 49 total games played this season – for both the Bucks and Magic – Harris averages 9.7 points and 4.6 rebounds.

During Orlando’s 97-92 win over the Washington Wizards on March 29, Harris scored a career-high 30 points while adding 11 rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Just two days prior, he had dropped a then-career-best 29 points on the Charlotte Bobcats.

Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn said recently of Harris, “He’s taking advantage and using this growth period to showcase his game. He’s been good for us.”

Since joining the Magic, Harris is playing 34.8 minutes per game and averaging 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Now in his sixth NBA season, point guard C.J. Watson (2003-06) is backing up perennial All-Star Deron Williams this year with the Brooklyn Nets.

Watson has appeared in 72 games for the Nets, averaging 6.9 points, 2.1 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game.

The former All-SEC Vol is shooting .418 from the field and a career-best .413 from 3-point range (81 of 196). In the 21 games since the NBA All-Star break, Watson has shot 30-of-54 from long range (.556).

Watson scored 22 points off the bench Saturday as Brooklyn fell to the Utah Jazz, and he shot a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range in a road win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday. His best scoring performance of the season was a 25-point effort against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 13.

Brooklyn owns a 43-31 record and stands second in the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division, five games back of the New York Knicks. The Nets have clinched a playoff berth and currently stand as the Eastern Conference’s fourth seed.

From a front-office executive standpoint, Tennessee has a pair of former players currently active in the NBA.

Ernie Grunfeld (1974-77) is in his 10th year as president of the Washington Wizards. The Wizards stand third in the Eastern Conference Southeast Division with a 28-47 overall record this season.

The only Vol to score more points in his college career than Grunfeld (2,249), is Allan Houston (2,801 points from 1990-93), who serves as assistant general manager of the New York Knicks.

The Knicks stand atop the Eastern Conference standings at 48-26.

Houston also holds a dual role as general manager of the Knicks’ NBA D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. That franchise stands third in the D-League’s East Division at 25-23 this season.

Former Vols guard Cameron Tatum (2008-12) is in his rookie season in the NBA D-League with the Bakersfield Jam. The team owns the league’s best record at 34-14 and has clinched a playoff berth.

Tatum is coming off a career-high seven-assist performance against the Reno Bighorns on Monday. In addition to his playmaking prowess, he also totaled five points and four steals in 22 minutes while helping lead Bakersfield to a 124-94 victory.

On the year, Tatum is averaging 5.3 points, 2.8 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.7 rebounds per game.

His best scoring performance of the season was a 17-point outburst against the Los Angeles D-Fenders on March 23. He shot 6-for-8 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point range in the 112-83 road win.

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