It’s not college basketball season, but Mountain West basketball fans can enjoy watching former players during the 2019 NBA Eastern Conference Finals.
The San Diego State Aztecs have Kawhi Leonard (2009–2011) playing with the Toronto Raptors. Leonard, often described as one of the best two-way players in the NBA, has definitely not disappointed throughout his professional career. His latest highlight was hitting the game-winning shot during Game 7 against the Philadelphia Sixers on Sunday. Attentive eyes waited to see the outcome of the game as the ball made its way to the basket. Even the former Aztec himself didn’t seem sure about what would happen. He squatted as he watched the ball bounce on the rim a couple times.
Raptors player statistics.
🚨 THE SHOT. THE BOUNCE. THE WIN. 🚨
— NBA (@NBA) May 13, 2019
The Raptors have another former MW player in Patrick McCaw, who played for the UNLV Rebels from 2014-16. The 23-year-old shooting guard averaged 13.2 minutes and 2.7 points throughout 26 regular season games with Toronto. McCaw was on the court for five of seven games against the Sixers but he only registered a total of 25 minutes during the series. He will not be available for Game 1 against the Bucks due to personal reasons
The New Mexico Lobos have Tony Snell (2010–2013) with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks had the best record in the NBA during the regular season at 60-22. The former Lobo had an average of 17.6 minutes, with 6 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. He suffered an ankle injury late March, which forced him to sit out for nearly a month. Snell made his return to the court when his team played Game 3 against the Detroit Pistons in the first round.
Milwaukee player statistics.
Tony Snell has now earned a $100K bonus as a result of Milwaukee reaching the Conference Finals and playing in more than 75% of the second round games. Snell also earned $100K when the Bucks won 50 games this year. The cap hit in 2019-20 is now $11.6M.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) May 9, 2019
Lobo assistant coach Brandon Mason, who has ties to both New Mexico State (Western Athletic Conference) and UNM, pointed out that New Mexicans will be able to see a Rio Grande Rivalry matchup as Pascal Siakam from the Raptors is a former Aggie (2013–2016). Leonard and Siakam are currently the top two scorers for the Raptors, averaging 31.8 and 20.8 points per game, respectively, during the playoffs..
The conference finals will be televised on ESPN and TNT starting Tuesday May 14 at 9 p.m. EST with the Western Conference matchup of the Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers. Game 1 for the Bucks/Raptors battle is on Wednesday May 15 at 8:30 p.m. EST.