The ACC is arguably one of the top college basketball conferences in the country and consistently puts first rounders into the NBA (Tim Duncan, Vince Carter, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, etc.)
The start of the basketball season this year was no different—there were 55 ACC alumni on NBA rosters.
Among those 55 ACC players, however, several young alumni are developing into starting point guard roles and/or playing significant minutes for their clubs.
While it isn't a historically uncommon occurrence for the ACC to field productive point guards in the NBA (Chris Paul, Steve Francis, Sam Cassell, etc.), this year several second round or undrafted alumni have taken steps to prove their worth.
Chris Duhon—Starting PG Knicks
Steve Blake—Starting PG Blazers
Anthony Morrow—G Warriors
Roger Mason Jr—PG Spurs
Jarrett Jack—PG Pacers
For players like Duhon and Blake, it seemed that all they needed was to be in the right situation. This season, Duhon is averaging a ridiculous 8.6 assists per contest, which is four more than his career average, and is arguably one of the front runners for NBA Most Improved Player (He had 22 assists in a game, which is a Knicks record.)
Blake's production of career high scoring is equally due to his placement on the Blazers. With so much emphasis on the plethora of the Blazers' budding stars, Blake has been free to navigate the perimeter, score, and set up his teammates.
For other guys like Morrow and Mason Jr., injuries and just plain hard work have been the key to their increased opportunities and performances.
With Tony Parker injured, Mason Jr. has doubled his career scoring average up to 13.4 (as well as doubling his rebounding and assist average) and is shooting .468 from behind the arc.
With these guys setting a trend, there are plenty more ACC late round point guards that could emerge as consistent contributors in the Association. Two of which were involved in trades earlier this week: Sean Singletary—PG Bobcats, Javaris Crittenton—PG Wizards.
Others: DeMarcus Nelson—PG Warriors, and DJ Strawberry
As a born and raised ACC fan, it doesn't matter how they get into the Association.
In a league full of 19-year old college freshman trying to side step the NBA age limit, it is refreshing to see these three and four year college guys making rosters and contributing.