Twelve players will represent the Bruins in the NBA this season, with everyone from rookies to sixth men to future Hall of Famers poised to appear in arenas across the league.
With the season starting Oct. 17, NBA rosters have been set and the former UCLA men’s basketball players will get ready to represent the blue and gold on the national level once again. Players coached by Ben Howland all the way to current coach Mick Cronin will take the court in the 2020-2021 season.
Not every Bruin was lucky enough to make a team though, with guards Bryce Alford and Jaylen Hands coming very close before being forced to look elsewhere late in the offseason. A dozen UCLA alums will get the chance to appear, and here are all the ones under contract for the current campaign.
Players are listed in order of when they joined an NBA team, starting with the players from 2021.
Forward Chris Smith, Detroit Pistons
After rehabilitating for the majority of the 2020-2021 season with UCLA, Smith went undrafted in August. The Bruin alumnus signed a two-way contract with the Pistons, but barring any developments, Smith will probably spend most of the season with the Motor City Cruise of the G-League once he’s fully recovered.
Center Moses Brown, Dallas Mavericks
After signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2020-2021 season, Brown went on to average 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. The Boston Celtics traded for Brown following the season, but then traded him to Dallas where he will likely play a small role on the Mavericks bench. At 7-foot-2 and only 22 years old, the big man could still make an impact heading into his third year of professional basketball.
Guard Aaron Holiday, Washington Wizards
Drafted: 1st round, No. 23 overall
Going into his fourth year in the NBA, Holiday will be in his first season with a new team. Getting traded to the Wizards after playing a sixth-man role for the Indiana Pacers the past two seasons, Holiday should have a chance to move into a starting role with the Wizards. The Wizards are in a rebuilding year with a new-look team that includes former Pac-12 rival, Kyle Kuzma. This could be a breakout year for the former Bruin.
Guard Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls
Drafted: 1st round, No. 2 overall
Already with his third team in his NBA career, Ball will be running the point in Chicago with Zach LaVine right by his side as another guard in the starting rotation. The two Bruins up front will likely force a high-paced offense with the Bulls, with both guards liking to get to the hoop often. After averaging a career-high 14.6 points per game for the New Orleans Pelicans last season, Ball could be due to lead his new team into the playoffs.
Guard Norman Powell, Portland Trail Blazers
Drafted: 2nd round, No. 46 overall
Powell was traded to Portland in the middle of last campaign after spending the entirety of his career with the Toronto Raptors, and he re-signed to continue playing with the Trail Blazers this offseason. Improving his game through the past few years, Powell has developed a reliable three-point shot. Powell will play in tandem with All-Star guard Damian Lillard, with guard CJ McCollum joining him on the wing, hoping to make a run at one of the top seeds in the Western Conference.
Forward Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors
Drafted: 1st round, No. 30 overall
Drafted by the Warriors in 2015, Looney is still with the team heading into the 2021-2022 season. The big man has not set the world on fire statistically, but plays an important role with the Bay Area team. Like last season, Looney will likely split time between power forward and center, just below James Wiseman and Draymond Green on the depth chart. Do not be surprised if Looney starts a game every now and then.
Forward Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies
Drafted: 1st round, No. 30 overall
The 2020-2021 season provided Anderson his first season being a full starter in the NBA. Starting all 69 games that he played, the forward averaged a career-high 12.4 points per game. Likely playing the same role this season for the Grizzlies, Anderson will play second fiddle to Ja Morant as the second option to put shots up on the court.
Guard Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
Drafted: 1st round, No. 13 overall
Winning a gold medal with the United States this summer at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, LaVine returns to Chicago with a new core built around him. With the additions of Alex Caruso and fellow former Bruin Lonzo Ball, LaVine has an offensive-minded team to work with in 2021-2022. Starting the season Oct. 19 against the Detroit Pistons, the Bulls will try to get off to a hot start and reach the playoffs this season to end a four-year postseason drought.
Guard Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks
Drafted: 1st round, No. 17 overall
Like LaVine, Holiday played for Team USA, earning a gold medal. Now a consistent presence in the NBA, Holiday won an NBA championship with the Bucks last season. Holiday starts and facilitates Giannis Antetokounmpo offensively. With a career-high field goal percentage of 50% last season, Holiday continues to improve his efficiency while remaining a highly-praised defender. This upcoming season, Holiday will try and repeat with the Bucks.
Forward Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Drafted: 1st round, No. 5 overall
Love played in the fewest number of games in a season in his career last year, but that was partly because of injury and fitness problems. On contract through the 2022-2023 season, Love will likely play a smaller role with the Cavaliers this campaign. Trade rumors have circulated around the former first-team All-American, NBA champion and All-Star, but nothing has formulated for Love to move to a new town just yet.
Guard Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers
Drafted: 1st round, No. 4 overall
Westbrook is back in Los Angeles. 13 years after being drafted out of UCLA, Westbrook returns, shipped from the Washington Wizards to the Lakers in a blockbuster trade back in August. In the middle of a “Big Three” alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook will play point guard for the veteran Lakers team. The former NBA MVP could find himself in award conversations once again in 2021-2022, but the pursuit for a title is seemingly the first priority.
Forward Trevor Ariza, Los Angeles Lakers
Drafted: 2nd round, No. 43 overall
The oldest former Bruin in the NBA will fill out the bench on an older Los Angeles Lakers squad. Ariza had ankle surgery Oct. 6, placing him out of the conversation for the opening night rotation. When Ariza returns, possibly in the New Year, he will be one of the few shooters off the bench in Los Angeles.