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2021 NBA First Round Pick Expected To Sign With Real Madrid



Selected 23rd overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, Usman Garuba hasn’t made much of a mark in his three seasons. He has appeared in just 105 NBA games in those three years. The 6-8” center/forward looks to be heading back where he’s had more success. According to Aris Barkas of, the 22-year-old Garuba is expected to sign with Real Madrid of Liga ACB and the EuroLeague. He previously spent much of his late teenage years playing for the Spanish club.

Born in Spain, Garuba may just want the opportunity to receive more playing time while doing so in his home country where he is more comfortable.

2021 NBA First Round Pick Expected To Sign With Real Madrid

Not Much Accomplished At The NBA Level

In the 2021 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets had three first-round picks. With their first choice, they took guard Jalen Green second overall. They then selected Garuba 23rd and guard Josh Christopher 24th overall. After appearing in just 24 games as a rookie (missed time with a fractured wrist), Garuba was a part of Houston’s rotation for much of the 2022-23 season, a team that went just 22-60. While he played just 12.9 minutes per game, Garuba did appear in 75 games. He posted averages of 3.0 points and 4.1 rebounds.

In the 2023 offseason, Garuba was actually involved in two trades. First, he was involved in a large five-team trade that shipped him to the Atlanta Hawks. Just a few days later, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder released him in August, and a month later, he signed a two-way deal with the Golden State Warriors.

Garuba spent the majority of the 2023-24 season with the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G-League. In 22 regular season games with them, he averaged 13.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks while shooting 56.6% from the field. He played just six games (18 minutes) with Golden State in the NBA totaling three points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. In 105 career NBA regular season games, Garuba has averages of 2.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 11.7 minutes.

Usman Garuba Back To His Old Stomping Grounds

Garuba’s experience with the Real Madrid senior team goes back to the 2019-20 season when he joined them full-time. His debut game with them actually came in October of 2018 when Garuba was just 16 years old.

His play in the 2020-21 season earned him multiple awards. Garuba won the ACB Best Young Player Award and was named the EuroLeague Rising Star. Other notable players to win the EuroLeague Rising Star include Andrea Bargnani (2006), Rudy Fernandez (2007), Danilo Gallinari (2008), Ricky Rubio (2010), Nikola Mirotic (2011 & 2012), Bogdan Bogdanovic (2014 & 2015), and Luka Doncic (2017 & 2018).

Garuba showed enough on the court that season to become a first-round pick in the NBA. Now it looks like he’s heading back to where he’s had his most professional success. Whether he ever returns to the NBA remains to be seen.

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