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Atlantic Notes: McConnell, Ellington, Young

T.J. McConnell has delivered the most surprising performance of the season so far, as the undrafted Sixers rookie sits fifth in the league at 8.0 assists per game through four games so far, observes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Still, as Pompey notes, Sixers coach Brett Brown isn’t getting carried away and isn’t promising that the 23-year-old from the University of Arizona will keep his newfound starting spot when Tony Wroten and Kendall Marshall return from injury.
“But right now, what you realize is we really tripped on a really good young player,” Brown said. “Now, it’s early days. But to say that we are not excited from what we’ve seen so far would be completely not true.”
See more from around the Atlantic Division:
  • The proximity of Brooklyn to his native Philadelphia “played a huge role” in Wayne Ellington‘s decision to sign with the Nets this summer, he told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News Group. The move was also thrust upon the shooting guard to a degree, since Lakers prioritized signing others instead of re-signing him, Medina points out. Ellington and his family suffered through the loss of his father, who was murdered in Philadelphia last year, as Medina recounts.
  • James Young isn’t discouraged about his latest trip to the D-League, an early-season assignment that’s already the 12th of his career, as the 20-year-old points to his status as the youngest player on the Celtics, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of Young, the 17th overall draft pick in 2014, still hasn’t won a spot in the NBA rotation. “Ultimately to play on our team, you have to beat out the people in front of you,” coach Brad Stevens said. “And that’s the reality of the situation.”
  • The Knicks are just 2-3, but with the play of rookies Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant, plus the continued success Langston Galloway is having on his partially guaranteed contract, the Knicks have hope for the future, observes Zach Braziller of the New York Post.

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