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Eastern Notes: Mickey, Dudley, Hezonja

Celtics coach Brad Stevens is enamored with the potential of power forward Jordan Mickey, who was the No. 33 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com writes. “I think really highly of Jordan,” Stevens said. “I was disappointed that he came down with the ankle sprain because I think he’s got a lot of good things going for him and has been really consistent up [in Maine] every single night. I think the biggest thing about Jordan that you’ll all see more of down the road is he is a consistent personality. He works the same way and he doesn’t change his demeanor. He’s going to play the same way in Sioux Falls in a D-League as he will when he gets his opportunity in the NBA.”

The 21-year-old has only played a total of six minutes for the Celtics this season, but is averaging 17.1 points and 10.4 rebounds in 21 appearances for the Maine Red Claws in the NBA D-League. The rookie isn’t upset about his lack of NBA minutes and embraces the opportunity the D-League provides, Forsberg adds. “Coming in, I figured I wasn’t going to get a lot of playing time, and I was going to have to go into the D-League and work anyways,” said Mickey. “Hard work is nothing new to me. I’ll go work to get better, listen to what the coaches tell me [in Boston], and implement it [in Maine].

Here’s what else is happening in the Eastern Conference:

  • The Wizards are a team struggling to find their identity on a nightly basis, a trend that is wearing on swingman Jared Dudley, who believes Washington needs to take a more modern approach to its offense, Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic.com notes. “I keep hearing, what’s our identity, what’s our identity,” forward Jared Dudley said.”Basically our identity for us on this team is to space the floor, put pressure on the defense. We’re a 3-point shooting team that can go in to Nene. We have to be aggressive defensively. Those are our strengths.”
  • Magic coach Scott Skiles envisions rookie Mario Hezonja evolving into a force on both ends of the court, which is a major reason the swingman’s minutes have been limited thus far, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel writes. Skiles wants Hezonja to build a solid base on the defensive end of the floor, and believes that holding the rookie accountable, even if it means him sitting on the bench as a result, is the best way to instill this mindset, Robbins adds. “We picked him with the goal of him being a two-way player,” Skiles said. “The reality is there aren’t that many of those in the NBA. Teams can be a good defensive team without having great defensive players if they have a good defensive system and the players marry themselves to it. But, then, you have the Klay Thompsons, the Jimmy Butlers, and there’s more than that — the guys that are legit two-way players. They can lock you up. Our goal for is for [Mario] to at some point be that type of player, and so we’re trying to help him build a foundation on the other end of the floor.
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One thought on “Eastern Notes: Mickey, Dudley, Hezonja

  1. Arthur Hill

    Mickey needs a year to develop his game at the D-League level while Boston breaks up its logjam of big men.

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