Central Notes: McDermott, Mirotic, Waiters

Doug McDermott will likely be sidelined for six to eight weeks following surgery by team physicians to repair a small meniscus tear in his right knee, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago tribune (Twitter link).  Before the injury, McDermott was off to a slow start to the season averaging just 3.2 points per game in 11.6 minutes per game for the Bulls.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • A series of injuries on the Bulls have created an opportunity for Nikola Mirotic and he has thrived in his increased role, writes Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald. Mirotic’s teammates are certainly noticing the stellar play of the forward. “Niko, he doesn’t know how good he is right now,” Derrick Rose said. “He can rebound, he can cut, he can pass. I don’t know what he can’t do on the floor.” Mirotic is shooting 43.9% from the field in 17.7 minutes per game during his rookie campaign.
  • Cavs guard Dion Waiters chalks up his improved play to an attitude adjustment, writes Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Waiters’ role and minutes on the team have fluctuated and he was the subject of trade talks earlier this season. The up-and-down playing time clearly bothered the former fourth overall pick. “I would be mad before I even got in the game,” Waiters told Haynes. “I was mad, [but] it is what it is.” Now, Waiters is more understanding of his role in Cleveland and understands the team’s intention is to help him improve. “I was just fighting myself, man,” Waiters said. “That’s what I was doing. I just left it alone. I’m going to make the best of it. I’ve got good people in my corner who actually care for me. I’ll be good.”
  • Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most improved sophomores in the league, opines Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel. Coach Jason Kidd believes Antetokounmpo’s increase in free-throw attempts have been key to his success. “He’s learning how to play without having to score the ball, say shooting threes or shooting jump shots. He can live at the free-throw line. Some of the top players in this league, that’s what they do,” said Kidd. The forward has already shot 98 free-throw attempts in just 24 games this season after only shooting 202 attempts in 77 games last year.

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