Al Jefferson believes several offseason moves will help the Hornets forget about last year’s disappointment and make a return to the Eastern Conference playoffs, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “I’ve been a big fan of Nic Batum since I was in Utah,” Jefferson said. “He’s a very skilled player who can pass, shoot, do it all. Jeremy Lin and Jeremy Lamb are guys who can shoot the ball and move the ball. Spencer Hawes is one of my favorite guys in the world. Only time I don’t like him is when I have to play against him because I don’t want to guard anybody out to the 3-point line.” Batum, Hawes and Lamb were acquired in offseason trades, while Lin signed as a free agent. Jefferson, who missed 17 games last season with calf and knee problems, has lost more than 20 pounds over the summer in an effort to become more durable.
There’s more this morning from the Southeast Division:
- Batum is rated as Charlotte’s best offseason acquisition by Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders. In the site’s season preview of the Hornets, Greene praises Batum’s versatility, saying he will help the team with his scoring, rebounding, passing and defense. He identifies Lamb as the Hornets’ top unheralded player, claiming the young guard should improve with increased playing time.
- After appearing in just 16 games during his rookie season, the Magic’s Devyn Marble can probably expect more time in the D-League, writes Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel. The second-round pick, who was acquired in a 2014 deal with the Nuggets, had his season end in March because of a detached retina in his left eye. He started seven consecutive games in midseason when Tobias Harris was injured and impressed the Orlando coaching staff with his defense. However, the Magic are loaded with wing players, and it could be difficult once again for Marble to earn playing time.
- Training camp invitees Toure’ Murry and Josh Harrellson are among the players participating in the Wizards‘ pre-camp workouts, according to Ben Standig of CSNWashington.com. Also in the group are newcomers Gary Neal and Alan Anderson.