Atlantic Notes: Valanciunas, McConnell, Porzingis

Undrafted rookie point guard T.J. McConnell has been one of the early season’s pleasant surprises for the Sixers, something that even McConnell didn’t anticipate, Andy Jasner of writes.  “Did I expect to play this much so early in the season?,” McConnell asked. “I would have to say, ‘no.’ Like I’ve said, weird things have gone on. My number has been called and I’m going in to compete and fight for minutes. It’s every day that you have to compete and play hard and learn. To keep this dream going, it’s keeping that work ethic going and continuing to play well. I just want to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.”

McConnell is a realist and understands that his future with the team is unclear once Kendall Marshall and Tony Wroten return to action, Jasner adds. “I hope so,” McConnell responded when asked if he had a future in Philly. “I’ve already had such a great experience here. The coaches and my teammates are amazing to be around every day. My teammates are always encouraging me and the coaches are teaching all the time. I’m here to learn and get better. I don’t ever want to look down the road. Sure, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t think about it. But my job is to stay in the moment and improve as much as possible.

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas fractured the fourth metacarpal in his non-shooting hand on Friday night, and will be evaluated to determine just how long he’ll be out of action, the team announced via a press release (h/t to Valanciunas broke a similar bone in his right hand during his 2012/13 rookie season and missed 18 games as a result.
  • Kristaps Porzingis has taken New York by storm, as well as surprised many around the league with his solid start, but the Knicks rookie isn’t shocked that he has been able to contribute immediately, Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post writes. “Everybody [was] saying project, few years,” Porzingis said. “I will get better in a few years, but I knew I’d be able to play right now.
  • The Celtics have recalled Terry Rozier and James Young from the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate, the team announced.
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