Second-year shooting guard Mario Hezonja will get a shot at reclaiming his spot in the Magic rotation, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. The 21-year-old slipped out of head coach Frank Vogel‘s core lineup in mid-November.
For the next little while at least, expect Hezonja to back up starting small forward Aaron Gordon when the Magic elect to run a small ball lineup with Jeff Green at the four. After racking up 13 DNP-CDs in the first 40 games of the season, Hezonja will take what he can get.
“I’m 300% ready,” Hezonja said Friday. “I’ve got to use that in a smart way and manage all that energy. I’ve got to manage it in the right way so the team wins.”
In another piece, John Denton of the Magic’s website, explores other ways Vogel is shaking up his lineup – including returning Nikola Vucevic to the starting lineup.
There’s more new out of the Southeast Division today:
- The Magic should pay, and perhaps overpay, to keep Serge Ibaka in Orlando, writes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Schmitz argues that the 27-year-old big man has been the team’s best player on both ends of the floor. Ibaka has averaged 15.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game through Orlando’s first 40.
- An MRI on John Wall‘s right-hand pinkie finger came back negative, says Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press. The Wizards guard is expected to play through the injury so long as he’s able to properly stabilize it and that it doesn’t impact his shot. “One thing I know about John, being around him for the six or seven months now, he is as tough as they come,” head coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s going to put himself out there, which is definitely something that I admire.”
- Danuel House, Sheldon McClellan and Daniel Ochefu have been able to breath easier since Tuesday, writes Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. January 10 marked the day that the three undrafted rookies saw their partially guaranteed contracts become guaranteed with the Wizards. Buckner discusses their frames of mind prior to the deadline.
- The Heat are doing their due diligence when it comes to fielding trade offers, so Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel went so far as to break down each major player’s case as an available asset.