Southeast Notes: Okeke, Wizards, Heat, Vucevic

Magic rookie Chuma Okeke has been earning rave reviews from his veteran teammates, as Josh Robbins of The Athletic details. Okeke, the No. 16 pick out of Auburn in 2019, missed all of the 2019/20 season as he rehabilitated from a torn left ACL. Fifteen games into his pro career this year, the 22-year-old has already endeared himself to the rest of the club.

“I love Chuma,” Magic shooting guard Evan Fournier said. “I like the player, but I just like the person even more, because he does the right things and he has the right mindset.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards have clawed their way back towards a respectable record thanks to five consecutive wins. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports unpacks how the ascent of second-year forward Rui Hachimura and the club’s hot streak can be traced to a decisive team meeting. The Wizards hope to extend their winning streak to six games tonight as they play the Clippers. Team leaders Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal reviewed their expectations of their teammates’ roles with the players themselves. “Everybody had to talk about it. Everybody started talking and I mentioned, I said ‘I can guard one through five,'” Hachimura said. Since then, he has taken his versatile defense to another level.
  • The Heat are doubling the allowed fan capacity for their home court, AmericanAirlines Arena, from 1,5000 fans to 3,000 people starting with a game tomorrow against the Raptors, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.
  • Magic center Nikola Vučević has been named to his second All-Star team. Josh Robbins of The Athletic explores the steps Vučević took to improve his play this season and become the absolute fulcrum of an injury-depleted 13-19 Orlando club. “He’s an elite decision-maker,” head coach Steve Clifford raved. “He shoots when he should shoot. He passes when he should pass. And he makes his teammates better just by the very nature of how he plays.”
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