The Hawks have formally ruled out big man John Collins (foot/finger) for Wednesday’s play-in game. And even in the event the team wins that game, Collins is unlikely to play on Friday, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.
If the Hawks win both play-in games and earn the No. 8 seed, it’s still possible Collins could play in the club’s first-round series vs. Miami. However, according to Kirschner, while the 24-year-old’s foot has improved, his injured finger remains an issue — he’s still experiencing pain and is unable to grip the basketball.
Here’s more from around the Southeast:
- Hawks wing Bogdan Bogdanovic spoke to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic about his relationship with Trae Young, his role off the bench, and the team’s postseason potential.
- Outside of re-signing Bradley Beal, the Wizards‘ top priority this summer will likely be finding a point guard. However, as Ava Wallace of The Washington Post details, president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard said on Tuesday that the team doesn’t feel like it needs to bring in a “high-profile name or high-profile performer,” since Beal, Deni Avdija, and Kristaps Porzingis are also capable of play-making. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. agreed: “I don’t think you need a guy that’s tasked with having to orchestrate everything. I think that’s a lot to ask for. … You try to find the best talent, the best complementary player for this group.”
- Porzingis also shared his thoughts on what the Wizards should be looking for in a point guard, suggesting that the team doesn’t need a ton of scoring from the position, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I think somebody that can run the offense really well and that is aggressive on the offensive end, but is looking to create for his teammates and to open the game up for everybody else,” Porzingis said.
- The Magic finished dead last in the East with a 22-60 record, but they were encouraged by the progress they made this season from a developmental perspective, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. “I know the record doesn’t always show what’s grown and progressed, but this group of young men stayed together,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said. “There’s been a spirit on the court every single night and that’s just going to turn up another level as we walk into next year. Our guys are excited about it and the fans should be extremely excited about it because they see the way in which these young men play for one another and battle no matter what’s happening.”
- Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman agreed with Mosley’s assessment, telling Mike Bianchi during an appearance on FM 96.9 The Game’s Open Mike that the club “accomplished a lot of our goals” in 2021/22. Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com passes along several more of Weltman’s comments from that interview, including his thoughts on Mohamed Bamba‘s upcoming free agency.