Southeast Notes: Okongwu, Wagner, Wizards

Hawks reserve center Onyeka Okongwu took a big leap during his second NBA season in 2021/22, though Atlanta as a team took a significant step back in the playoffs. Okongwu is taking pains to put in the work during the offseason to improve his skill set, per Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 48 games last year, the 6’8″ big man out of USC averaged 8.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 1.1 APG, while shooting an excellent 69% from the floor.

The 21-year-old big man is striving to improve his jump shooting. “People are going to have expectations for me,” Okongwu said. “You know, I got to this point for a reason. I got drafted by this team for a reason. So, I definitely make sure I do what I do, but adding on something every year, every year, just add a little something.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Magic small forward Franz Wagner has played somewhat erratically in EuroBasket competition, but has managed to be a big contributor for the German national team when firing on all cylinders, per Ethan Fuller of Basketball News. Fuller writes that Wagner appears to have improved his pull-up three-point shooting and his play around the rim during this international run.
  • The Wizards currently boast a plethora of solid wing players, to the point that Josh Robbins of The Athletic addresses whether or not Washington may look to make a move to address that logjam by making a consolidation trade. Elsewhere in his mailbag, Robbins projects where the club could finish in a loaded Eastern Conference this season after missing the playoffs last year, as well as contextualizing the Summer League struggles of rookie lottery pick Johnny Davis.
  • In case you missed it, our Rory Maher recently took a look at extension-eligible Heat guard Tyler Herro, and assessed the reigning Sixth Man of the Year’s candidacy for a lucrative new contract.
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