Southeast Notes: Black, James, Avdija, Gallinari

Anthony Black made his first career start against the Lakers on Saturday in place of injured Markelle Fultz and the rookie Magic guard left a strong impression, Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel writes.

Black, the sixth pick of the June draft, contributed 11 points and two assists and didn’t make a turnover in 30 minutes.

“He embraces moments, he’s got a high-basketball IQ, he’s tough and he’s a team guy,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said. “He’s willing to make the easy play, the easy pass and the right decisions. Those are things that stand out the most and his maturity for a young man in his rookie year.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • LeBron James, whose Lakers played against Miami on Monday, spoke at length about his time with the Heat. James indicated he had a singular purpose when he bolted his hometown team to play there, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “I came here for one reason and for one reason only, to win championships. That was my only goal,” he said. “That’s the only reason that I teamed up with (Dwyane Wade) and (Chris) Bosh. Because I felt like I couldn’t do it in Cleveland. So I had an opportunity to be a free agent, I did what I thought was best not only for my career but for me at that point in time.”
  • Wizards forward Deni Avdija, who signed a four-year extension last month, has displayed an improved perimeter shot in the early going. He has made half of his 3-point attempts so far this season, Josh Robbins of The Athletic notes. “I’m making better decisions. I’m smarter,” Avdija said. “I’m more experienced. And I feel like my shot has really improved. It’s still early in the season — I want to knock on wood — but it’s heading in the right direction. I feel like I’m making really good steps.”
  • Avdija drew comparisons to current teammate Danilo Gallinari entering the 2020 draft. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. says that comparison doesn’t hold up. “I would not have compared those two coming out of the draft… Maybe it’s more just the path to the NBA is in sync,” Unseld told Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network. “Playing professionally at a young age, getting drafted, coming to the States. That path I think is probably where it ends.”
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