Delon Wright

Atlantic Notes: Wright, Okafor, Whitehead

Nearly a month after dislocating his shoulder injury, Delon Wright will make his return to the Raptors lineup, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets. Wright last saw action on November 16.

Prior to the injury, Wright had been enjoying a solid season serving as a vital part of a Raptors second-unit that has yielded plenty of credit this season. While his absence was noticeable, third-string guard Fred VanVleet filled in admirably as the primary backup.

Wright, who had averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 assists in just over 20 minutes per game this season, is expected to be on somewhat of a minute restriction, Josh Lewenberg of TSN tweets.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Tonight is the night that recent Nets acquisitions Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas make their debut, Michael Grange of Sportsnet tweets. The pair, he adds, are expected to get a “healthy dose of playing time” in their first Brooklyn appearance.
  • The Celtics will be without Marcus Morris for at least a week. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets that the forward who has missed four of the past five games with a lingering knee injury isn’t expected to be back until, perhaps, December 23 or Christmas Day.
  • Second-year Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead has changed his representation, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. The point guard and former Andy Miller client will now be represented by Sam Permut of Roc Nation.
  • The Knicks have thrived without Carmelo Anthony on board but veteran guard Courtney Lee doesn’t think that his absence is why the team is winning. “If Melo was here, we would’ve made that adjustment with him,” he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “So you can’t just pinpoint it at him and say, ‘Well he left and we made these adjustments.’ The style of play was going to be different from last year regardless.

Atlantic Notes: VanVleet, Nets, Booker

The Raptors will have a welcomed dilemma on their hands when Delon Wright returns from a shoulder injury. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes that initial third-string point guard Fred VanVleet has made a strong case for regular minutes.

VanVleet has become an integral part of the lineup the Raptors have been closing games with during their current five-game streak. The gritty, undrafted guard has been providing skills that Dwane Casey loves while shooting an impressive 8-17 from beyond the arc.

I think we have the opportunity with Delon, Fred, Norman Powell,” starting Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said of the fluctuating lineups. “We’ve got guys who can play basketball and guys who are very talented and play extremely hard. You never know, whoever has it going is going to finish the game.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets opted to take a flyer on Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas this week but the aspect of the trade that they’re most excited for could very well be the second round pick, Zach Lowe of ESPN says (via Nets Daily). General manager Sean Marks has been busy the last few years, acquiring second-rounders to replenish those that his predecessor traded away.
  • The latest addition to the Sixers considers himself to be a bigger version of a current fan favorite. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype recently caught up with Trevor Booker and asked him what he thinks he’ll be able to contribute to his new team. “I’ll bring a lot of passion; I’m a passionate player. I’m a guy that’s going to be aggressive, provide energy and be a pest on defense. I’m pretty much a bigger T.J. McConnell.

Raptors’ Delon Wright Expected To Miss One Month

Raptors point guard Delon Wright is expected to miss the next month with a dislocated shoulder, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. That timeline would put Wright on track to return just before Christmas.

Although the Raptors will be without Kyle Lowry‘s primary backup for the next several weeks, the news could have been much worse for the club. The team announced today in a press release that, after Wright visited with a specialist in New York, it was determined that the third-year guard wouldn’t require surgery on his injured shoulder. As Josh Lewenberg of TSN 1050 observes (via Twitter), Wright was sidelined for six months last year when he underwent surgery after dislocating the same shoulder.

Wright, the 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft, assumed backup point guard duties for the Raptors this season after the team traded Cory Joseph in July. The 25-year-old had been effective off the bench in his first 14 games this season, averaging 7.6 PPG and 2.6 APG with a .523 FG%.

With Wright on the shelf, the Raptors will lean on Fred VanVleet for a larger role off the bench. Norman Powell may also handle some ball-handling duties when he returns from a hip injury.

Atlantic Notes: Wright, Russell, Baynes

One month into his third NBA season and first as a regular member of the Raptors rotation, Delon Wright has dislocated his shoulder. As Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes, the guard suffered the injury in Thursday’s win over the Pelicans and will be out for an indefinite amount of time.

Wright had stepped up in the vacancy that Cory Joseph‘s free agency departure created. His 7.6 points and 2.6 assists per game were both career bests for the Raptors.

While there’s no guarantee that the 25-year-old will miss significant time for the Raptors, the injury comes on the same shoulder that he had surgery on in the summer of 2016, Josh Lewenberg of TSN says. In his first two NBA campaigns, Wright played just 27 games apiece.

A press release from the Raptors’ media relations department says that the next step for Wright will be to travel with the team to New York City next week for a special consultation.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Among the numerous players stepping up for the Celtics this season is offseason free agent addition Aron Baynes, Nick Metallinos of ESPN writes. Baynes provides toughness and leadership for a Boston team that lacked size last season.
  • The “reality of the NBA” has forced the Nets to experiment with smaller lineups. That’s head coach Kenny Atkinson‘s justification for why Timofey Mozgov‘s role has shrunk over the course of the season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.
  • Sidelined Nets guard D’Angelo Russell underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee today, the team’s official Twitter account tweets. Russell has been out of action since November 11. Expect the team to apply for a disabled player exception. Per Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, general manager Sean Marks says there’s “probably a good chance” that they do. A DPE would be designed to replace Jeremy Lin, rather than Russell, since Lin is out for the season.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Knicks, Hernangomez, Wright

Markelle Fultz‘s NBA career is off to an unusual start. After playing through shoulder pain for the first few games of the regular season, Fultz has been shut down by the Sixers for at least the next three contests after comments made by his agent to ESPN.

Given how cautions the Sixers have been in recent years with top picks, it’s fair to wonder why Fultz was on the court at all to start the year. However, as Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo insists there’s no structural damage to Fultz’s shoulder and that he was medically cleared to play.

Colangelo also suggested that Fultz’s shoulder pain may have been caused by the changes the rookie made to his shot mechanics, a hypothesis rejected by Fultz’s trainer, Keith Williams. Speaking to Sam Amick of USA Today, Williams stressed that the Sixers guard altered his jump shot as a way of coping with his shoulder pain, and that there would have been no reason to change his mechanics otherwise.

It’s an odd situation, one that Derek Bodner of The Athletic spent more than 3,500 words trying to sort out. In Bodner’s view, the statements from the Sixers and from Fultz’s camp don’t make sense unless there are nuggets of truth on both sides — perhaps the No. 1 overall pick slightly altered his shooting mechanics and his shoulder issue made things worse, forcing further changes to his form.

While we wait to see if Fultz can get healthy and recover his jump shot, let’s round up a few more Atlantic notes…

  • Acquiring Eric Bledsoe would be a classic Knicks move, and that’s not a good thing, argues Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Deveney, who says a trade for Bledsoe would be ill-advised, suggests the club appears satisfied to be patient with its rebuild and avoid a deal for now.
  • Without Carmelo Anthony on the roster to provide “automatic offense,” the Knicks are struggling this season to adjust to Jeff Hornacek‘s new, post-triangle offense, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.
  • In a separate article for The New York Post, Berman explores what Willy Hernangomez has to do to get back into the Knicks‘ rotation. Berman also notes that Joakim Noah will certainly have a role when he returns from his suspension, further crowding the frontcourt picture.
  • Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca takes an in-depth look at Delon Wright‘s path to the NBA and has development into a reliable bench player for the Raptors. As Grange notes, Toronto’s confidence in Wright – who will be extension-eligible in the 2018 offseason – allowed the team to trade backup point guard Cory Joseph to Indiana this summer.

Raptors Exercise Options On Wright, Poeltl, Siakam

The Raptors have exercised three team options for the 2018/19 season, announcing today in a press release that they’ve picked up Delon Wright‘s fourth year option, as well as third-year options for Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2018/19 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Wright, the 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft, appeared in just 27 games for the Raptors last season, with Kyle Lowry and Cory Joseph ahead of him on the depth chart for most of the year. However, with Joseph no longer on the roster, Wright figures to be in line for a larger role as he and Fred VanVleet back up Lowry. His fourth-year option for 2018/19 will count for $2,536,898 on Toronto’s cap.

Poeltl and Siakam, meanwhile, will also be relied upon for more significant roles this season. The two 2016 first-rounders didn’t play a ton as rookies last season, but the offseason departures of Patrick Patterson, P.J. Tucker, and DeMarre Carroll will open up more frontcourt minutes in the Raptors’ rotation.

Poeltl, last year’s ninth overall pick, has the most expensive 2018/19 option of the three, at $2,947,320. Siakam’s is worth $1,544,951. The Raptors will have to decide next offseason on fourth-year options for 2019/20 for the duo. If those are exercised, Poeltl and Siakam will become extension-eligible in the summer of 2019, and would be on track to be restricted free agents in 2020.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Raptors, McDermott

The Nets‘ two best players may very well play the same position so preseason will serve as a good indication of how head coach Kenny Atkinson plans to utilize the tandem. Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes that hoops fans could see the pair of point guards employed together at the beginning and end of halves.

In 24.5 minutes per game for the Nets last season, Lin emerged as a top offensive priority before an injury cut his campaign short. This year, however, the 29-year-old will share backcourt duties with Russell, the 2015 No. 2 overall pick, and the chief haul in general manager Sean Marks‘ deal to take on Timofey Mozgov‘s contract.

I’d like to have one of those guys at the point the whole game. That’d be pretty nice,” Atkinson said when asked how he’ll divvy minutes between the two. “I’m not going to say definitely that’s how it’s going to play out, but that’s in my mind, keeping D’Angelo or Jeremy at the point the whole game.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Anderson, Nader

Now a vital part of a competitive Celtics rotation, Jaylen Brown is making a case for the Rookie of the Year award, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England. The 20-year-old swingman has gradually improved over the course of his first campaign making modifications to his game along the way.

It’s hard because most rookies who get Rookie of the Year are playing for bad teams,” Brown’s teammate Isaiah Thomas told reporters recently. “They play 35 minutes a game, take any shot [they] want. Bigger picture, it’s better for him to be on a playoff team, understand how to win games and he knows what he brings to the table. He’s a big part of what we got going. He definitely wants to win Rookie of the Year, but it’s hard going up against guys not really playing for nothing.”

Blakely adds that the media will have a refreshing choice when it comes time to submit their votes for the award. Rather than just choose which rookie is the most productive when it comes to filling the stat sheet, they’ll be able to factor in Brown’s impact on his team’s success.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • More than just a “throw in” in last months Nerlens Noel trade, Justin Anderson is a piece that could stick around in Philadelphia. In a recent podcast, Devon Given and Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer discuss, among other things, Anderson’s ability to play defense on the perimeter for the Sixers.
  • The Raptors bench is starting to take shape, Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun writes, and Delon Wright has done an admirable job filling in as the backup point guard while Cory Joseph shifts into Kyle Lowry‘s starting position.
  • The trade that sent him from the Suns to the Celtics back in 2015 was “a Christmas gift”, says Isaiah Thomas. A. Sherrod Blakeley of CSN New England spoke with the point guard upon his return to Phoenix. Thomas performed well with the Suns but wasn’t even close to the MVP discussion that he now finds himself in with Boston.
  • Despite being recently released by the Sixers, Knicks guard Chasson Randle understands that Philadelphia’s decision to let him go was based on numbers, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Randle was released so that Philly could take on Andrew Bogut and Justin Anderson in the Nerlens Noel trade.
  • When Knicks guard Lance Thomas sat for 14 games nursing a fractured orbital bone, it allowed a lingering foot injury to heal, Fred Kerber of the New York Post writes. “Indirectly, this fracture in my face has been a blessing to help give me time to get my feet back under me,” Thomas said.
  • Second-round draft pick Abdel Nader could land a spot with the Celtics next season, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe speculates. Nader has flourished in the D-League and is being touted as the third best prospect in the league.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Raptors, Oakley, Lin

Sixers center Joel Embiid claims he’s “more surprised than everybody else” how well this season has gone after he was sidelined two seasons by foot injuries. During the interview with ESPN Radio, Embiid admits he entertained thoughts of retiring during those lost seasons. “I was such in a dark place, I wanted to quit basketball,” Embiid said.  “I just wanted to go back home and just leave everything behind.” Embiid pines for the Rookie of the Year award, saying it would be validation for the sacrifices he made to get back on the court. He’s hopeful of returning soon after the All-Star break after missing the last 11 games with what he describes as a left knee bone bruise, though he reportedly has a partial meniscus tear.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The  Raptors do not want to part with young assets now that they’ve made a big move by acquiring power forward Serge Ibaka, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Toronto would prefer to hold onto Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, Norm Powell and Fred VanVleet, Smith continues. They could still package Jared Sullinger‘s expiring contract, a 2017 first-rounder and one of their backup point guards to make another move, Smith adds.
  • Charles Oakley doubts his issues with Knicks owner James Dolan will ever be resolved, Newsday’s Jim Baumbach relays via a Sports Illustrated interview. Despite a meeting with commissioner Adam Silver and Dolan earlier this week, Oakley is still fuming over his forcible removal from Madison Square Garden and arrest on February 8th.  “My life is going to change a lot because it’s just like getting a DUI sometime or going to jail for murder,” he told SI. “It’s something on my record. If you Google my name, it’s going to come up. And that hurts.”
  • Nets point guard Jeremy Lin is expected to return to action immediately after the All-Star break, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Lin practiced on Tuesday without any setbacks, according to NetsDaily.com. Lin’s season has been wrecked by hamstring woes. Signed to a three-year, $36MM contract last summer to be the team’s No. 1 point guard, Lin has appeared in just 12 games.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/10/17

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Sixers have assigned rookie guard Chasson Randle to the Delaware 87ers, the team announced today in a press release. Randle joined the Sixers about a month ago but has seen his minutes fluctuate during that stretch. He’ll have the opportunity to get plenty of playing time for Philadelphia’s D-League affiliate tonight against Canton.
  • The Spurs have recalled Bryn Forbes from the D-League, according to a press release issued by the team. Forbes posted 22 points in his most recent game with the Austin Spurs on Thursday.
  • The Raptors made a series of D-League moves today, recalling Delon Wright and assigning Jared Sullinger and Fred VanVleet (Twitter links). Assuming their assignment lasts until tomorrow, Sullinger and VanVleet will play in Saturday’s game for the Raptors 905.
  • The Jazz have recalled Joel Bolomboy from the Salt Lake City Stars, per a team release. Bolomboy had been on his 13th D-League assignment of the 2016/17 season.
  • The Wizards have assigned Danuel House to the Delaware 87ers via the flexible assignment rule, the team announced in a press release. House, who has appeared in just one NBA game this season, has had his rookie season curtailed by a right wrist fracture. A former member of the Texas A&M Aggies, House has averaged 15 points in two D-League games.
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