Derrick Walton Jr.

Southeast Notes: Dedmon, Fournier, Walton, Adebayo

Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon returned to the active roster on Monday evening against the Clippers, Jeff Siegel of reports. Dedmon missed 19 games with a left tibia stress reaction, which was expected to sideline him 3-6 weeks. Atlanta has been the league’s third-worst defensive club since the Dedmon injury in late November, Siegel notes. Dedmon, who played for the Spurs last season, signed a two-year, $12.3MM deal with the Hawks in July. He holds a player option for next season.

In other news involving the Southeast Division:

  • Magic swingman Evan Fournier shot just 27.5% from the field during the team’s first three games in January and it’s clear he misses injured center Nikola Vucevic, as John Denton of the team’s website explains. Vucevic is Fournier’s best friend on the team and the Euros feed off each other. Vucevic suffered a broken bone in his left hand just before Christmas and is out 6-8 weeks. “Definitely, we have great chemistry and there’s no secret to that,” Fournier told Denton. “No more two-man game with him out.”
  • Heat rookie guard Derrick Walton Jr. has only 14 days of NBA service remaining on his two-way contract, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel notes. That was a factor in the team’s decision to send the University of Michigan product to the G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce on Sunday despite injuries to two wing players. He has appeared in 12 games with the Heat. If he returns to the Heat and reaches the 45-day limit, he must either spend the rest of the season in the G League, be offered a standard contract or be released.
  • Rookie Bam Adebayo is likely to drop out of the Heat’s rotation due to a logjam in the frontcourt, Winderman opines in his weekly mailbag. Adebayo’s energy is admirable but he’s prone to defensive mistakes, Winderman explains. For a team fighting for a playoff spot, the club is best served by dividing the minutes at power forward and center among veterans Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson, Winderman adds.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Walton Jr., Monk

A lack of depth played a role in the Wizards‘ recent loss to a short-handed Cavaliers team, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. In a matchup where both teams were missing players, the Cavs still managed to hurt them with a capable 10-man rotation.

Hughes writes that the Wizards will be in a better position when John Wall and Markieff Morris completely return to full health but even then it may not be enough to legitimately compete with an elite team like the Cavs.

That presents one question for Washington’s front office; whether the Wizards should make a move prior to the trade deadline considering that a trip to the NBA Finals will almost certainly have to go through Cleveland at some point.

There’s more from the Southeast Division today:

  • Two-way Heat signee Derrick Walton Jr. has already spent at least 22 days with the big league club, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. The new contract format permits players to spend 45 games total with the NBA squad and the rest with a team in the G League.
  • The Hornets have cut back rookie guard Malik Monk‘s role because of his weak defense, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype writes. Charlotte has been outscored by 15.4 points per 100 possessions with Monk on the court, worse than any other player in their 12-man rotation.
  • It’s reasonable to picture Heat president Pat Riley showing an interest in Paul George if he were to be made available by the Thunder. Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel discussed the possibility in a question-and-answer feature with readers.