When the Nets take on the Magic to begin the seeding games on Friday afternoon, they might be without a couple of players. According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link), Brooklyn head coach Jacque Vaughn was “non-committal” about Jamal Crawford or Donta Hall playing. Vaughn added that they want to be healthy for the entire restart and the focus is not just this one game against Orlando.
Crawford, who is the elder statesmen of this young Nets team, was signed earlier this month as a replacement player. The 40-year-old guard last played in NBA in the 2018/19 season for the Suns. In 64 games with Phoenix, he averaged 7.9 PPG, 3.6 APG, and 1.3 RPG.
Hall, meanwhile, was also signed earlier this month as a substitute player by the Nets. The 23-year-old big man spent some time with both the Grand Rapids Drive (the Pistons’ G League affiliate) and Detroit this season. With the Drive, the former Alabama Crimson Tide standout averaged 15.4 PPG and 10.6 RPG and earned second-team All-NBAGL honors. Then with the Pistons, Hall received two 10-day contracts. But his latest one in March did not roll over, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
- In a radio interview on Wednesday, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said that starting point guard Kemba Walker‘s knee “is the strongest it’s been since he got here in September” (h/t NBC Sports Boston). Stevens also mentioned that Walker will be on a minute restriction against the Bucks on Friday, likely playing between 14-20 minutes.
- Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams believes that the Knicks‘ success hinges on the long-standing relationship between new team president Leon Rose and soon-to-be head coach Tom Thibodeau, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I think it’s really important. It’s important for Tom,” Adams said. “For somebody starting out like Leon, I think it’s important for him to thoroughly know another person for a long period of time. And it can’t be anything but helpful for both parties.” Adams was on Thibodeau’s staff in Chicago for a few seasons and saw first-hand how successful things were when everybody was working on one accord. Thibodeau will have the tall task of trying to get the Knicks back to the playoffs.
- If Raptors point guard and impending free-agent Fred VanVleet wants to take his game to another level, he needs to be a better finisher at the rim, opines Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Murphy points out that the play styles of VanVleet and starting point guard Kyle Lowry are similar in multiple ways, but what separates them is the ability to finish at the rim. As of right now, VanVleet ranks towards the bottom third in restricted area field goal percentage (51.2).