Jalen Suggs

Southeast Notes: Banchero, Suggs, Isaac, Collins, Wizards

Paolo Banchero is ready to embrace the expectations that come with being a No. 1 pick, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. The former Duke star is looking forward to starting workouts with the Magic next week in preparation for his July 7 debut in the Las Vegas Summer League.

“There’s going to be high expectations for myself that I’m going to hold myself to and that everyone is going to hold myself to,” Banchero said during a press conference Friday in Orlando. “But I feel like it’s nothing I’m not used to. It was the same thing for me heading into college, throughout high school, a lot of expectations. It’s been like that my whole life.”

Banchero wasn’t sure he would be the first selection until a few seconds before his name was announced. Orlando conducted a thorough search of several candidates — most notably Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren — and kept its intentions hidden until the draft began.

“There’s things that you’re grabbing from each one that you’re like, ‘Oh, man, wow, that can be great for us,’” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “But then it ultimately comes down to, ‘How does that fit for us? How do we jell with them in the locker room? How are they treating people when they’re walking in?’ Because all those pieces play a factor. And I think we’ve done an incredible job with those details.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Magic guard Jalen Suggs is making progress in his recovery from surgery in April for a slight stress fracture in his right ankle, but he won’t take part in Summer League, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel“Jalen got his boot off and he’s ramping up his recovery,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said. There’s still no set timetable for Jonathan Isaac, Weltman adds, although the team is optimistic that he can be ready for the start of the season.
  • The Hawks didn’t trade John Collins before the draft, but it’s still likely to happen at some point during the offseason, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. A source close to Collins told Kirschner, “He won’t be a Hawk past this summer,” and Kirschner adds that no one he’s talked to expects Collins to be with the team on opening night.
  • The Wizards will explore other options after failing to land a starting point guard on draft night, states Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Washington took Johnny Davis at No. 10, but he’s viewed as a wing rather than a lead guard. “I think a lot of times if you force something on draft night, you’re taking away the opportunity in free agency and everything that free agency represents,” general manager Tommy Sheppard said. “… The point guard, all along I felt it was going to come after the draft, not during the draft.”

Draft Notes: Holmgren, J. Smith, NBA Academy, Hornets

Chet Holmgren may not wind up joining Jalen Suggs with the Magic, but he’s been getting draft advice from his long-time friend and high school teammate, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Before both players headed to Gonzaga for one-year stays, they teamed up at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.

“He said try to slow things down as fast as you can because everyone at that level plays slow, even when there’s seven seconds on the shot clock, nobody rushes,” Holmgren said. “Everyone knows seven seconds is a lot of time — in the NBA, you can get almost two more actions in that [time]. Other pointers, tips like that, about the NBA style of play.”

Holmgren met with Orlando’s front office this week and will be under consideration for the No. 1 pick, although most draft experts expect Auburn’s Jabari Smith to be taken first.

There’s more on the draft:

  • Ryan Blake, who has been helping to direct NBA scouting services since 1996, views Smith as worthy of the No. 1 selection, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Blake believes Smith will display skills that were inhibited by the more restricted college atmosphere. “His offensive game is going to be so much better in the NBA,” Blake said. “He had the confidence and maturity to play within the system at Auburn. You have a prototypical forward who can play two spots that can really almost be a Jayson Tatum-type of player. He has a great shooting stroke — the release [and] the soft touch. He’s a versatile defender. He’s intense. He’s moving his feet. He’s always looking around. He’s also a leader, too. He’s always in the mix.”
  • Josh Giddey was the first NBA Academy graduate to be drafted and three more players are expected to join him this year, Maurice Brooks writes for NBA.com. Dyson Daniels and Bennedict Mathurin will likely be lottery picks, while Hyunjung Lee is projected to be taken in the second round. The NBA Academy was created in 2016 to provide more opportunities for international players.
  • Six players will attend a workout for the Hornets today, the team announced on Twitter. They are Jules Bernard of UCLA, Nysier Brooks of Mississippi, Terrell Brown Jr. of Washington, Josh Carlton of Houston, Dereon Seabron of North Carolina State and Ben Shungu of Vermont.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Lowry, Strus, Wizards, Magic

By earning a spot on the All-NBA Third Team this week, Hawks guard Trae Young ensured that his five-year, maximum-salary rookie scale extension will start at 30% of the 2022/23 cap rather than 25%, as we outlined on Tuesday. Based on the current maximum-salary projections, that means Atlanta’s projected team salary for next season will increase by $6.1MM.

As Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes, Young’s salary bump means Atlanta is more likely to be over the luxury-tax line in 2022/23 and perhaps less likely to bring back Danilo Gallinari, whose $21.45MM salary is only partially guaranteed for $5MM. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), the Hawks currently project to be about $7.8MM over the tax line, so they could, at least temporarily, get out of tax territory by waiving Gallinari and saving that $16MM+.

Young’s more lucrative contract may place a few more constraints on the Hawks over the next five years as they attempt to build a championship-caliber roster around him. However, as Kirschner observes, the team will at least no longer have to worry about Young being disgruntled as a result of missing out on an All-NBA spot and an extra $35MM.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • With Kyle Lowry still clearly being affected by the left hamstring injury that has forced him to miss eight playoff games, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel and Joe Vardon of The Athletic believe the Heat have to seriously consider whether or not Lowry should start – or even play – in a do-or-die Game 6. Vardon says the team should probably bench both Lowry and Max Strus, who are a combined 1-of-28 from the floor in the last two games.
  • Josh Robbins and John Hollinger of The Athletic take a look at the Wizards‘ future, discussing whether a full-fledged rebuild or building around Bradley Beal would be a better course of action for the franchise. Hollinger wonders if the team missed an opportunity to get a Jrue Holiday-esque haul (or better) for Beal by not moving him a year or two ago, but believes that the best course of action at this point would be to re-sign the All-Star guard, since he could always be traded later.
  • Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel explores what the Magic‘s starting five may look like next season, depending on whether the team drafts Jabari Smith or Chet Holmgren. In Price’s view, floor-spacing issues mean that Cole Anthony may be a better fit alongside Holmgren, while Jalen Suggs could make more sense alongside Smith.

Jalen Suggs Undergoes Right Ankle Surgery

Rookie guard Jalen Suggs underwent surgery last week on his right ankle, according to the Magic, who announced in a press release that the procedure repaired a “slight” stress fracture in the ankle.

The team didn’t announce an exact recovery timeline for Suggs, but said he’s expected to resume basketball activities this summer and make a full recovery by the start of training camp in the fall.

“In assessing Jalen’s right ankle at the conclusion of the season, and consulting with multiple doctors, we came to the determination to undergo this preventative measure,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said in a statement. “We feel by addressing this now Jalen can still have a productive summer leading into training camp.”

It’s unclear how the injury might have affected Suggs’ play in his rookie year. He missed time due to a right ankle sprain and a right ankle bone bruise in the second half of the season.

The No. 5 pick in last year’s draft, Suggs had perhaps the most underwhelming rookie season of any player selected in the top 10, averaging 11.8 PPG, 4.4 APG, and 3.6 RPG with a subpar .361/.214/.773 shooting line in 48 games (27.2 MPG). Besides the ankle issue, the former Gonzaga standout also dealt with a fractured right thumb that cost him 20 games in December and January.

Suggs is still just 20 years old and was highly regarded coming out of college, so the Magic certainly still view him as an important part of their future and will look for him to take a step forward in his second season. It doesn’t sound as if his 2022/23 debut will be delayed at all by last week’s surgery.

Magic Notes: Carter Jr., Cannady, Suggs, F. Wagner, Offseason

Big man Wendell Carter Jr. is having the best season of his young career with the Magic, according to Mark Schindler of BasketballNews.com, who takes an in-depth look at Carter’s breakout season and interviewed him for the article. Carter is averaging career-highs of 15.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists this season in 62 games (29.9 minutes per night). He boasts a shooting line of .525/.327/.691, including a career-best 61.5% on two-pointers.

Carter said the team’s coaching staff has empowered and challenged him to improve his game.

They’ve kind of instilled in me like, ‘Man, you’re a great player. We’ve seen plenty of flashes. We know what Wendell can really be. Can we see you do this for a whole 48-minute game? Can we see you play like those little spurts we’ll see every now and then? Can you do that more often?’

Here’s more on the Magic:

  • Devin Cannady, who signed a 10-day contract last week, is grateful for his second chance with Orlando, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Cannady had a 10-day and then a two-way contract with Orlando last season and appeared in eight games, but his season came to an early end in April of 2021 when he suffered a significant ankle injury and underwent surgery. “I remember what it felt like laying on that floor less than a year ago. A lot of thoughts went through my mind. I remember praying on the floor that day. A lot of late nights, early mornings, frustrations, excitements and just to be back here is a testament to the work I put in. Whether I made it back here or not, I was going to be fine, but this is where I believe I belong,” Cannady said.
  • Rookies Jalen Suggs (right ankle bone bruise) and Franz Wagner (left ankle sprain) returned for Tuesday’s win over Cleveland after absences of 10 games and one game, respectively. However, Wagner suffered a right ankle sprain in the game and didn’t return (Twitter links).
  • Bobby Marks explores the team’s options for the offseason in his guide for ESPN (Insider link). Much of Orlando’s financial flexibility is tied to Mohamed Bamba, who would be a restricted free agent this summer if the team tenders him a qualifying offer of $10.1MM.

Injury Notes: N. Powell, LeBron, Suggs, Raptors

Appearing on TNT during Tuesday’s broadcast of the Clippers/Nuggets game, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports provided a positive update on Norman Powell‘s recovery from a fractured left foot (video link via Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints).

“Norm Powell, sources tell me, is itching to get back out there and is expected to return at some point before the end of the regular season,” Haynes said.

Responding to the report, Powell seemed to take exception to Haynes’ assessment of his situation, tweeting, What sources? Is saying how I feel? It’s either from me or fake news. Chill with the sources talk. Smh.”

It’s unclear what part of Haynes’ report Powell was objecting to — presumably, the veteran swingman is doing all he can to make it back on the court before the Clippers participate in the Western Conference play-in tournament next month.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Lakers star LeBron James has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game vs. Philadelphia due to left knee soreness, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Since Los Angeles doesn’t play again until Sunday, holding James out tonight will give him nearly a full week to rest his knee, which has bothered him for much of the season.
  • Magic guard Jalen Suggs has missed four straight games due to a right ankle bone bruise, but the team isn’t shutting him down for the rest of the season, head coach Jamahl Mosley said on Tuesday, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. “Him and I actually just had a very good conversation a moment ago about his competitive nature and what he wants to do,” Mosley said. “For that young man, playing is the thing he loves to do the most. Being around his teammates is what he loves to do the most in these situations. We’ll focus on his health, which is obviously the biggest thing. If he’s healthy, we’ll have him on the court ready to play.”
  • Raptors guard Fred VanVleet told reporters that sitting out a game in back-to-back sets is “not doing much” to alleviate his nagging knee pain, but said he understands why the team is going that route (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca). I probably would’ve been even less effective than I was (Monday vs. the Bulls) if I would’ve played (Sunday vs. the Sixers),” VanVleet said after Monday’s loss in which he shot just 7-of-22 from the field. “It’s a difficult situation. I gotta figure it out.”
  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic (all Twitter links) passed along several more Raptors injury updates, noting that OG Anunoby (finger) practiced on Wednesday, while Gary Trent Jr. (toe) didn’t. Both players are officially listed as questionable for Thursday’s game vs. Cleveland but seem closer to doubtful, says Koreen.

Injury Notes: G. Hill, D. Green, Suggs, Vanderbilt

While his return will likely be overshadowed by Brook Lopez‘s, another key Bucks contributor appears poised to be available on Monday night in Utah. Veteran guard George Hill no longer shows up on Milwaukee’s injury report after missing the last 17 games due to neck soreness.

[RELATED: Brook Lopez To Return On Monday]

Prior to his injury, Hill had been a regular part of the Bucks’ backcourt rotation, starting 16 of his 41 games and averaging 25.5 minutes per contest. While his shooting numbers this season (.436 FG%, .316 3PT%) are well below his career rates, the 35-year-old will give the club another ball-handling and floor-spacing option down the stretch, and he won’t shy away from the postseason spotlight this spring — Hill has appeared in 139 career playoff games.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Warriors forward Draymond Green is officially set to return on Monday after being sidelined since early January with a back issue, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Green, who no longer appears on Golden State’s injury report, said last week that he was targeting March 14 for his return.
  • After missing games on March 5 and March 8 due to a right ankle sprain, Magic rookie Jalen Suggs doesn’t appear to have put that issue fully behind him. He left Sunday’s game early, with the team again citing a sprained right ankle (Twitter link).
  • Timberwolves forward Jarred Vanderbilt will be unavailable on Monday for a second straight game due to a left quad contusion, tweets Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Discussing Vanderbilt’s status on Saturday, Wolves head coach Chris Finch called it “kind of an odd” injury. “The only way to loosen it up is by moving, but it hurts too much to move,” Finch said (Twitter link via Hine). “Just got to keep working on it. The way he plays, he needs all of his physical attributes to be highly impactful.”

Eastern Notes: Suggs, Heat, Hornets, Harden, Embiid

Magic rookie Jalen Suggs is pushing the pace for his team this season, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Orlando lost to Phoenix 132-105 on Saturday, but Suggs still finished with a 20-point, 10-assist effort.

“I liked the pace of the game,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said of Suggs. “His ability to push the ball up the floor. He got a lot of guys easy shots being able to get out in transition [and] attacking before the defense was set. I really like his aggressiveness.”

Suggs also grabbed six rebounds in the contest, immediately pushing to run the break. His work came in just 26 minutes of action. The 20-year-old is holding per-game averages of 12.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists on the season, shooting 37% from the floor.

Here are some other notes from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat were content with standing pat at the trade deadline, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. The team did clear a roster spot by trading KZ Okpala to Oklahoma City, but Victor Oladipo‘s looming return should serve as a valuable upgrade. “I thought everyone was pretty safe this year on our team,” Tyler Herro said. “In past years, we’ve made pretty significant moves and people didn’t really know what move we were going to make. But I felt like this trade deadline was a little bit more clear. We’re first in the East. We feel like we made all our moves in the offseason and I think this roster is good enough to compete with anybody. I think that’s why we didn’t make any moves.”
  • The upcoming All-Star break is coming at a good time for the Hornets, Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer writes, noting how the team could use a reset. Charlotte is 3-7 in its last 10 games. “I feel like we just got to put it together,” Terry Rozier said. “Whatever that means, however people take it. But the season is about ups and downs and at home we’re just not getting wins right now.”
  • Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer examines why he believes the James HardenJoel Embiid pairing will flourish for the Sixers at first. Pompey also explores whether it could advance past the initial stage, as both Harden and Embiid don’t hold championship experience. Philadelphia acquired Harden and veteran Paul Millsap last week, sending Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks to Brooklyn.

2021/22 Rising Stars Team Rosters

As we previously relayed, the NBA announced a new format for its Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend, which will take place on Friday, February 18. The event will feature four seven-player teams competing in a three-game tournament (two semifinals and a final).

The player pool is comprised of 12 NBA rookies, 12 sophomores, and four players from the G League Ignite, while the games will be played to a target score: 50 points in the semifinals and 25 points in the final, in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.

The rosters were announced on February 1, but now the four honorary coaches (75th anniversary team members Rick Barry, Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton and James Worthy) have selected their seven-man teams, per our JD Shaw (Twitter link). Here are the rosters:

Team Barry:

Team Isiah:

Team Payton:

Team Worthy:

James Ham of ESPN 1320 and The Kings Beat provides (via Twitter) the full draft results.

The top 10, in order, were: Edwards, Mobley, Ball, Anthony, Giddey, Barnes, Cunningham, Bey, Bane, and Wagner. It’s worth noting that Worthy and Anthony both went to the University of North Carolina, so Anthony’s selection at No. 4 is less surprising given that context.

What do you think of the teams? Who do you think will come out on top? Head to the comments section and let us know your thoughts!

NBA Announces 2021/22 Rising Stars Rosters

The NBA has revealed the 28 players (12 rookies, 12 sophomores, and four G League Ignite players) who will suit up for the 2022 Clorox Rising Stars Game in Cleveland this year, per its official PR account (Twitter links). There are a few intriguing surprises among the first-year NBA players.

Here are the players who made the cut:

Rookies:

Sophomores:

Additionally, four players from the G League Ignite will participate in the Rising Stars Game based on voting from NBA G League head coaches. The NBAGL has announced (Twitter link) that MarJon Beauchamp, Dyson Daniels, Jaden Hardy and Scoot Henderson will partake in the action. Players will be separated into four teams, and each G League player will be drafted to join one of the teams later this week.

Among the rookie NBA players, the additions who would be most surprising ahead of the 2021/22 season would be Dosunmu and Jones, both of whom were second-round draft selections. 2021 lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga, Ziaire Williams, James Bouknight, Joshua Primo and Moses Moody were all omitted from inclusion this year.

Among the second-year players, Ball could be appearing on multiple nights during All-Star Weekend this season, as he appears to be a very possible first-time All-Star this year thanks to his outstanding work with the upstart Hornets.

The lottery-bound Magic, Pistons, and Rockets can boast having the most inclusions here, with three players apiece.

As we detailed last week, this year’s Rising Stars event will look a little different, with the four teams taking part in a mini-tournament and playing to a target score in each game: 50 points in the semifinals and 25 points in the final, in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.