Jalen Suggs

Southeast Notes: Reddish, Knox, Suggs, Kuzma

The reduced role that Cam Reddish had with the Hawks before being traded to New York came about because he expressed a desire to be dealt over the offseason, head coach Nate McMillan told reporters, including Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link), before tonight’s game. Even though the team was beset by injuries and players in the league’s health and safety protocols, Reddish averaged a career-low 23.4 minutes per night in 34 games.

“This year, he made the decision during the summer that he wanted to go elsewhere and play somewhere else,” McMillan said. “So it was tough. It was tough for him to come in and he was a professional. He was a pro. He didn’t do anything through the media, he came in, he tried to work.

“A lot of you guys were asking why he wasn’t in the rotation or why we weren’t doing certain things, and it was we knew that this was something that wasn’t going to, he wasn’t probably going to end the season with us. Unfortunate. I think he has a lot of talent, great kid, and I wish him well. We had a conversation when it happened and he’s looking forward to the opportunity.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Kevin Knox, who was part of the Hawks‘ return for Reddish, has passed his physical and is eligible to play in tonight’s game against the Knicks, Spencer tweets.
  • Rookie guard Jalen Suggs returned to the Magic’s lineup Friday night for the first time since fracturing his right thumb on November 29, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Suggs, who got off to a slow start, called the injury “a blessing in disguise” after putting up 12 points, six rebounds and seven assists in a win at Charlotte. “It gave me time to sit back and reevaluate the things I was doing, the habits I had, change those to better ones and grow. I needed that,” Suggs said.
  • Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma is firmly entrenched as a starter in Washington after coming off the bench for the Lakers the past two seasons, notes Jackson Filyo of NBA.com. Kuzma, who narrowly missed his first career triple-double this week, said he benefited from the lessons he learned in L.A. “I credit a lot of my success this season to the last two years, taking a seat and watching some great players play basketball and learning from them,” Kuzma said. “I just knew once I got traded, it was a golden opportunity for me to enhance my game and show everything I’ve learned and what I’m capable of with opportunity. I’m just showing that right now.”

Jalen Suggs Expected To Return Friday For Magic

Magic rookie Jalen Suggs, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2021 draft, is expected to return to action on Friday against Charlotte, writes Dan Savage of the team’s website. Suggs has been sidelined with a fractured right thumb since November 29, missing the team’s past 20 games.

Although he was unable to play in games, Suggs has traveled with the team and has been engaged on the sidelines, according to head coach Jamahl Mosley.

He’s used the time, obviously, sitting with the coaches, studying film, understanding things on the sideline,” Mosley said. “You’ll see him sometimes get up and throw suggestions and things that he sees. I think that’s fantastic. Our guys are so engaged with one another that they understand what we’re asking them to do.”

We noted on Tuesday that Suggs and Markelle Fultz had resumed practicing with the team, so perhaps Fultz won’t be too far behind. Fultz has been recovering from a torn left ACL suffered at the beginning of last season and has yet to play in 2021/22.

Through 21 contests (27.8 MPG), all starts, Suggs is averaging 12.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.6 APG and 1.1 SPG. His counting stats are solid, but like many rookies, he’s struggled with efficiency, committing 3.2 turnovers per game with a poor shooting line of .339/.255/.763. He will look to improve upon those numbers when he returns for the rebuilding Magic, who currently have the worst record in the NBA at 7-35.

Southeast Notes: Morris, McMillan, Hunter, Magic

Heat power forward Markieff Morris, who has been sidelined since suffering a neck injury thanks to a hard foul from Nuggets center Nikola Jokic on November 8, will have to fight to gain back rotational time he has lost, opines writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Winderman notes that Miami opted to bring in Morris as the first backup power forward behind starter P.J. Tucker in the 10 games this season when Morris was healthy, but that the team may consider small-ball lineups with versatile reserve wings Caleb Martin or Max Strus playing nominal power forward minutes for the Heat.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks head coach Nate McMillan reflected on his time in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and away from his players, per Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. McMillan recently cleared protocols and has returned to coaching the team. “I’ve never had to go through anything like that,” McMillan said. “To coach during this time with COVID, some of my guys, it’s been close to a month since I’ve seen them.” The Hawks, who had 13 players in the protocols at one point in late December, are currently 17-22, the No. 12 seed in the East.
  • Hawks small forward De’Andre Hunter is nearing his return to the team, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (Twitter link), who reports that Hunter played in a full five-on-five team practice today. Trainers must green-light Hunter’s return to game action, which could happen as soon as tomorrow against the Heat, per head coach Nate McMillan. Hunter underwent surgery on his right wrist in mid-November. In 11 contests with Atlanta this season, he averaged 10.8 PPG on .450/.395/.400 shooting, along with 2.7 RPG and 0.6 SPG.
  • Young Magic point guards Jalen Suggs and Markelle Fultz have resumed practicing with the team, according to Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel. Power forward Jonathan Isaac, who has been absent since tearing his ACL in August 2020, is inching towards a return of his own, though Suggs and Fultz appear closer to rejoining their Orlando teammates on the hardwood. Fultz tore his left ACL early in the 2020/21 NBA season and has been absent ever since. Suggs continues to wear a splint for the fractured thumb on his right hand. Exact return timelines for Suggs and Fultz have not been determined.

Florida Notes: Suggs, Miami Backcourt, Butler, Spoelstra

Magic rookie guard Jalen Suggs continues to develop his skills at the next level despite remaining sidelined due to a fractured right thumb, writes Dan Savage of Magic.com. Savage notes that the injury will not require surgery, and the club will continue to monitor it with check-ups every other week.

Rather than rehabilitate at home, Suggs wanted to travel with his Magic teammates for the club’s recent Western Conference road trip: “For me, the biggest part was still being around the team, hearing what the coaches are saying, being on the bench, and being engaged into the game. That was the biggest piece for me for wanting to come and hoping they’d let me come. Again, just continuing to build the camaraderie because I love to be around these guys.”

Savage reports that Suggs is going through game film with head coach Jamahl Mosley and assistant coach Nate Tibbetts as he hopes to take strides even while unavailable for the Magic.

“Just trying to see the flow, see where certain shots come in, see how I can better control the game in certain situations,” Suggs said. “I think they’ve done a great job of keeping me involved and keeping me engaged.”

Across 21 games thus far this season, the 6’4″ 21-year-old point guard out of Gonzaga is averaging 12.3 PPG (albeit on lackluster shooting percentages), 3.6 APG and 3.4 RPG.

There’s more out of the Sunshine State:

  • Due to a rash of injuries early in the 2021/22 NBA season, the Heat have been compelled to tinker with lineup optionality, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. The backcourt tandem of veteran point guard Kyle Lowry and up-and-comer Gabe Vincent has emerged by necessity, and may become a favorite for head coach Erik Spoelstra going forward. “You have toughness and that defensive disposition from both of them,” Spoelstra said. “Either one of them can play on the ball or play off the ball and they feel equally comfortable in that role. I think the different roles that Gabe has had to play for us the last year and a half have really prepared him to be able to complement Kyle very well.”
  • Heat All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, in his first game back from a tailbone injury that kept him sidelined for four contests, appeared to re-injure himself after suffering a hard fall in an eventual 105-90 defeat against the Grizzlies Monday night, per ESPN.com. “It is a contact sport,” head coach Erik Spoelstra noted. “But he definitely re-aggravated it. You can tell from that point on he was not his usual self. So we’ll reevaluate him [Tuesday] and see where we are.” When available, the 32-year-old swingman has looked like his usual All-Star self, averaging 22.8 PPG on 50.9% shooting from the floor and 85.2% from the charity stripe, while chipping in 5.8 RPG and 5.2 APG across 18 games.
  • Spoelstra discussed his frustrations with himself as a coach in the wake of the Heat‘s recent slump, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The team has lost four of its last five contests overall, including three games on its home court. “I have to do a better job getting the team organized and getting the team comfortable, where the ball’s going, how we’re going to play offensively,” Spoelstra said. To be fair, the team has been without All-Stars Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo, out with injuries, for most of those games. The Heat are currently still the fourth seed in the East at 14-11. The lead man in Miami since 2008, Spoelstra is the second-longest-tenured NBA head coach, behind just Gregg Popovich of the Spurs.

Southeast Notes: Suggs, Hawks, Okongwu, Miles Bridges, LaMelo

2021 fifth overall pick Jalen Suggs suffered a fractured right thumb on Monday for the Magic, but surgery won’t be necessary to repair the injury, according to Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com.

Savage writes that Suggs will be evaluated every two weeks to assess how much the bone has healed, and the healing process will determine when he returns to the court.

Through 21 contests (27.8 MPG), Suggs is averaging 12.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.6 APG and 1.1 SPG. His counting stats are solid, but like many rookies, he’s struggled with efficiency in the early going, committing 3.2 turnovers per game with a poor shooting line of .339/.255/.763.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hawks assistant coach Jamelle McMillan is in the COVID-19 health and safety protocols and head coach Nate McMillan will be isolating until he has tested negative multiple times, the team announced (Twitter link). In a follow-up tweet, the team says that assistant coach Chris Jent will serve as head coach Dec. 1 against the Pacers. Jent is a veteran assistant and has been with the Hawks since 2017.
  • Second-year Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu is starting to ramp up activity while recovering from shoulder surgery. We noted last week he played 3-on-3, and now coach Nate McMillan says he’s going to start practicing 5-on-5 with the College Park Skyhawks, Atlanta’s G League affiliate, per Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). He’s expected to play in a G League game if the practices go well.
  • LaMelo Ball is playing a major role in Miles Bridges‘ breakout season with the Hornets, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes. Tjarks takes an in-depth look at the connection between the two players, noting that Bridges is an All-Star candidate this season with two-way impact. Tjarks says the Hornets may regret not giving Bridges a rookie scale extension at a discounted rate when they had the chance, stating that Bridges could earn a max contract next summer if he keeps playing at a high level.

Magic Rookie Jalen Suggs Suffers Fractured Thumb

Magic guard Jalen Suggs has suffered a fractured right thumb, according to the team’s PR department (Twitter link). He’ll be out for an extended period of time.

Suggs, who was averaging 12.1 PPG, 3.5 APG and 3.4 RPG in his rookie campaign, was the No. 5 pick in the draft. The former Gonzaga All-American suffered the injury at Philadelphia on Monday, a game in which he scored 17 points and handed out five assists in 29 minutes. The injury occurred during the fourth quarter.

Suggs will return to Orlando to be reevaluated before a clear timetable can be determined, but he’s expected to miss several weeks, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Orlando’s other starting guard, Cole Anthony, has been sidelined since November 19 due to an ankle injury, while Markelle Fultz continues to recover from a torn ACL. Michael Carter-Williams has also been dealing with an ankle injury. That leaves R.J. Hampton, Gary Harris and Mychal Mulder as the remaining backcourt options.

Suggs suffered an injury to his left thumb during Summer League action. It’s been a rough start for many of the league’s top rookies, as Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Jonathan Kuminga have all missed games due to various injuries.

Southeast Notes: C. Martin, Hachimura, Suggs, Hawks

Heat forward Caleb Martin has emerged as a regular rotation player this month, but his two-way contract could complicate his role as the season progresses, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Two-way players can only be active for 50 of 82 games — Martin has been active for 17 of Miami’s first 19 contests, so if the club continues to use him regularly, he could reach his limit prior to the All-Star break. The easiest way to avoid that scenario would be to promote Martin to the 15-man roster, but the Heat aren’t filling their lone opening yet due to luxury tax concerns. As Winderman notes, Martin said this week that it’d be great to earn a standard contract, but that he’s not concerned about it yet.

“I haven’t really thought that far ahead,” Martin said. “I’ll leave that up to them. For them, that’s really on them to decide when they need me or when not. … Obviously that standard contract is what anybody who comes in on this situation works toward.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Wizards forward Rui Hachimura, whose debut this season has been delayed due to a personal absence, still isn’t quite ready to return to action. According to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link), Hachimura didn’t accompany the team on its current four-game road trip, which runs through Monday.
  • Magic guard Jalen Suggs has struggled a little early in his rookie season, but after putting up 17 points and six assists in a loss to Charlotte on Wednesday, the first-year guard said he’s feeling more “comfortable and confident,” as Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel details. “These past four or five games I’ve felt I’ve kind of turned the corner [from] trying to get adjusted, trying to get my feet wet, because it’s just a completely different situation to now,” Suggs said.
  • Chris Kirschner and John Hollinger of The Athletic teamed up to discuss whether the Hawks make sense as a potential Ben Simmons suitor and how much urgency the team should feel to make a major consolidation trade. Kirschner doesn’t believe Atlanta needs to make a big in-season move, but thinks the team should seriously consider it during the 2022 offseason, a year before De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish are eligible for restricted free agency.

Southeast Notes: Suggs, Bridges, I. Smith, Hawks

Jalen Suggs has looked more like a rookie than some of the other lottery picks in this year’s draft, but the Magic are willing to be patient with him, writes Austin David of The Orlando Sentinel. The No. 5 overall pick is struggling in his first month in the NBA, shooting just 31.2% from the field and 20.3% from three-point range while averaging 3.5 turnovers per game to go with his 3.5 assists.

But Suggs has held onto his starting job, and a rebuilding Orlando team is planning to give him the time he needs to learn how to be an NBA point guard. Head coach Jamahl Mosley is a strong believer in Suggs and says he’s constantly working to get better.

“The thing that I continue to tell everyone is that the way he’s seeing it and communicating it through film sessions, with our coaches, with myself on the sideline, he’s seeing it very well,” Mosley said. “Now it’s just a matter of putting the physical side of it to it, and understanding when to slow down, when to speed up, the right reads, when it takes shots. He’s getting better at it slowly but surely. So as he can continue to communicate it, the better he’ll be as he sees it on the physical side of it.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Miles Bridges is in his fourth season with the Hornets, but he still gets butterflies when playing in front of team owner Michael Jordan, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Jordan attended Friday’s game and Bridges was aware of his presence. “The greatest basketball player of all time on the bench supporting you, it definitely gives you nerves,” Bridges said. “I came out and missed a few layups, missed three few free throws. But as soon as we started settling in and started playing our game, I feel like that’s when it took a turn. That’s when we started going on our runs. But it’s great to have him out there.”
  • Ish Smith, who signed with the Hornets in the offseason, played a little more than a minute Friday after sitting out the last two games of the club’s road trip, Boone adds. Coach James Borrego said the decisions have been based more on matchups than Smith’s performance, as he wanted to give Terry Rozier more time at point guard.
  • Hawks coach Nate McMillan may start using John Collins more frequently as a center with his second unit, per Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. McMillan said Collins and Danilo Gallinari are an effective pairing against smaller lineups.

Eastern Notes: Harden, Gafford, Simmons, Barnes

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday about his slow start to the season, Nets guard James Harden explained that he’s still shaking off the rust since he didn’t get to play much during an offseason that was mostly spent rehabbing his hamstring injury.

“I had no opportunities to play pickup or nothing this summer,” Harden said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “Everything was rehab for three months, from a Grade 2 injury that happened three times in one season. So this is my fifth game of trying to just play with competition against somebody else. And as much as I want to rush the process and be back to hooping and killing, (you have to) take your time.”

Harden, who has rarely had to deal with injuries since entering the league in 2009, admitted it was “frustrating” and “draining” to battle the hamstring issue down the stretch last season and over the summer. However, he said that he thinks he’s “getting better every single game.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Wizards center Daniel Gafford appears to have avoided a major injury after undergoing an MRI on his right quad contusion. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said on Thursday that he expects Gafford to be back in a mater of days, not weeks (Twitter link via Ava Wallace of The Washington Post).
  • There’s no set timeline for Ben Simmons, who told the Sixers last Friday that he’s not yet mentally ready to play, but he has been at the team’s practice facility during the last week, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He’s been working out,” head coach Doc Rivers said on Thursday. “Today he was at shootaround, did a lot of shooting and a lot of stuff with (skills development coach) Spencer (Rivers).”
  • With the Raptors set to face the Magic for the first time this season on Friday, the Scottie Barnes/Jalen Suggs debate has resurfaced, but fans in Toronto have to be happy with what they’ve seen from Barnes so far, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Barnes, whom the Raptors picked over Suggs at No. 4 in this year’s draft, has averaged 17.0 PPG and 8.2 RPG on 53.7% shooting in his first five NBA games while taking on some challenging defensive assignments.

Southeast Notes: Avdija, Dinwiddie, Ball, Heat, Magic

Wizards forward Deni Avdija, who fractured his right ankle in April, participated in 5-on-5 scrimmages on Monday for the first time during his recovery process, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The team is hoping Avdija will be able to return to the court during the preseason, perhaps as soon as Saturday.

Meanwhile, another player coming off a major injury – Spencer Dinwiddie – is making a strong early impression with his new club. Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said on Tuesday that he has been “pleasantly surprised” with how Dinwiddie looks this fall, suggesting that the veteran point guard appears “he’s back to normal” following his partial ACL tear last December (Twitter link via Ava Wallace of The Washington Post).

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • LaMelo Ball looks fully healthy after dealing with a wrist injury at the end of last season, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, who notes that the Hornets have inserted Miles Bridges into their starting lineup this season at least in part to take advantage of the chemistry between him and Ball.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic was surprised that the win-now Heat weren’t more willing to cross the luxury tax line this offseason, pointing out that they could’ve given free agent guard Kendrick Nunn the same deal he got from the Lakers and remained below the hard cap. As Hollinger outlines, Miami could avoid the tax this season and next, but project to be a taxpayer in 2023/24 if Tyler Herro is extended.
  • The Magic started rookies Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner alongside veterans Gary Harris, Terrence Ross, and Wendell Carter in their first preseason game on Monday, but head coach Jamahl Mosley said that won’t necessarily be the same group that opens the regular season as the team’s starting five. “The way I try to look at it in this instance was, because it’s an extension of training camp, I’m just going to try looking at different lineups,” Mosley said, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “So it was treating it similar to a practice: We’d have different lineups going against one another, different combinations.”