Paolo Banchero

Paolo Banchero, Moritz Wagner Set To Return For Magic

The Magic will have a couple of previously injured big men available for Friday’s home game against Philadelphia, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (subscription required).

2022 No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero is slated to start (Twitter link) after a seven-game absence due to a left ankle sprain, while Moritz Wagner could make his 2022/23 regular season debut after incurring a right midfoot sprain during preseason.

Banchero had an excellent start to his NBA career, averaging a team-high 23.5 PPG along with 8.3 RPG, 3.6 APG and 0.9 BPG through 11 games (34.6 MPG). According to Price, the former Duke product said he’d never really dealt with an injury before.

I’ve just got to be patient,” Banchero said. “It’s my first time dealing with injuries. At first, I wanted to rush as quickly as possible trying to get back. I realized that wasn’t doing any good for me. I’m trying to learn to be patient and continue to be patient and listen to myself.”

Wagner was productive last season for Orlando, appearing in a career-high 63 games (15.2 MPG) while averaging a 9.0 PPG and 3.7 RPG as a reserve. The 25-year-old should help the team’s frontcourt depth and has been a solid scorer in limited minutes.

Unfortunately, Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia strain), Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness) and Terrence Ross (illness) have all been ruled out for the Magic (Twitter link). As Price notes in his article, both Carter and Okeke had previously been listed as questionable but were later downgraded. Ross was a last-minute addition to the injury report.

Carter will now have missed four of the past five games with the nagging foot problem. Plantar fascia injuries can be very fickle and typically only respond to rest, so we’ll see how that plays out over the course of the season. Okeke had appeared in all 18 games for the 5-13 Magic but exited Monday’s loss to the Pacers early with the injury.

Magic’s Banchero Out Another Week; Harris Could Make Debut Friday

Magic forward Paolo Banchero, the No. 1 overall pick of this year’s draft, will miss his fifth consecutive game Friday against Chicago with a sprained left ankle.

Banchero told Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (subscriber link) prior to Wednesday’s loss to Minnesota that he’s making progress in his recovery, but he’s still experiencing soreness and expects to miss at least another week to with the injury.

As Price writes, Banchero sustained the injury late in a November 7 loss to Houston. The former Duke big man has looked every bit the part of a No. 1 pick, averaging 23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists through 11 games (34.6 minutes per night).

On a positive note, guard Gary Harris could make his 2022/23 season debut for the Magic on Friday, Price writes in another article for The Orlando Sentinel (subscription required). Harris has been sidelined since he tore his left meniscus in late August, which required surgery. He  has officially listed as probable against the Bulls.

The 28-year-old shooting guard signed a two-year, $26MM extension with Orlando at the end of June just before free agency opened. The second year is non-guaranteed.

After missing Wednesday’s contest with a right plantar fascia strain (Twitter link), forward/center Wendell Carter Jr. is also listed as probable vs. Chicago, Price notes (via Twitter). Head coach Jamahl Mosley said it’s something Carter has been dealing with for a while.

He’s been playing through it. I think it flared up a little bit more the other day. But he’s been playing through…that’s the thing about him. He’s going to try to fight through it as much as he can,” Mosley said, per Price (Twitter link).

Health Updates: Cavs, Doncic, Zion, Connaughton, Banchero, Celtics

As expected, Cavaliers wing Dylan Windler has received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his injured right ankle, the team confirmed today in a press release.

According to the Cavaliers, Windler will miss approximately four-to-six weeks while recovering, with the ankle stabilized in a walking cast for the time being. Health issues have limited the former first-round pick to just 81 total appearances since he entered the NBA in 2019.

Meanwhile, Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen has officially been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Milwaukee, tweets Chris Fedor of However, it sounds like Allen’s left ankle soreness, which sidelined him on Sunday, is no longer the primary issue — he’s listed on the official injury report as having a non-COVID illness.

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

  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic will miss a game for the first time this season on Wednesday, with the club opting to give him a rest night vs. Houston (Twitter link). Doncic is averaging a career-high 37.2 minutes per game and played 40 minutes in the first half of the team’s back-to-back set on Tuesday, so this decision had been expected, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets.
  • Pelicans forward Zion Williamson will miss a second consecutive game on Wednesday due to a right foot contusion, the team announced. Head coach Willie Green‘s comments on Tuesday suggested that it isn’t a serious injury, so perhaps Williamson will be able to return on Friday vs. Boston.
  • It appears Bucks wing Pat Connaughton will likely make his regular season debut on Wednesday vs. Cleveland. Connaughton, who has been on the shelf due to a right calf strain, has been upgraded to probable, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic.
  • Magic rookie forward Paolo Banchero will miss a fourth straight game on Wendesday vs. Minnesota due to a left ankle sprain, according to the team (via Twitter).
  • The Celtics will be without two key members of their backcourt on Wednesday vs. Atlanta, having ruled out both Malcolm Brogdon (right hamstring tightness) and Marcus Smart (right ankle inflammation), the team announced (via Twitter).

Southeast Notes: Clifford, Ball, Banchero, Collins

Hornets head coach Steve Clifford believes the team can dispel the notion of being soft once it overcomes injuries, he told Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer.

“I think that we are very much viewed as a finesse offensive team and I think there is a lot of toughness here. … When we have everybody healthy we are going to be a team that plays with a lot of physicality,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t be good at all those energy effort areas. Defensive rebounding, defensive transition, keeping the ball out of the paint, being good at loose balls, being good at screening. I don’t see why we can’t do that. So I think that for me is a real positive.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets star LaMelo Ball struggled with his shooting and committed five fouls in his season debut against Miami on Saturday. Still, Ball – who had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists – was just happy to get back in action, according to Boone“I feel straight,” Ball said. “More games, it will get easier. So, I think I’m in a good spot.”
  • The top pick in the draft, the Magic‘s Paolo Banchero, missed his third consecutive game on Monday due to a left ankle sprain, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. Banchero was off to a sparkling start to his NBA career before suffering the injury. He’s averaging 23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
  • After scoring 20-plus points in his first two games, Hawks forward John Collins has averaged 10.4 points in his last 11. Collins said it’s just a matter of touches, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. He has taken 10 or fewer shots in seven of his last nine games. “I definitely feel like I can shoot the damn ball,” Collins said. “But, you know, sometimes it’s just hard to get a rhythm. I feel like my rhythm might be just a little bit off, but I’m respecting the game and trying to continue to stay in the gym and shoot and not really think too much about it.”

Southeast Notes: Harris, Banchero, Martin, Herro, Beal

Magic guard Gary Harris feels like he’s close to playing again following arthroscopic surgery during the offseason to repair a torn meniscus, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Harris has been participating in full-court games with coaches and taking part in pre-game shootarounds as he prepares to make his season debut.

“I’m moving around a little bit right now,” he said. “I’m really trying to get my timing back. Get back in basketball shape. I’m testing stuff out each day. I get more comfortable around the court.”

Harris who signed a two-year, $26MM extension with Orlando before the start of free agency, has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. But the meniscus tear was the first one that required him to undergo surgery.

“It’s just different,” Harris said. “Different movements. It’s something I have to get back comfortable and familiar with after my first one. Just seeing how my body responds.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic coach Jamahl Mosley gave a medical update on top draft pick Paolo Banchero at today’s practice, Price adds. Banchero was able to participate in drills, but he remains day-to-day with a sprained left ankle and will be a game-time decision Monday.
  • Caleb Martin was looking forward to facing his twin brother as the Heat and Hornets met twice in three days in Miami, but an injury changed those plans, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Cody Martin has played just one minute this season because of a knee injury, and Charlotte announced Friday that he had an arthroscopic procedure. He’ll reportedly miss approximately six weeks. “It’s tough on him, man,” Caleb said. “He’s obviously like me in terms of competing and wanting to be out there and contributing. It’s hard for him to need to sit out and watch other guys play.”
  • Tyler Herro missed his third straight game tonight with a sprained left ankle and he’ll need some more time to recover, Chiang tweets. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Herro is doing “everything he needs to do” to get back on the court.
  • Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis are helping the Wizards remain competitive during Bradley Beal‘s latest stint in the health and safety protocols, notes Tyler Byrum of NBC Sports Washington. Beal cleared the protocols Friday, but he didn’t play tonight and coach Wes Unseld Jr. said he will likely be held out of Sunday’s game.

Injury Updates: Beal, Bucks, Suns, Banchero, Lakers, More

Wizards guard Bradley Beal has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced. However, Beal will still miss Saturday’s game against Utah due to “return to competition reconditioning,” with further updates to be provided as he continues to inch closer to a return.

Beal has missed three games while in the protocols, with the Wizards going 2-1 without their star shooting guard. Through nine games, he’s averaging 21.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists on .517/.325/.917 shooting in 35.1 minutes per night.

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

  • Bucks stars Giannis Antetokounmpo (left knee soreness) and Jrue Holiday (right ankle sprain) were both ruled out for Friday’s loss to the Spurs, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Both players missed their second consecutive game for the league-leading Bucks, holders of a 10-2 record in the early going.
  • Similarly, Suns guard Chris Paul was ruled out for the second straight game Friday, in what turned out to be a loss to the Magic, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Fellow guard Landry Shamet (concussion symptoms) was also sidelined after scoring a season-high 16 points in Wednesday’s win over Minnesota. “We didn’t see anything. Just kind of jumped up on him last night. It just speaks to how complicated those things are. Can go for a while and not even know something is going on and then it just jumps up on you,” head coach Monty Williams said of Shamet (Twitter link via Rankin). For Orlando, No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero missed his second straight contest with a left ankle sprain.
  • The Lakers provided an update today on center Thomas Bryant and guard Dennis Schröder, both of whom are recovering from thumb surgery. They were evaluated this week and are said to be progressing well, and both players will be reevaluated next Thursday, as Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times relays (via Twitter).
  • Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 7 overall pick, has suffered a volar avulsion fracture to his right fifth finger, the Trail Blazers announced in a press release. He’s considered day-to-day going forward and is officially listed as questionable for Saturday’s contest at Dallas.
  • Nuggets guard Bones Hyland has entered the league’s health and safety protocols and was ruled out for Friday’s loss at Boston, Denver announced (via Twitter). Hyland is a key reserve for Denver, with averages of 14.0 points and 3.7 assists through nine games (20.7 minutes). He’ll need to pass some testing requirements before returning to action. The Nuggets play Sunday, Wednesday and Friday next week.
  • Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, was downgraded from questionable to out on Friday with left shin soreness, tweets Keith Langlois of On a positive note, wing Alec Burks made his 2022/23 season debut following foot surgery, scoring 17 points in 25 minutes during Detroit’s loss at New York.

Southeast Notes: Banchero, Bol, Hachimura, Cain, Time Change

Top pick Paolo Banchero is off to a terrific start for the Magic but he might miss a game for the first time on Wednesday. He’s questionable to play against Dallas due to a left ankle sprain, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets.

Banchero is averaging 23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for the 2-9 Magic, who already have a handful of players out due to injuries.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Bol Bol has emerged as a candidate for the league’s Most Improved Player award, Josh Cohen of the team’s website writes. The 22-year-old big man played in just 14 games for Denver last season but has seen action in all of the Magic‘s games this season, including six starts. He’s averaging 11.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per night. “I think there’s so much more that he can show, but the one thing that I really appreciate about him and what he’s done is he’s just accepted whatever we are asking him to do, and he does it willingly,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said. Bol, acquired from Boston last season, is on a two-year contract but his $2.2MM salary for next season is not guaranteed.
  • Rui Hachimura has looked more comfortable coming off the bench this season, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Wizards forward contributed 16 points in 26 minutes against Charlotte on Monday. For the season, he’s shooting 46.2% from the field. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer if the team extends a qualifying offer.
  • Miami rookie Jamal Cain is on a tw0-way contract and he will have to get used to bouncing back and forth between the NBA and G League, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel details. The Heat‘s G League team is in Sioux Falls. “It tests you mentally,” Caleb Martin said. “You might be going down and playing 30-plus minutes and you might be coming up and watching the whole game. It’s just a good way to keep your mind ready.”
  • Due to tropical storm Nicole, the Magic-Mavericks game on Wednesday has been moved up to 5:30 p.m. ET, the Magic’s PR department tweets.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Butler, Young, Murray, Banchero, Bol

The Heat stumbled a little out of the gate this season, losing five of their first seven games, including three of four at home. However, star swingman Jimmy Butler was unfazed by the team’s slow start, as he told Sam Amick of The Athletic.

“We’re still going to win the championship, and I don’t care what nobody says,” Butler said before the Heat beat Golden State on Tuesday. “Count us out. We’re going to win the f—ing championship. I’m telling you. I don’t give a damn that we started 2-5.”

While the Heat didn’t have much roster turnover this offseason, Butler said the team is still “different” this year, with P.J. Tucker gone and several players taking on new roles. According to Butler, some “growing pains” are to be expected.

“Y’all will look back at this, and be like, oh man, they started 2-5 and they ended the season f—ing 77-5,” he joked.

The Heat are 2-0 since Butler spoke to Amick, beating Sacramento on Wednesday without him in the lineup — he sat out due to left hip tightness.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hawks star Trae Young was scratched in the left eye during Wednesday’s win over New York, but doesn’t think he’ll miss any time due to the injury, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN relays. “I think I’ll be able to play through it,” Young said, noting that Atlanta doesn’t play again until Saturday. “It’s more just letting the swelling go down. … I’ll probably have to wear goggles or glasses for some games, but it’ll be all right.”
  • With Young banged up, Dejounte Murray enjoyed his best game since joining the Hawks, racking up 36 points, nine assists, and five steals in a 13-point win. As Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, Murray has been emerging as one of the team’s leaders despite having only played eight games with Atlanta so far.
  • In an appearance on teammate R.J. Hampton‘s podcast, Magic rookie forward Paolo Banchero said that he intends to represent Italy in international competitions, according to Orazio Cauchi of Banchero wasn’t born or raised in Italy, but is of Italian descent on his father’s side. “I’m planning to play for the Italian national team, I’m not sure when,” Banchero said. “I haven’t been out there yet, but man, the amount of love I’m getting from there it’s crazy, man. It’s crazy. I can’t wait to go to Italy.”
  • It came as a bit of a surprise when the Magic re-signed Bol Bol to a two-year contract with a guaranteed 2022/23 salary after acquiring him in what seemed to be a salary-dump deal at last season’s deadline, but the oft-injured big man has been playing and producing so far this season. Nekias Duncan of celebrates that fact and takes a closer look at the role Bol is playing in Orlando.

Southeast Notes: Bouknight, Magic, Banchero, Wizards

Hornets guard James Bouknight, who was arrested over the weekend for driving while impaired, was found unconscious in his car in a parking deck, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, via a WSOC TV report.

Police records state that Bouknight’s car was running and in drive when he was found, and the 22-year-old was holding a handgun. Officers attempted to wake him up using airhorns, a PA system, and lights, and when he eventually did come to, Bouknight allegedly seemed confused and refused to comply with officers, crashing into two patrol cars before eventually getting out of the car and being taken into custody.

Bouknight issued an apology to the Hornets and his teammates when he returned to practice earlier this week, per Kallie Cox and Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

“Honestly, I just wanted to apologize for being a distraction before the start of the season, for my teammates and for what we’ve got going on,” said Bouknight, who went scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting in 14 minutes during the team’s regular season opener in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • It may not be realistic to expect the Magic to make the playoffs this year, but the team at least needs to show real signs of progress to consider the 2022/23 season a success, argues Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel. “It’s been asked many times this offseason — ‘What’s next?'” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said. “I think this season is going to be a continuum from last season, but with that we want to start putting in what winning looks like — fewer mistakes, team orientation, being tied on a string defensively, elevating our standard as our team grows up so our players understand what winning is about.”
  • The Magic didn’t pick up a win in their season opener on Wednesday, but they had to be encouraged by the debut of No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, who racked up 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists in Detroit. As Jamal Collier of ESPN writes, even though he said he felt like he “left a lot of points on the board,” Banchero is the first NBA rookie to post a 25-5-5 line in his debut since LeBron James in 2003.
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington takes a look at what we learned about the Wizards‘ rotation based on their first game of the season. Notably, Delon Wright and Will Barton were part of the club’s closing lineup, Rui Hachimura was the first player off the bench, and rookie guard Johnny Davis was a DNP-CD.

Southeast Notes: Banchero, Goodwin, Bridges, Hunter, Oladipo

Paolo Banchero‘s rookie season begins in Detroit on Wednesday. The Magic forward knows he’ll have a target on his back as the top overall pick and he’s looking forward to the challenge, Marc Stein reports in a Substack post.

“Every guy on the opposite team knows who I am and probably wants to prove something and is probably going to test me — especially with me also being a rookie — and try to see what I’m made of,” Banchero said. “So the key is just being ready for it and accepting the challenge. That’s not something I back down from.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Guard Jordan Goodwin had his Exhibit 10 contract converted into a two-way deal by the Wizards over the weekend. He will try to live up to the contract by being messy — in a good way, as he told Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “[I’m] just a guy that can do a lot of things,” Goodwin said. “I think my main focus here is just going to be defensively. Try to come in and muck things up, make things a little messy. Just make the right play offensively, whether that’s shoot the ball or make the extra pass, screening.”
  • A preliminary hearing regarding Miles Bridges’ felony domestic violence case in Los Angeles was delayed for the seventh time Monday and moved to November 3, according to Michael Gordon of the Charlotte Observer. In the hearing, prosecutors will be required to produce evidence to show the Hornets free agent forward committed a crime. Bridges was arrested on June 29 and faces three felony domestic violence charges.
  • De’Andre Hunter got his rookie scale extension. Now, the Hawks forward wants to show he’s worthy of the four-year contract, which can be worth up to $95MM, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes. “I mean, it’s gonna be my home for the next four or five years, whatever,” Hunter said. “Like I said, I’m just grateful, thankful that they gave me the opportunity, that they have so much faith in me as a player, just trying to work my butt off and do what I need to do to become a better player for the team.”
  • The Heat’s Victor Oladipo (left knee tendinosis) and Omer Yurtseven (left ankle impingement) are listed as out for Wednesday’s opener against the Bulls, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets.