Corey Kispert

Southeast Notes: Lowry, Robinson, Clifford, Davis

The Heat are trying to manage Kyle Lowry‘s knee issues and he’s trying to adjust to a second-unit role. Erik Spoelstra is seeing some benefits from Lowry coming off the bench, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes.

“We’re trying to figure this out, and it’s really more of a health issue than it is a performance issue or even strategy concern,” the Heat coach said. “Want to make sure that he continues to feel good and then we can hopefully scale more minutes. But what we saw the other night was one of those great benefits and luxuries of having a Hall of Fame point guard be able to organize that group.”

Lowry has averaged 19.5 minutes the last two games. The Heat have listed him as questionable for their game against Chicago on Saturday.

We have more Southeast Division tidbits:

  • Restoring Duncan Robinson to the Heat rotation is unlikely at this point, as Winderman explains in his latest mailbag. Robinson’s best shot at minutes would be to have Kevin Love and Gabe Vincent removed from the rotation, since Max Strus and Victor Oladipo are also fighting for playing time.
  • The Hornets have won only 22 games and they’re currently on a four-game losing streak, but coach Steve Clifford is still riding his players hard and warning them to not mentally check out the rest of the way, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer reports. “I want us to try to play to win,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of individual messaging with guys about what they can concentrate on. I don’t want to just play it out. I don’t want to do that. I don’t think that’s smart to do.” Clifford’s status beyond this season is questionable with Michael Jordan looking to sell his stake in the franchise.
  • Lottery pick Johnny Davis hasn’t impacted the Wizards’ season but he’s received some notable playing time in the last two games. He enjoyed his best game of the season against Detroit with 11 points and five rebounds in a 19-minute stint, Josh Robbins of The Athletic notes. “He’s just kind of found a rhythm on the court, off the court (and with) NBA life,” Corey Kispert said. “It’s all hard to adjust to. He kind of settled into his daily routine. When your headspace is right off the floor, then your game just kind of follows.”

Eastern Notes: Barnes, Bol, Kispert, Tucker

Raptors forward Scottie Barnes, last season’s Rookie of the Year, has sparked the team during its recent upswing, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star notes. Barnes has reached the 20-point mark in three of the last four games. Just as important, he’s been setting up his teammates. He had a combined 22 assists in those outings and is averaging 5.4 assists this month.

“He’s an offense creator and we need him to be that,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “That doesn’t mean shooting, that means creating shots for others and creating good movement for others.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Magic big man Bol Bol has returned to the rotation after being placed in the league’s health and safety protocols and sitting out five games, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel writes. “I’ve been feeling good so far,” said Bol, who played 18 minutes on Friday. “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I feel pretty fine, honestly.”
  • Wizards forward Corey Kispert has made half of his 3-point attempts over the last seven games and that’s forcing opponents to make adjustments, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Knicks limited him to four long-range attempts on Friday because of extra defensive attention. “I feel great, the best I’ve felt in my career shooting the ball for sure. I’m really, really happy with where my jump shot is,” Kispert said.
  • P.J. Tucker was the Sixers’ biggest offseason acquisition via the free agent market but he’s often benched during the fourth quarter. Tucker admits that the criticism he’s taken has been difficult, considering his limited offensive role, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. “Can you imagine playing 30 minutes and taking one shot? Maybe not shooting at all? And still having to guard the best player and do all the dirty stuff?” Tucker said.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Porzingis, Gafford, Hachimura

Appearing on the No Chill with Gilbert Arenas podcast, Wizards star Bradley Beal was asked by Arenas’ co-host Josiah Johnson about why he decided to sign a long-term contract to remain in D.C. this past summer. Beal responded by explaining that he appreciates the influence he has earned within the organization and believes in the talent on the roster.

“Not everybody gives you a voice in the organization. I have a voice here,” Beal said (hat tip to Paul Terrazzano Jr. of TalkBasket). “I never had a chance to fully play a year with (Kristaps Porzingis). That enticed me. He’s probably the best big I’ve played with. I like (Kyle Kuzma)’s ability to be able to spread his wings a little bit more, develop into the player that we think he can be. And then I think I like the young core that we were developing. Rui (Hachimura) is really good, had an awesome summer. Deni (Avdija)‘s just gonna continue to get better. And then Corey (Kispert)‘s a knockdown shooter, who is a pro’s pro.

“We still need to get better. I’m not sitting here saying, ‘We’re gonna hold up the Larry (O’Brien trophy). We’re going to beat Milwaukee (in the playoffs) tomorrow.’ No. But to have the pieces we have, we have enough to know that we can compete on a nightly basis with no BS. We know that we got a job, everybody’s able to be a star in their role, and we can go do that.”

It would have been hard for Beal to turn down the Wizards’ five-year, $251MM+ offer, which included a no-trade clause, in any scenario. But the star guard admitted that he didn’t actually have a ton of viable alternatives on the free agent market, alluding to the fact that many contending teams were in the tax, or at least well over the cap. The teams operating with cap space this summer were virtually all retooling or rebuilding clubs.

“On the flip side of it, the business side of it. There were no teams in the market, free agency-wise. I’m just being frank,” Beal said. “There was nowhere else for me to go where I can be like, ‘Oh, I can go win.’ It was teams that strategically wasn’t what I wanted. So realistically, I won’t say my hand was forced, but this was my best decision and best option on the table at the time.”

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • While you could gripe about some of his poorly timed late-game turnovers, Beal is otherwise off to a strong start in the first season of his mega-deal, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. As Hughes observes, Beal’s current streak of 11 consecutive 20-point games is already better than any run he had last season, and his shooting percentages (.520 FG%, .352 3PT%) have rebounded in a major way after a down year in 2021/22 (.451 FG%, .300 3PT%).
  • As Hughes notes in another story for NBC Sports Washington, Unseld used centers Kristaps Porzingis and Daniel Gafford together in the frontcourt on Friday for the first time all season. The move, an attempt to counter the impact that Charlotte’s duo of Mason Plumlee and Nick Richards was having on the boards and in the paint, was a success, with the Wizards outscoring the Hornets by 18 points during Porzingis’ and Gafford’s 12 minutes together. According to Hughes, the combination looks like an “in case of emergency” option for Unseld, but it could be worth trying more, given its effectiveness on Friday.
  • Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said on Friday that there’s no real timeline for Rui Hachimura‘s return from a bone bruise in his right ankle, referring to the fourth-year forward as “week-to-week,” according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link). Hachimura has missed the Wizards’ last seven games.

Corey Kispert To Make Regular Season Debut For Wizards Friday

Second-year wing Corey Kispert is set to make his 2022/23 regular season debut for the Wizards on Friday against Brooklyn, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. told reporters (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Athletic).

Kispert suffered a left ankle sprain when he stepped on an opponent’s foot during a preseason contest vs. Golden State in Japan early last month. He was expected to miss four-to-six weeks, so he’s on right on track with the early portion of that timeline.

Unseld said last week that the 23-year-old was “really close” to making his return to action after being a full participant in practice.

Viewed as one of the best shooters in the 2021 draft class, Kispert was selected 15th overall a year ago and appeared in 77 games as a rookie, averaging 8.2 PPG and 2.7 RPG in 23.4 MPG. He got off to a slow start, making just 28.6% of his three-point attempts through 35 games, but heated up in the second half, knocking down 37.6% of his tries in his final 42 games.

It seems likely that Kispert will be able to find a rotation spot right away, as reserve guard Delon Wright is currently sidelined with a hamstring strain and the team can certainly use Kispert’s shooting. The Wizards are now 4-4 after defeating the Sixers on Wednesday evening.

Wizards’ Delon Wright Out Indefinitely With Strained Hamstring

Wizards guard Delon Wright has been diagnosed with a grade two right hamstring strain and is out indefinitely, the team announced. He will be reevaluated in approximately three weeks.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), Wright is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks with the injury, which was sustained during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s victory over Detroit.

As Josh Robbins of The Athletic notes (via Twitter), losing Wright is a tough blow for the Wizards, as he’s been the team’s “most disruptive, most reliable defender” during a 3-1 start. Though four games (22.8 MPG), Wright is averaging 6.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists along with an eye-popping 2.8 steals and 1.0 block per night.

Aside from re-signing Bradley Beal, Wright was Washington’s primary free agent addition over the summer, inking a two-year, $16MM contract. The 30-year-old combo guard spent last season with the Hawks, but has also played for the Raptors, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Pistons and Kings since being drafted 20th overall in 2015.

On a positive note, second-year wing Corey Kispert (left ankle sprain) is “really close” to making his season debut after being a full participant in Thusday’s practice, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. told reporters (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). Kispert won’t be available for Friday’s game, but Sunday might be a possibility, per Hughes.

Kispert suffered the injury on October 2 during the team’s preseason trip to Japan and the Wizards said he’d miss four-to-six weeks. Sunday would be exactly four weeks, so it sounds like he’s progressing nicely.

Southeast Notes: Oladipo, Hayward, Kispert, Bol

Heat reserve guard Victor Oladipo, still dealing with left knee tendinosis, will miss at least the first seven contests of the 2022/23 season, as he will not be joining his Miami teammates on their upcoming three-game road trip, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Miami will next play at home on November 1 against the reigning champion Warriors. Oladipo, who has undergone two knee surgeries since 2019, signed a two-year, $18.2MM deal to remain with the Heat during the 2022 offseason.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • With several Hornets players missing games due to injuries and Miles Bridges unsigned due to legal issues, Charlotte is relying heavily on Gordon Hayward, writes Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (subscription required). Through three games, the injury-prone 6’7″ veteran small forward has responded well, averaging 19.3 PPG on .550/.300/.786 shooting splits. The 32-year-old vet is also chipping in 4.7 APG and 3.3 RPG.
  • Wizards small forward Corey Kispert, still rehabilitating from a left ankle sprain, has practiced with Washington’s G League affiliate club, the Capital City Go-Go, per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link). The No. 15 pick in the 2021 draft out of Gonzaga, Kispert averaged 8.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 1.1 APG across 77 games during his 2021/22 rookie campaign with Washington. The 23-year-old has yet to play for the 2-1 Wizards.
  • Magic forward/center Bol Bol is doing his darnedest to carve out a definitive role, despite limited run, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. For Orlando, the 22-year-old has appeared in 10+ minutes a night across four straight contests for the first time in his NBA career, according to Price. Bol, who boasts a 7’7″ wingspan, is averaging 10.0 PPG on 65.4% field goal shooting, along with 4.8 RPG, across 16 MPG. “It’s been very important for me because I feel like every game I’ve gotten better,” Bol said of his more consistent playing time.“I’m seeing stuff happen each game. The game’s starting to slow down the more I play.” 

Wizards Notes: Kispert, Beal, Davis, Rotation, Gortat

Wizards swingman Corey Kispert is out for four-to-six weeks with an ankle sprain, but he’s looking at the silver lining, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Kispert is grateful that the injury didn’t happen during a playoff push.

“Well, it’s not going to last forever, right? In the grand scheme of things, a sprained ankle is not the end of the world,” he said. “It’s been a tough last couple of days. Getting out of bed and moving around has been difficult, but I know I’ll be back sooner rather than later. Thankfully I’m not missing important games down the stretch. The preseason is important, but if I were to choose a time to miss, it’d be now.”

We have more from the Wizards:

  • Bradley Beal has always stayed loyal to the organization but he admitted on JJ Redick’s podcast (hat tip to Alex Kennedy of Basketball News) that he has pondered a trade request in the past. “I definitely gave it some thought; I’d be lying if I said I didn’t,” he said. However, Beal also saw the flip side that the team acquiring him would have to give up important pieces to land him.
  • With Kispert sidelined, lottery pick Johnny Davis could see some significant early action, Hughes notes, though the rookie is dealing with a minor knee injury. “That’s why the team has guys like me on the bench, to be able to step up,” Davis said.
  • On that subject, Josh Robbins of The Athletic examines how the rotation will shake out in light of Kispert’s injury. He doesn’t see Davis getting a lot of playing time, predicting that Beal will play around 36 minutes and Will Barton will eat up a majority of the minutes at small forward with Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija getting steady playing time off the bench.
  • Retired center Marcin Gortat has been helping out at camp as a temporary assistant coach. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. hinted he’d like Gortat to stick around beyond training camp if Gortat wants to make the time commitment, according to Hughes“As long as he wants to stay, I love it,” Unseld said.

Corey Kispert Out 4-6 Weeks With Sprained Ankle

Second-year swingman Corey Kispert will be sidelined for approximately four-to-six weeks due to a left ankle sprain, the Wizards announced today in a press release.

According to the team, Kispert sustained the injury when he stepped on an opponent’s foot during the first quarter of Sunday’s preseason contest vs. Golden State in Japan.

Viewed as one of the best shooters in the 2021 draft class, Kispert was selected 15th overall a year ago and appeared in 77 games as a rookie, averaging 8.2 PPG and 2.7 RPG in 23.4 MPG. He got off to a slow start, making just 28.6% of his three-point attempts through 35 games, but heated up in the second half, knocking down 37.6% of his tries in his final 42 games.

While Kispert shouldn’t miss a significant chunk of the season while recovering from the ankle injury, it’s a tough setback for a player who was looking to solidify his place in the Wizards’ rotation for opening night. The club will also miss his outside shooting, having ranked last in the NBA in 2021/22 in three-pointers made, notes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).

Kispert’s absence to open the season should create a path to expanded roles for players like Will Barton, Delon Wright, Deni Avdija, and Johnny Davis.

Wizards Notes: Japan Trip, Morris, Barton, Kispert, Hachimura

The Wizards enjoyed being part of the Japan Games, but the hardest part of the trip to Asia will occur when they return home, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The players will have to readjust their body clocks to East Coast time while preparing for a regular season that’s a little more than two weeks away. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said the medical staff has a plan to help the team handle the time change, and the players are confident they can deal with it.

“Of course, we have to do the right thing and try to get in a rhythm as soon as possible,” Kristaps Porziņģis said. “But we’re all young. We’re all athletes. And I think we’ll adjust back to D.C. time pretty quickly, and we have enough days until the next game also. So it shouldn’t be a problem. It shouldn’t be an excuse going forward.”

Even though Washington lost both games to the Warriors, Unseld was mostly happy with what he saw on the trip. The team’s starters looked much better Sunday as the Wizards built a 16-point fourth quarter lead that the end of the bench couldn’t hold.

“I’m pretty satisfied outside of those last eight minutes this afternoon of where we are,” Unseld said. “I thought we did a lot of good things today, but overall I think we’re in a pretty good spot as far as fast-tracking some of the areas of concern from last year. Defensively, I think we’re in a better spot with the hand activity, causing deflections. I think our ball movement has improved. We still struggle to make shots, and I think that’s just a rhythm thing. But we’re creating some good looks. So all-in-all, I think it’s been a solid week and a half.”

There’s more on the Wizards:

  • Monte Morris made his second straight start at point guard Sunday, indicating that he might have that role locked up despite an expected competition with Delon Wright, notes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Morris, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Nuggets, showed a polished midrange game and an ability to make shots in traffic, Hughes observes.
  • Will Barton, who was part of the same deal with Denver, made his preseason debut after missing the opener due to tightness in his lower back, Hughes adds. Corey Kispert was ruled out of Sunday’s game after suffering a sprained left ankle in the first quarter.
  • Rui Hachimura talks about the excitement of bringing the team to his home country in an interview with Kendra Andrews of ESPN’s “NBA Today” (video link).

Southeast Notes: Wizards, M. Williams, Fultz, Krejci, Korver

Josh Robbins of The Athletic takes a look at the Wizards‘ projected depth chart and rotation, predicting that former Nuggets Monte Morris and Will Barton will join Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, and Kristaps Porzingis in the starting five to open the season.

Assuming Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. decides to roll with a 10-man rotation to open the season, Robbins projects Delon Wright, Deni Avdija, Rui Hachimura, and Daniel Gafford to be part of the second unit, with either Corey Kispert or Johnny Davis slotting into the second backcourt spot.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Longtime Hornets forward Marvin Williams has rejoined the franchise in a basketball operations role, tweets Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. In his new position, Williams will assist with player programs and with player development off the court, according to Boone.
  • Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel spoke to Dr. David Lee, a local orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon, to get a sense of how long it might take Magic point guard Markelle Fultz to return from a fractured toe. Lee estimated that Fultz could potentially return to Orlando’s lineup in about four to eight weeks, which would be anywhere from mid-October to mid-November. However, the team hasn’t provided a specific recovery timeline.
  • Hawks head coach Nate McMillan liked what he saw from newly added guard Vit Krejci in the 22-year-old’s first practice with the team on Thursday. “He knows how to play,” McMillan said, per Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). “I think he has a high basketball IQ. We put him right out there. It was good to see him be available to play and practice with our guys today. So that was exciting.”
  • Although Kyle Korver is technically part of the Hawksfront office and not the coaching staff, he has been working with players – including Clint Capela and Jalen Johnson – on their shooting during training camp, as Williams writes in a full story for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required). “I’ve worked with him quite a few times actually,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “Kyle has helped me make a few adjustments in my shot. You know, having him around has helped a lot. He’s been helping a lot of these guys, giving them pointers and things they can work on, so it’s good.”