Johnny Davis

Southeast Notes: J. Davis, Dawkins, Micic, Isaac

Wizards guard Johnny Davis has played in all three of the team’s games since the All-Star break, averaging 17.0 minutes in those contests. While that’s a modest role, it represents a significant uptick in minutes for the former 10th overall pick, who had averaged 7.9 MPG in 23 appearances prior to the break.

“It feels really good,” Davis said, per Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network. “I feel like I’ve been preparing myself and putting in the work for this opportunity. When I go out there, I just want to do what it takes to help my team win.”

While the sample size is small, Davis has underwhelmed offensively in those three games, making 3-of-15 shots (20.0%) from the floor and compiling more fouls (9) than points (6). The Wizards also have an atrocious -31.9 net rating during his 51 minutes on the floor. Still, interim head coach Brian Keefe suggested he’s encouraged by what he’s seen on defense from Davis, who is celebrating his 22nd birthday on Tuesday.

“I thought he was great,” Keefe said after Davis spent some time guarding Cavs stars Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland on Sunday. “He got caught with one foul when he went for the pump fake, but other than that, Johnny’s been great. The last three games, his defense has been great. His defensive rebounding has been great. He brings great energy. That’s kind of the role we envision for him. He’s been a positive on the defensive end.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Wizards general manager Will Dawkins spoke to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman about how his time in the Thunder’s front office prepared him for a larger role in Washington and the lessons he learned in Oklahoma City that he has taken with him to D.C.
  • Vasilije Micic didn’t play much in Oklahoma City this season as an NBA rookie, but he has taken on a rotation role since being sent to the Hornets in the Gordon Hayward trade and has made an impression on new head coach Steve Clifford, according to Eurohoops. “He’s a talented player,” Clifford said of the former EuroLeague MVP. “His awareness and feel for the game are really exceptional. There’s still newness to us. The more organized we get offensively, the better he’ll play.” Micic has averaged 9.7 points and 6.0 assists in 22.2 minutes per game for the Hornets, who have gone 5-1 since his debut for the club.
  • Magic forward Jonathan Isaac has been ruled out for Tuesday’s game vs. Brooklyn due to a left knee strain, but he’s relieved that his MRI showed no significant issues and thinks he could be back in action on Thursday, per Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter video link). “I’m definitely still a little sore, so just kind of taking it day by day there, but I don’t foresee this being a multiple-game injury,” Isaac said.

Southeast Notes: Miller, Curry, Wizards, Young

Rookie forward Brandon Miller is the main reason for optimism in Charlotte, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic, who suggests the Hornets should trade LaMelo Ball and build for the future around Miller.

Although Ball has better stats, Jones views Miller as having more overall impact because of his superior shooting combined with an ability to dribble and pass, along with his impact on defense. Jones sees Miller as a younger version of Paul George, which is a comparison that was made frequently when Miller was in college.

As Jones notes, injuries are the main concern for Ball, who signed a five-year extension last summer that will take effect in 2024/25. He has appeared in just 22 of Charlotte’s 56 games this season after being limited to 36 last year. Even so, Jones believes Ball has enough trade value to provide a nice return for the Hornets, who are also likely to land a top five pick in this year’s draft.

Jones believes Charlotte is headed in the right direction after bringing in Grant WilliamsSeth Curry, Vasilije Micić and Tre Mann at the trade deadline. Each of those players brings something valuable to the roster, Jones adds, and Mann has excelled since becoming the team’s starting point guard.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Curry was thrilled to be traded to his hometown Hornets, and have his father, Dell, as one of the team’s broadcasters, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. The whole family was together Friday night in San Francisco as Charlotte faced Stephen Curry‘s Warriors. “It’s special,” Seth Curry said. “When we are in the game, we are locked into the game, so it’s kind of like no different. But just to see him on the floor about to call the game and to see him afterwards it’s special. Because usually we only see him twice a year, four times a year or something like that. And for all three of us to be involved in one game, that’s history.” 
  • Interim coach Brian Keefe is experimenting with rotations for the Wizards, who dropped their 10th straight game Friday night, per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. During the final part of the season, she expects the team to see what it has in Patrick Baldwin Jr., who was acquired from Golden State last summer, Johnny Davis, a 2022 lottery pick who has never been able to earn consistent playing time, and Eugene Omoruyi, who’s currently on a two-way contract but may be a strong candidate for a standard deal.
  • Hawks guard Trae Young is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Orlando due to an injured finger on his left hand, tweets Lauren Williams of The Journal-Constitution.

Wizards Notes: Avdija, Coulibaly, Davis, Hampton

Wizards forward Deni Avdija might have turned a corner in his NBA career, highlighted by a career-high 43 points and season-high 15 rebounds on Wednesday against the Pelicans, Josh Robbins of The Athletic writes.

It’s a little emotional,” Avdija said. “I never thought that, coming to the league, seeing all those numbers, those big players score those points, [I would be] able to be that hot. All the hard work, the times that I was down or I didn’t have good games — and I was down on myself a lot of times — I [stuck] with it. I kept working hard, I kept being patient. I went through a lot. And for me, it’s only the start. I feel like I’m still getting better.

The Wizards have exercised patience with Avdija, the ninth overall pick in 2020. Robbins writes that while he hasn’t turned into a star like others selected after him — such as Tyrese Haliburton or Tyrese Maxey — he’s always been a versatile defensive player with secondary ball-handling upside.

But now, Avdija is improving at a rapid rate. As Robbins observes, he has been far better from three this season, shooting 40.5% from beyond the arc (up from 29.7% in 2022/23) and has also become a better driver and finisher at the rim. Interim head coach Brian Keefe is helping Avdija play to his strengths by increasing Washington’s pace of play, Robbins writes.

Avdija is averaging career highs of 13.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest this season. In his last four games, he has averaged 28.3 points and 11.5 rebounds.

We have more on the Wizards:

  • Rookie Bilal Coulibaly has been tasked with guarding some of the NBA’s top players as a teenager, and though the results fluctuate, he’s been impressive through his young career, Ava Wallace of The Washington Post writes (subscriber link). “He’s had his ups and downs like every other rookie, but I think he’s composed, he’s working hard, he knows what he needs to do on the court and he’s very decisive,” Avdija said. “He’s very confident for a rookie. That’s important.” Wallace writes that Coulibaly has impressive maturity for his age, due largely to his upbringing.
  • Selecting Johnny Davis over the likes of Jalen Williams, Jalen Duren and Mark Williams is looking like a major whiff for the Wizards, Zach Lowe of ESPN opines (Insider link). Davis has spent more time in his career in the G League than the NBA after being selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2022 draft. He’s averaging 2.3 points in only 8.0 minutes per game this season, and while it’s still early in his career, his playing time has only decreased in his second season.
  • After he was waived by the Heat, the Wizards’ G League affiliate acquired the rights to R.J. Hampton in exchange for the returning player rights to Trevion Williams and a 2024 first-round pick (Twitter link via the Capital City Go-Go). While his numbers were modest in eight games with Miami, Hampton showed some flashes and made a pair of starts. He averaged 11.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists in the G League with the Heat’s affiliate this season. With the Wizards waiving Delon Wright, they have just 13 players on standard contracts. All of Jules Bernard, Eugene Omoruyi and Jared Butler — Washington’s two-way players — have impressed in the G League. If Washington promotes one of them, Hampton could be a logical choice for a two-way.

Southeast Notes: Ingles, Magic, Rozier, Davis

In an interview with James Herbert of CBS Sports, Joe Ingles said he doesn’t mind being the elder statesman on a surprising young Magic squad.

Orlando gave Ingles a two-year, $22MM contract this summer to serve as a veteran leader, and he’s embraced that role both on and off the court. The 36-year-old has brought a winning mentality to a team with only one other player older than 26, and he’s become an important part of the rotation, averaging 5.0 points and 3.5 assists in 18.9 minutes per night while shooting 39.2% from three-point range.

“I’ve loved the role that I’ve got here,” Ingles said. “I’ve loved every minute of living here and the organization and the players and the coaches.”

Magic coach Jamahl Mosley understands the importance having a seasoned veteran on the roster, especially one who has been part of successful organizations. Mosley notes that Ingles is eager to speak up and share his perspectives with teammates.

“He’s absolutely great for this group,” Mosley said. “He keeps it real with these guys about the things that we’re doing, the things that they’re seeing, what he’s seen throughout the league. And, all jokes aside, he is all about winning. And whatever that means, if he plays eight minutes or he plays 18 minutes, he’s preached the same message to this group about what we need to do to become successful.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic players learned from last year’s slow start and were determined not to repeat it, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. While Paolo Banchero was establishing himself as the top rookie in the league last fall, Orlando stumbled out of the gate, posting a 5-20 record that left the team out of the playoff race by early December. “I remember clearly, in the summertime having dinners with [Mosley] and other players and talking about this exact situation,” Banchero said. “Start off well and try and get as many wins as you can in the first month or two just because you know how important those are later in the year.”
  • Terry Rozier is taking on more point guard duties for the Hornets while LaMelo Ball is sidelined with a right ankle strain, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Rozier is averaging a career-high 6.6 assists per game and recorded 13 last Thursday at Brooklyn. “Definitely just getting guys involved early, making sure they feel good,” Rozier said. “Finding guys in their spots, knowing fourth-quarter plays, having a meeting going into the game. So, it just changed in that aspect. But the main thing is winning, so that’s what we are trying to do.” 
  • Johnny Davis has a strained left calf and his condition will be reevaluated weekly, the Wizards announced (via Twitter).

Wizards Exercise 2024/25 Options On Kispert, Davis, Baldwin

The Wizards have exercised their 2024/25 options on Corey Kispert, Johnny Davis and Patrick Baldwin Jr., Ava Wallace of the Washington Post tweets.

The fourth-year option for Kispert is worth $5,705,887. It was expected he’d be retained, given that he has established himself as a steady scoring option. Kispert averaged 11.1 points last season and drained 42.4% of his 3-point attempts.

Davis had a disappointing rookie year but Washington wasn’t going to give up on a lottery pick that quickly. Davis, who made his season debut against Boston on Monday after recovering from a left elbow sprain, will make $5,291,160 in his third season.

Baldwin was a bit more of a question mark. He was included in the deal that brought Jordan Poole to Washington and sent Chris Paul to Golden State. Drafted with the No. 28 pick in 2022, Baldwin appeared in 31 regular season games with the Warriors last season and has seen spot duty thus far with Washington. He’ll receive a $2,448,840 salary in 2024/25.

The full list of rookie scale option decisions for ’24/25, which are due on Tuesday, can be found right here.

Southeast Notes: Davis, Rozier, Hayward, J. Johnson

Wizards guard Johnny Davis injured his left elbow on practice on Sunday and has been diagnosed with a sprain, per the team (Twitter link via Ava Wallace of The Washington Post). According to the Wizards, Davis is expected to be out for one or two weeks, so he may not be available when the team tips off its regular season on October 25.

The 2023/24 season is a big one for Davis, who appeared in only 28 games as a rookie and didn’t shoot the ball well (.386/.243/.519). The front office that drafted the former Wisconsin standout 10th overall in 2022 has since been overhauled, so the second-year guard will be looking to make a positive impression on the Wizards’ new decision-makers this season.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Terry Rozier set new career highs in points (21.1) and assists (5.1) per game last season, but he didn’t score efficiently and saw the Hornets take a step back from 43 wins in 2021/22 to just 27 victories in ’22/23. Referring to last season as a “reality check,” Rozier says he’s determined to help Charlotte get to the postseason and that he wants to be more of a leader and exude more positive energy in ’23/24, as Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer relays.
  • In a separate story for The Observer, Boone passes along a few Hornets notes, including some positive news on the injury front: Gordon Hayward (right foot discomfort) was a full participant in practice on Monday and appears on track to play in the team’s regular season opener, if not earlier.
  • Third-year forward Jalen Johnson has been one of the Hawks‘ most impressive players in training camp and the preseason, says Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required). Johnson improved defensively last season and has shown off his versatility on the offensive end this fall, Williams notes, averaging 4.0 assists per game in the preseason and making 60% of his three-point tries. After coming off the bench in 86 of his first 92 NBA games, Johnson is a good candidate to join Atlanta’s starting five this season — he has started three of four preseason contests.

Southeast Notes: J. Davis, Oubre, Champagnie, Martin

Second-year Wizards shooting guard Johnny Davis, the 10th pick out of Wisconsin in the 2022 draft, is hoping to make a bigger impact this year than he did as a rookie. While on a lottery-bound Washington team, Davis struggled to crack the club’s rotation for much of the year, ultimately averaging 5.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 1.0 APG in just 28 contests.

Now, Josh Robbins of The Athletic takes stock of how rival scouts feel about the 6’5″ swingman’s NBA future.

“He’s going to have a little bit more of an intense light on him this year just from an evaluation standpoint because the team’s shifted,” one scout said. “It’s not any of his fault or anything, but he’s going to have to prove that he’s ready to play this year quicker than maybe incrementally getting better and showing progress just because everyone’s going to be a little bit under the gun there.”

“In college, I think he was really competitive, really sure of himself, really assertive on the court,” another scout observed. “He got to his spots, got to situations where he could be impactful and effective. He competed on both ends. And certainly early on (in the NBA), it just seemed like for whatever reason, he didn’t have that same level of confidence, and that impacted him overall.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Rumored to be a suitor for the veteran forward, the Heat did not make a major push for the services of Kelly Oubre in free agency, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports (Twitter link). Oubre instead signed a minimum contract with the Sixers earlier this week. An athletic 6’7″ wing, Oubre averaged a career-best 20.3 PPG last season with the Hornets, along with 5.2 RPG, 1.4 SPG and 1.1 APG.
  • Heat training camp invitee Justin Champagnie is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Miami forward Caleb Martin as an unheralded twin wing making an outsized impact on a playoff hopeful, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Caleb Martin’s twin brother Cody Martin has firmly established himself as a key role player for the Hornets. Champagnie’s twin brother Julian Champagnie, meanwhile, is a developing talent with the Spurs. “We talk about basketball a lot,” Justin said of his brother. “He’ll come tell me about his, and I’ll tell him about mine.” The 6’6″ forward isn’t guaranteed a roster spot, but could force the Heat’s hand with a strong training camp and preseason. “It’s good knowing you actually have an opportunity to make the team or get a two-way, to kick-start your career,” Champagnie said. “And that makes you work harder.”
  • In case you missed it, trade talks between the Heat and Trail Blazers for Portland All-Star Damian Lillard remain at something of an impasse.

Southeast Notes: Strus, Hawks, Davis, Leonsis

Max Strus‘ 31-point explosion, including seven 3-pointers, in the Heat‘s play-in victory over Chicago on Friday came at an opportune time in his career. Strus will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

That fact didn’t escape Heat teammate Jimmy Butler, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “Honestly speaking, I think Max made himself a lot of money tonight,” Butler said.

The Heat can exceed the cap to re-sign Strus up to his maximum salary because they hold his Bird rights. Comparable shooter Joe Harris signed a four-year, $72MM contract with the Nets in the 2020 offseason, Chiang notes. Strus’ teammate Duncan Robinson received a five-year, $90MM deal in 2021.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks were down by 30 at halftime of their 13-point loss to Boston in Game 1. They’ll have to improve greatly to make it a series but coach Quin Snyder was encouraged by his team’s second-half effort. “The mental toughness to win a series in this league is significant,” Snyder said, per Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. “We have to demonstrate that, and I think we did.”
  • Wizards guard Johnny Davis didn’t resemble a lottery pick most of his rookie season and spent a good portion of it in the G League. However, there were some encouraging signs after the All-Star break, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post notes. In the 13 NBA games Davis played before the All-Star break, he averaged 1.2 points in 4.7 minutes. In the 15 games he played after the break, he averaged 9.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 24.1 minutes. “Definitely a lot of ups and downs,” Davis said.
  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis needs to turn up the heat on front executives, the coaching staff and his star players, David Aldridge of The Athletic opines. Leonsis must hold everyone accountable as the franchise continues to wallow in mediocrity. GM Tommy Sheppard and coach Wes Unseld Jr. need to produce results next season or else lose their jobs, Aldridge adds.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Kuzma, Davis, Tanking

Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma didn’t play on Sunday and the Wizards’ high-scoring duo may be shut down the remainder of the season.

Beal has a mild left knee sprain, while Kuzma is nursing a sprained right ankle. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said he “hopes” they return this season, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post tweets. However, the Wizards are now tied with the Pacers and 3.5 games behind the Bulls for the final play-in spot, so it may not make sense to play the duo again.

We have more on the Wizards:

  • Without Beal and Kuzma, as well as point guard Monte Morris, the Wizards fell to the Raptors 114-104. That ensured the team would finish with a losing record for the fifth consecutive season. Kristaps Porzingis admits that without those players, the team is in a tough spot. “Those guys (Toronto) right now are a level higher. Us without our main guys, it’s different,” Porzingis told Wallace. “Difficult task.”
  • The play of lottery pick Johnny Davis was a bright spot on Sunday, Wallace noted in the same story. He scored a career-best 15 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. “I feel like I just needed to see one go down,” Davis said. “It’s been a while since I hit a three. So once I saw that first one go, it just built up my confidence to be able to take and make open shots.”
  • The best thing for the Wizards’ long-term outlook would be to have the losses pile up the rest of the way, David Aldridge of The Athletic opines. The team needs another impact player and its best hope of getting one would be to have some lottery luck.

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.”