Jamahl Mosley: Jalen Suggs can learn from early foul trouble

Suggs logged just 14 minutes on Friday after getting into early foul trouble in a win over the Rockets.

Orlando Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley on Friday said the early foul trouble Jalen Suggs experienced versus the Houston Rockets can be a strong learning moment for the fifth pick.

Suggs picked up three fouls within the first three minutes of action during the 119-111 win. He was first whistled for an offensive foul and then had two come on the defensive end of the floor just seconds later, prompting Mosley to sub him out of the game.

He eventually fouled out with 4:44 left in the fourth quarter.

The former Gonzaga standout has proven to be a strong defender at the guard position. He has dazzled at times with his ability to play the passing lanes and keep his matchup in front of him.

Mosley said Suggs will need to find a balance in those situations.

I think those are big moments. We’ll watch film tomorrow, go back and look at certain situations and the time and understanding when your aggression is necessary and when it’s not. You don’t want to take that away from that young man because that is part of what makes him, him. But understanding when, where and how you want to be able to defend the ball the right way, whether your active hands and knowing when to do that.

Suggs finished with three points, one rebound and one steal in 14 minutes of action. The three points by Suggs were his second-lowest output of the season, behind his one-point outing on Feb. 8 when he left early because of an Achilles injury.

While the outing was short-lived, Suggs had perhaps the play of the game. Early in the second quarter, Suggs swiped the ball from the Rockets and found himself in a one-man fastbreak situation. He slowed down, then threw the ball off the backboard to himself and slammed it in.

The Magic have often said this season is about learning experiences for their young players, and the contest on Friday proved to be no different for Suggs. He will be able to correct the mistakes made and apply that to future games this season.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green ranked on ESPN top 100 player list for 2021-22

The first 50 players were unveiled with Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green the two lone rookies on the list.

Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham and Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green were each ranked on ESPN’s top 100 NBA players list for the 2021-22 season.

The list, which was released on Tuesday, used feedback from their reporters and analysts to rank the players. The first 50 players were unveiled on the initial posting with Cunningham checking in at No. 76 and Green at No. 96 as the two lone rookies on the list.

Cunningham logged three appearances with the Pistons in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He wrapped up his stay after recording his best game with 24 points and seven rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.

The summary of Cunningham ranking 76th by ESPN:

How will Detroit use him? Cunningham’s versatility, on-court maturity and skill level make him a favorite for Rookie of the Year. Along with his ability to add value from beyond the arc (50% at summer league) and make the right reads offensively, it’s worth watching just how long the Pistons will try to pair him with last year’s top-10 pick Killian Hayes.

On the other hand, Green was named to the all-summer league second team after averaging 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and two assists. He was limited to three games after suffering a hamstring injury but impressed on the court prior to having his run in Las Vegas cut short.

The excerpt on Green sneaking into the top 100:

Given his immense talent and opportunity on a young Rockets team, expect Jalen Green to lead all rookies in scoring and make a strong case for Rookie of the Year, similarly to Anthony Edwards a season ago. Keep an eye on how quickly the explosive 6-foot-6 guard is able to impact winning on both ends, along with his efficiency.

Cunningham and Green project to be the front-runners to win Rookie of the Year and likely why they were the lone two first-year players ranked by ESPN. While they gave Cunningham the edge over Green on this list, they chose Green to win Rookie of the Year over Cunningham.

With training camp set to begin next week, we will soon have a better idea of how some rookies will make the transition to their respective new teams, including Cunningham and Green.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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Former Ignite prospect Kai Sotto signs with Adelaide 36ers of NBL

Sotto, a 7-foot-2 center from the Philippines, signed a multi-year contract with the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League.

Four-star prospect Kai Sotto has signed a multi-year contract with the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League in Australia, the team announced.

The news was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Sotto, a 7-foot-2 center from the Philippines, previously signed with the NBA G League Ignite and was among the prospects set to play this season. He trained with the Ignite in California but never appeared in a game due to prior obligations with the Philippines national team.

The 18-year-old became the first international player to sign a contract with the G League in May 2020. He trained for much of 2019 at The Skill Factory in Georgia after playing in various international tournaments, including the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.

Sotto will join Adelaide later this year for preseason training.

Sotto will join the likes of LaMelo Ball, R.J. Hampton and others that spent a season in the NBL in order to prepare for the NBA draft. He would be draft-eligible in 2022 and would become the first player selected from the Philippines.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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Hornets’ LaMelo Ball cleared to resume individual basketball activity

The Hornets on Monday announced that Ball has been cleared to return to individual basketball activity.

On Monday, the Charlotte Hornets announced that rookie LaMelo Ball has been cleared to return to individual basketball activity after a CT scan confirmed his fractured right wrist has fully healed.

Ball underwent surgery on March 23 and has missed the last 15 games for the Hornets. He was initially expected to miss the rest of the season but the organization later announced that Ball would be re-evaluated in four weeks following the surgery.

The Hornets said the cast on Ball’s wrist was removed and, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, there is optimism within the organization that he could be ready to return to the lineup in 7-10 days.

Prior to the injury, Ball had been named the starting point guard and was likely going to remain a starter for the duration of the season. Without Ball, the Hornets have posted an 8-7 record as the team currently sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Ball, through 41 games played, is averaging 15.9 points, 6.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals with the Hornets. Despite not playing since March 20, Ball still ranks second in total scoring and assists among all rookie players.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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Wizards at Raptors: Lineups, injury reports and broadcast info for Monday

All you need to know ahead of Monday’s Wizards-Raptors game.

Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards visit Gary Trent Jr. and the Toronto Raptors on Monday night, and if you’re wondering how you can watch the action live, you’ve come to the right place.

The Raptors (19-30) just snapped a four-game losing streak with a dominant 53-point blowout of the Golden State Warriors on Friday. The Wizards (17-31) are hoping to stop a three-game slide, but are 0-1 against the Raptors this season.

Here’s when you should tune in to see the game:

  • Date: Monday, Apr. 5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (WSH) and Sportsnet (TOR)

READ: The 101 greatest nicknames in NBA history

Injury Report:

Washington: Bradley Beal (right hip) and Rui Hachimura (right shoulder tightness) are questionable. Thomas Bryant (ACL) and Daniel Gafford (right ankle) are out.

Toronto: Fred VanVleet (left hip strain) is questionable. Jalen Harris (right hip), Rodney Hood (right hip), Kyle Lowry (right foot), Patrick McCaw (left knee) and Paul Watson (health and safety protocol) are out.

Probable starting lineups

Washington Wizards

  • F Deni Avdija
  • F Rui Hachimura
  • C Alex Len
  • G Bradley Beal
  • G Russell Westbrook

Toronto Raptors

  • F OG Anunoby
  • F Pascal Siakam
  • C Chris Boucher
  • G Gary Trent Jr.
  • G Fred VanVleet

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4 Rookies we want to see in the 2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

These NBA rookies could steal the show in the NBA Dunk Contest.

With the recent announcement of the captains and starters for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on Thursday, that only means one thing: the announcement for the 2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest participants are looming.

The typical All-Star Saturday Night festivities will take place on Sunday, March 7th along with the All-Star Game. The Skills Competition and Three Point Competition will happen prior to the game and the Slam Dunk Contest will be at halftime, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Derrick Jones Jr., who represented the Heat in 2020 and is now with the Blazers, is the reigning Dunk Contest champion, after beating Aaron Gordon in the finals last year. It remains to be seen if either player returns to the Dunk Contest – but a few members of the 2020 rookie class have shown plenty of bounce and intrigue to put on a show come halftime on March 7th.

Celtics’ Payton Pritchard to miss at least 2 weeks with knee injury

Pritchard suffered the injury during the first quarter on Friday when Jaylen Brown appeared to crash into his right leg.

Boston Celtics rookie Payton Pritchard will miss at least the next two weeks with a right knee injury suffered Friday night versus the Philadelphia 76ers, the team announced on Saturday.

Pritchard suffered the injury during the first quarter when teammate Jaylen Brown appeared to crash into his right leg. He had to be helped off of the court by the team medical staff following the incident and was unable to put any weight on his leg.

The Celtics said on Saturday that an MRI revealed a Grade I sprain of his MCL and that he is expected to return to on-court activities in approximately two weeks.

The 26th overall pick this season has emerged as a key player off the bench for the Celtics, averaging 7.7 points, 2.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds on 42.5% shooting from 3-point range. Pritchard ranks 12th in scoring among qualified rookies and sixth in 3-point percentage.

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‘He’s built for this’: Magic confident Cole Anthony can step in for Fultz

Magic point guard Markelle Fultz will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, but the team is confident Cole Anthony can fill his role.

Orlando Magic rookie Cole Anthony has played mostly a sixth man role off the bench to this point of the season, but that figures to change following the news that surfaced on Wednesday night.

The Magic announced following a 105-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers that starting point guard Markelle Fultz suffered a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Fultz attempted to plant on his left knee early in the first quarter but, instead, his leg gave out and he went crashing onto the court. He was carted off back to the locker room in a wheelchair and immediately underwent an MRI.

The news immediately sent shockwaves throughout the team and the rest of the NBA.

Of course, Fultz played just 33 games over the first two years of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers due to a shoulder injury. He had finally been healthy, appearing in 72 games last season with the Magic while averaging 12.1 points per game. He started off this season on track to have his best year yet but will now miss the remainder of it, seemingly, as quickly as it started.

Following the game, teammate Terrence Ross was shocked to hear the prognosis of Fultz and was initially speechless during his press conference with reporters.

“I mean, it sucks. It’s not good news,” Ross said. “But if anybody can handle this, it’s ‘Kelle. He has the heart of a lion. He’s super talented, always positive. I know he’ll be able to handle this. We all got his back, we will all be here for him. You hate to see this, especially for a guy who already fought through so much and came back and was ballin’ and now this. It’s just one of those things, it’s going to make him stronger. He is going to come back from that, I have no doubt.”

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In place of Fultz, the Magic turned to Anthony, who produced eight points, four assists and three assists in a season-high 32 minutes of work. The increased workload will certainly be a precursor of things to come with Fultz now out.

Anthony had only played over 30 minutes once this season prior to Wednesday night — a blowout loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on New Year’s Eve. He was typically among the first players off the bench and performed well in that role but will now be thrown into the fire and play an extensive role for a team that has started off with a 6-2 record and is second in the Eastern Conference.

Despite being only eight games into his NBA career, his Magic teammates are confident that Anthony will be able to rise to the occasion in place of Fultz.

“He is built for this,” Ross said. “He is not shy of any moment. He’s a tough kid. He is improving really fast. He is picking everything up. It’s going to take some time but you gotta go through it. That’s how everybody goes through it when they first get into the league. They gotta figure out where they are, figure out how they can contribute every single night. It’s going to help him grow up a little faster. It’s all about how he handles it but I think he will do well.”

Unfortunately, Anthony is in the midst of a brutal offensive slump. He is converting on 30.3% of his shots from the field, including 19% from 3-point range. When asked if he feels prepared to take over for Fultz, Anthony said he is ready but playfully added that it would help if he could start making a shot or two on the court.

Despite the offensive woes, Anthony has managed to stay productive on the court due to his defensive activity and ability to make plays. Anthony has drawn four charges this season, which is tied for third-most in the NBA, while he is also seventh in charges drawn per game. He earned praise from Magic head coach Steve Clifford for his defensive activity and willingness to seek contact on that end of the floor.

That, as Anthony said after the game, is completely by design.

“I compete so, I mean, I take it personal when I see someone who is trying to get a bucket on me,” Anthony said. “I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening. In turn, that is going to help the team. They see that if I set the tone by pressuring my defender, that is going to make them want to go pressure their defender, too. It’s a chain reaction. As a team, we just get better defensive like that so I’m going to do everything I can on my part to do that.”

The loss of Fultz will undoubtedly hurt the Magic this season, and further test their depth.

The team is already dealing with injuries to Evan Fournier and Michael Carter-Williams in the backcourt, and the Fultz news further exacerbates that issue. Anthony will certainly have his fair share of growing pains, but the team is confident that Anthony can step in and help immediately.

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Watch: Celtics’ Payton Pritchard erupts for career-high 23 points

His 23 points are the most scored by a rookie in a game this season, topping the 22 points that LaMelo Ball scored on Dec. 30.

Payton Pritchard on Monday night dropped a career-high 23 points to help lead the Boston Celtics to a 126-114 victory on the road over the Toronto Raptors in Tampa, Florida.

Pritchard dished out a career-high eight assists while he finished by shooting 8-of-13 from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. His 23 points are the most scored by a rookie in a game this season, topping the 22 points LaMelo Ball scored on Dec. 30.

The 26th overall pick scored 11 points in the first half off the bench to help the Celtics erase an early 13-point lead by the Raptors. Pritchard proved to be effective running the offense and often got his teammates involved in the action, as evidence by his team-high eight assists.

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Pritchard has given the Celtics a nice spark off the bench this season and that was once again the case on Monday. He has had a few inconsistent outings but has the ability to come into games and take over and add energy when needed.

Based on his play this season, Pritchard has made a strong case to be the starting point guard until Kemba Walker returns from injury. The team may prefer his energy and offense off the bench but he has at least given head coach Brad Stevens something to seriously consider.

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