Caris LeVert appears well aware that good defense will go a long way toward securing the starting small forward spot.
“That’ll definitely be something I’m gonna have to lock in on. I have been locked in on it for the past couple of weeks, just knowing that I’m gonna have a big assignment every night on that end of the floor,” LeVert told reporters. “It’s something I look forward to and it’s something I like doing.”
Along with LeVert, third-year man Isaac Okoro is said to be under strong consideration to start. LeVert clearly has the edge in experience and offense.
“I think he’s a threat,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “You watch the way that teams play him, and people respect him because of his ability to score. He didn’t get a lot of looks early, but that didn’t stop him from making unselfish moves and unselfish plays. I think he finished with like three assists and could have like five or six if guys would have made the shot.
“I think from that standpoint, offensively, he did a really good job of fitting in, and still we’re learning where he can find his moments to attack. Then defensively I thought he did a great job. I thought he was active. He was in the right spots. He put pressure on the offense.”
Second-year guard Jalen Suggs suffered a left knee sprain and bone bruise and is out indefinitely, the team announced.
While Suggs’ return depends on how the injury responds to treatment, there’s a sense relief among the Magic that it wasn’t more serious, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Suggs, 21, is 6-foot-4 and averaged 11.8 points, 4.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds in 48 games as a rookie last season.
New coach Mike Brown indicated he is leaning toward Kevin Huerter as the Kings’ starter at shooting guard, ahead of Malik Monk and Terence Davis.
Starting power forward, however, appears to be a different story.
“The more I watch, I just think Kevin might be the right fit at that two-guard spot,” Brown said, via Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “But for me, right now, that power forward spot can be wide open.”
Candidates to start at power forward — KZ Okpala, Trey Lyles, Chimezie Metu and lottery pick Keegan Murray. Meanwhile, Harrison Barnes is expected to return to the small forward spot after playing some “stretch four” last season.
- Jordan White of SB Nation takes a look at the best and worst-case scenarios for Barnes this season. You can check out the full post here.
Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?
Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 32 teams!