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.
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.