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Pro Blue: Franz Wagner heats up for Orlando Magic

Injuries and stars returning from injuries were the name of the game.

Orlando Magic v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

It was a bit of a rough week for the Michigan alumni in the NBA as only two of the nine remain starters.

Two former starters returned to their roles on their respective second units due to the return of some injured stars. In addition, two of nine remain out with injuries. However, the performances of those who are active have still remained respectable to say the least.

Let’s see how each of the nine former Wolverines on NBA rosters did this week.

Note: All stats are as of Jan. 10.

Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors

Golden State suddenly went cold this week. Detroit snapped the Warriors’ five game winning streak and started an ongoing, three game losing streak. Steph Curry rejoined the Warriors, snapping Poole’s streak of 17 consecutive starts. However, Poole didn’t see a decline in his play and only a marginal decline in minutes.

In the Warriors three losses this week, Poole had at least 21 points, six assists, and four rebounds in every single game. In the month of January, Jordan is now shooting 38.5% from the field, 27.5% from three, and 85.2% from the free throw line. It will be interesting to see how Poole acclimates to returning to the second unit.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks

Dallas crammed four games into this week. Hardaway saw extended playing time in every one of them, averaging over 35 minutes per game. Tim struggled against Boston on Thursday, scoring just eight points on 2-for-11 shooting in 37 minutes. However, he bounced back in the remaining three games, scoring 16 or more points in each while being very efficient from the floor. He has now scored 14 or more points in five of his last six games.

Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic

The Magic alternated wins and losses in their four matchups this week. Franz proved he can be an effective scorer in this league by scoring 22, 24, 16, and 29 points respectively this week. While he has seen a statistical decline in every other major category in January, his scoring continues to climb. He has now scored 20+ points in four of his last five games as well as six of his last nine. He is only one point per game away from catching Paolo Banchero for the team’s leading scorer title, for whatever that’s worth.

Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers

Similar to Jordan Poole’s situation, with Donovan Mitchell missing a few games, LeVert slid into a starting role and exceeded. Last Wednesday, Caris played 38 minutes while scoring 21 points in just 11 shots. That kind of efficiency was sorely needed by the Cavaliers. He followed that up with a 22 point performance at Denver.

Upon Mitchell’s return, LeVert headed back to the bench where his scoring saw an expected dip (13 against Phoenix and 12 at Utah). However, he will look to regain his role as the leader of the second unit in Cleveland. In his last five games, he’s shooting over 43% from deep.

Moritz Wagner, Orlando Magic

Wagner returned from both his suspension and his illness this week by coming off the bench for Orlando. In each of his three appearances, he played roughly 17 minutes while averaging 9.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 1.3 apg. Hopefully he can regain his spot in the starting lineup soon as it’s clear Orlando plans to ease him back into action. You’d hate to see the skirmish in Detroit derail what has been his most promising season to date.

Caleb Houstan, Orlando Magic

Caleb was given another chance at meaningful minutes this week due to Orlando’s suspensions/injury issues. On Wednesday against the Thunder, Houstan played 28 minutes and tallied double-digit points for just the second time this season (11). He shot a respectable 3-for-7 from deep. After Wednesday, Houstan was returned to the bench and played in mostly mop-up duty in the remaining four Magic games this week. It would not be a surprise to see another G-League stint in the near future.

Moussa Diabate, Los Angeles Clippers

Diabate remained in the G-League this week on the Ontario Clippers. He is averaging 18.2 ppg, 11.7 rpg, and 2.2 apg in his last six appearances for Ontario.

Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat

Robinson remained out this week due to a finger injury. There is no timetable for his return at this time.

Isaiah Livers, Detroit Pistons

Livers remained out this week due to a shoulder injury. He has not played since Dec. 1.