The Orlando-Detroit dust-up takes center stage in this week’s recap due to four of Michigan’s nine alumni in the NBA being involved. Two of the four were suspended, while one of the remaining two had a chance to prove himself because of it. Elsewhere, Jordan Poole continued to defy the odds and become a star.
Let’s see how each of the nine former Wolverines on NBA rosters did this week.
Note: All stats are as of Jan. 3.
Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors
Three more games, three more explosions for Poole. On Wednesday, Poole scored 26 despite a rough shooting night (2-for-10 from deep) against Utah. On Friday, Jordan put up his second 40+ point performance of the season, dropping 41 points with six assists and five rebounds at home against Portland. On Monday, he followed that up with a 28-point performance versus Atlanta.
Turnovers are starting to become an issue for Poole as he’s averaging 5.4 turnovers per game during the Warriors five-game winning streak. However, he’s also averaging 30.2 ppg during that same stretch so it’s hard to blame him.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks
Dallas managed to stretch its winning streak from four to seven games this week. In all three contests, Hardaway Jr. scored above his season average (13.8). Against Houston, he scored 18 points with four rebounds and three steals. He followed that up on Saturday in San Antonio with a 14-point performance in just 11 shots from the field. Lastly, on Monday in Houston again, Hardaway Jr. canned five threes in a 21-point showing.
He now sits fourth on the Mavericks in scoring, behind only Luka Doncic (34.3), Christian Wood (17.8), and Spencer Dinwiddie (16.1). THJ certainly has a defined role in Dallas and has been playing it to perfection of late.
Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic
Orlando crashed back down to Earth this week, having lost three in a row. On Wednesday in Detroit, Franz’s brother Moe instigated a dust-up that resulted in 11 suspensions. Franz received one game for leaving the bench area, which he served last night against Oklahoma City.
In the two games he did participate in this week, Franz scored 19 points with six rebounds and three assists against the aforementioned Pistons and put up 28 points with eight assists and four rebounds versus Washington. He has now scored in double-figures in 35 of the Magic’s 37 games.
Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers
Last week we talked about how LeVert’s minutes had been cut recently. This week, an injury to Darius Garland caused LeVert’s minutes and usage to explode. Caris played 35+ minutes in all three Cavaliers games this week. He played well on Thursday and Saturday, scoring 19 and 23 points, respectively, while stuffing the stat sheet outside of points.
However, he put up a clunker on Monday night against the Bulls. LeVert scored 10 points on 2-of-13 shooting from the field with five of his 10 points coming from the free throw line. Luckily, his ineffective shooting wasn’t needed thanks to Donovan Mitchell’s 71 points.
Moritz Wagner, Orlando Magic
Wagner’s only appearance this week was cut short due to a benches clearing skirmish between the Pistons and Magic. Chasing down an errant pass in the backcourt, Wagner hip-checked Detroit’s Killian Hayes unnecessarily. Wagner was then shoved by Hamidou Diallo and then punched in the back of the head by Hayes, knocking him unconscious temporarily.
Caution: graphic content below
Moe Wagner vs. Killian Hayes.— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 29, 2022
As a result of this incident, Moe picked up a two-game suspension. Wagner missed Orlando’s Friday night matchup due to an illness so he will begin serving his suspension this week.
Caleb Houstan, Orlando Magic
Houstan saw game action in both of Orlando’s matchups this week. Against the Pistons, he scored two points in 10 minutes. On Friday, however, Houstan was given 28 minutes of playing time due to all of Orlando’s suspension from the Pistons game. That’s the most minutes he’s seen since November 28th. Caleb shot 2-for-4 from deep and tallied eight points, two rebounds, and a block. I would expect his usage to go back to being minimal once Orlando’s full roster is available to play again.
Moussa Diabate, Los Angeles Clippers
Diabate remained in the G-League this week on the Ontario Clippers. However, he does appear to be one of the most talented players down there, so I would expect him back in Los Angeles before the end of the season.
Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat
After breaking the record for being the fastest player to 800 career three-pointers, Robinson then broke the Miami Heat franchise record for three-pointers in a career with 807 on Friday night in Denver. Having finally regained his shooting touch, Duncan was solidly back in a rotation spot with Miami.
Unfortunately, Robinson will now be out for a minimum of four weeks due to finger surgery on his right index finger. Apparently Duncan had injured his finger in late November and had been playing through the pain in hopes of a natural recovery but with no such luck.
Isaiah Livers, Detroit Pistons
Livers remained out this week due to a shoulder injury. He has not played since Dec. 1.