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Pro Blue Hoops: The rookies are back on NBA rosters

Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin have struggled to stay healthy and produce thus far, but are they turning a corner?

Philadelphia 76ers v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Franz Wagner returned from the injured list this week to lead the Michigan contingent in the NBA. Unfortunately, he was replaced on the injured list by Caris LeVert, who picked up a knock of his own. Elsewhere, the rookies might (very) slowly but surely be finding their footing.

Here’s how each of the former Wolverines in the NBA fared this week.

Franz Wagner, F, Orlando Magic

20.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 3.9 APG in 35 games

Fortunately, Wagner returned from his injury on Sunday against the Heat. In 28 minutes, he logged 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting with five assists to boot. The Magic are certainly happy to have their second-leading scorer back in action as they returned to the win column against Miami.

Tim Hardaway Jr., G, Dallas Mavericks

18.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 APG in 39 games

Hardaway Jr. and the Mavericks have only had one game in the last week, as their Friday matchup with Golden State was canceled due to the sudden death of Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic. In Dallas’s sole matchup on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, they fell to the Lakers, 127-110, and Hardaway struggled to get going. He scored 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting and 0-for-7 from three. Dallas currently sits sixth in the Western Conference.

Duncan Robinson, F, Miami Heat

13.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.0 APG in 41 games

Robinson’s Heat struggled this week, going 0-3. He put up solid performances against the Raptors (14 points and three rebounds) and the Hawks (14 points and two rebounds). However, he struggled in Orlando as he scored just six points with four of those coming from the charity stripe. On Friday, he tweaked his ankle during shootaround but he was able to play through it.

Jordan Poole, G, Washington Wizards

16.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.5 APG in 41 games

Poole started the week out hot with 24- and 16-point performances against the Knicks and Spurs, respectively. Unfortunately, things fell apart against the Nuggets on Sunday when he scored just four points in 28 minutes. This snapped a seven-game streak of scoring in double-digits. The Wizards continue to be thankful the Detroit Pistons exist so no one notices how abysmal they have been this year at 7-35.

Caris LeVert, G, Cleveland Cavaliers

16.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.1 APG in 31 games

LeVert’s Cavaliers absolutely demolished the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, 135-95. He played 22 minutes but was mostly ineffective with just four points, four assists and three rebounds. Sadly, he picked up a wrist injury and missed Cleveland’s next game.

Moritz Wagner, C, Orlando Magic

11.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.3 APG in 41 games

As we mentioned last week, Moe appears to have fallen out of the rotation. However, he’s still making his minutes count when he gets on the floor. He played just six minutes on Friday, but picked up four points and two rebounds. Then on Sunday, his minutes nearly doubled to 11 and he put up eight points and four rebounds. It may not have been splashy, but a path back into the rotation exists.

Isaiah Livers, F, Washington Wizards

5.0 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.1 APG in 23 games

Livers has yet to play for the Wizards since he was traded there.

Moussa Diabate, F, Los Angeles Clippers

2.7 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.4 APG in 10 games

Diabate has yet to return from his hand fracture.

Caleb Houstan, F, Orlando Magic

5.1 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.7 APG in 34 games

As Orlando got healthy, Houstan understandably had his minutes slashed. In three games this week, he played 15 or fewer minutes in each contest after having played 21+ in the prior seven games. On Wednesday in Atlanta, he shot just 1-for-7 for three points. He then went scoreless on Friday against Philadelphia and on Sunday against Miami.

Jett Howard, G, Orlando Magic

1.8 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.5 APG in 11 games

We had a Jett Howard sighting in Orlando this week! He appeared in two contests for three minutes each. He canned a three-pointer on Friday night and ended with his second-highest scoring game of his career at five points. On Sunday, he scored one point, grabbed a rebound and blocked his first NBA shot.

Kobe Bufkin, G, Atlanta Hawks

0.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.0 APG in 2 games

Bufkin continued to thrive in the G League this week before he was recalled to the NBA on Saturday. He has yet to make an appearance since being recalled, but it could be any day now. Stay tuned.