Wizards center Ian Mahinmi has played an important role in recent games, serving as the team’s last remaining traditional center as Thomas Bryant and other players nurse various injuries, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes.
Mahinmi, who missed all of training camp and the first 19 games of the season due to an Achilles’ injury, has made a noticeable impact on both ends of the floor this month — much to the delight of his teammates.
“He’s been great the first couple of games. Just his presence, his activeness, his long arms, his altering shots at the rim,” Bradley Beal said, as relayed by Buckner. “He’s catching on the roll; he’s finishing. So he’s doing a lot of things that we kind of missed a lot. We didn’t have that rim protector in a way. He’s blocking shots. He’s altering shots at the rim. He’s rebounding.”
Mahinmi, a veteran 6-foot-11 center who spent time with the defensive-minded Pacers during several postseason runs from 2012-2016, is capable of providing solid production off the bench when healthy.
“He’s definitely a factor,” coach Scott Brooks said of Mahinmi. “When he’s healthy, he protects the rim, and we’re a better defensive team when he’s out there. Hopefully we can keep his minutes up at a good number and keep playing well. He’s going to definitely help us.”
Mahinmi’s presence will be needed going forward with Bryant rehabbing from a stress reaction in his foot and Moe Wagner dealing with a sore ankle. The Wizards have recorded just a 7-17 record through 24 contests, having upcoming games scheduled against the Pistons on Monday, Bulls on Wednesday and Raptors on Friday.
There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:
- The Magic plan to treat Al-Farouq Aminu‘s torn meniscus without surgery, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Aminu averaged 4.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 18 contests before suffering the injury, with the 29-year-old in his first season on the team.
- The Heat could wind up having a large presence at All-Star Weekend in February, Ira Winderman details for the Sun Sentinel. Winderman contends that both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo could make the All-Star team this season, with Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn (rookie challenge), Duncan Robinson (three-point contest), Derrick Jones Jr. (dunk contest) and Adebayo (skills competition) also being contenders for the festivities.
- The Heat could consider making a run at Thunder center Steven Adams via trade if the right dominoes fall, though this path seems unlikely for the time being, Winderman writes in his latest mailbag. Adams has two seasons left on his contract (due $25.8MM in 2019-20 and $27.5MM in 2020-21), with his contract running out just in time for the Heat’s anticipated mega free-agent chase in the summer of 2021.