Monday, August 15, 2022

NBA Summer League: Pelicans rookie E.J. Liddell suffers torn ACL; Magic shut down No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero

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Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell slid all the way to the middle of the second round in last month’s 2022 NBA Draft, but he still has a chance to make the league with the New Orleans Pelicans. Unfortunately, that task got much harder on Monday when he suffered a torn ACL in a Summer League game against the Atlanta Hawks, the team announced Tuesday.

Liddell, who had returned to the game after a scary fall in the first quarter, went down awkwardly in the third quarter while trying to post up his defender. His foot slipped as he tried to plant, and his knee buckled as he fell. Liddell left the game for good and later underwent an MRI which revealed the extent of the injury. 

“It’s tough,” Pelicans coach Jarron Collins said. “We mentioned it the other day with Dyson [Daniels]. Injuries are part of the game. You don’t want to see anyone get injured out there.”

The Pelicans drafted Liddell 41st overall in June and earned an ‘A’ for the selection, especially after the forward fell to them in the second round despite possessing first-round talent.

Magic shut down Banchero

No. 1 overall Paolo Banchero put on a show in his first two Summer League games, averaging 20 points, six assists and five rebounds. That was apparently all the Magic needed to see, as they made the decision to shut Banchero down on Monday. He will not play in the remainder of their games in Vegas. 

“I want to give these other guys an opportunity to play, to kind of be able to show what they’re capable of doing,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “That’s the point of summer league, you know, give them a chance … an opportunity for these other guys to see what they’re capable of doing. And we’ve seen what Paolo was capable of doing.”

While it’s a bit disappointing we won’t get to see any more of Banchero, especially ahead of his matchup with Holmgren, the Magic’s decision is understandable. In addition to giving other players a chance, their decision will also ensure Banchero doesn’t suffer an injury in a meaningless game.   

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