The Mavericks just cannot catch a break Friday. Starting center Andrew Bogut is away from the team dealing with a personal issue. Swingman Wesley Matthews exited the game earlier with a knee injury. Now, losing Nowitzki is obviously the biggest blow. If the veteran face of the franchise is out for any extended period, it could be incredibly costly.
Warren has seen a significant increase statistically in each of his first three seasons. While the addition of rookie small forward Josh Jackson, the No. 4 overall pick, put Warren's role with the club going forward in question, Monday's contract extension is cause for optimism. However, it is hard to envision him seeing much more than the 31.0 minutes per game he saw last season, so it remains to be seen if he can build on the 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2. steals, and 0.6 blocks he averaged. Still, the 24-year-old looks to be part of the Suns' plans for the future.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said on Monday at media day that the team continues to stay in touch with Morris and they remain hopeful that he'll be able to join the team following the conclusion of the trial. That means he won't be present for the start of training camp and could also miss some regular-season time depending on the result of the trial and/or a suspension by the league itself. Continue to monitor the situation moving forward, but if Morris does end up missing time to start the year, the Celtics could shift Gordon Hayward over to power forward and insert someone like Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum into the starting lineup at small forward. Otherwise, if the Celtics want to go a bit bigger, they could move Al Horford to power forward and use Aron Baynes as a starter at center.
While it hadn't been said aloud until Monday, the belief all along was that Parker and Bucks were targeting a return sometime near the All-Star break, which would give the forward slightly more than a calendar year to recover from his second torn ACL. Considering Parker's history, both sides will likely stress caution, and it's possible that Parker could face minutes limitations for several games upon his return. In Parker's absence, expect Mirza Teletovic, Thon Maker and Tony Snell to spend increased time at power forward, as was the case over the second half of last season. Prior to sustaining the injury, Parker had compiled averages of 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game in 51 contests.
This is just further confirmation that Vonleh will sit out training camp, as well as the first two weeks of the season. Once healthy, Vonleh will battle for minutes at power forward, but with the likes of Maruice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan all battling for minutes at the position as well, it could be tough for Vonleh to even match the 17.1 minutes per game he averaged a season ago.
It was reported back in June that Davis had been cleared for on-court work and that he expected to be ready for training camp, so this latest news regarding Davis' availability for training camp comes as no surprise. Davis indicated during his media session that he wants to battle for the starting power forward role, though the likes of Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, Noah Vonleh and Zach Collins could all have something to say about that. Davis should also see plenty of time at center as a reserve option behind starter Jusuf Nurkic.
Lopez, who was dealt from the Nets to the Lakers this offseason, is not necessarily getting off to the best start with his new organization, as he's already dealing with back spasms. While both Lopez and coach Luke Walton expect him to take part in training camp, Lopez will start out as a limited participant and then be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. Still, it doesn't appear Lopez is in danger of missing any regular-season action and he's expected to open the season as the starting centerr, though it will be a situation to monitor moving forward. If Lopez does miss any time, Ivica Zubac would likely be the main beneficiary.
Pondexter, who was traded from the Pelicans to the Bulls at the end of August, appears to finally be healthy after multiple knee injuries costed him his last two seasons entirely. The fact that he's expected to practice Tuesday is a good sign that he'll be ready for the start of the regular season, though his injury history alone could result in limited minutes for much of the season. He'll be an extremely risky fantasy option for those even in deeper leagues and it may be wise to take a cautious approach with him until a more defined role is given.
Williams' six-month timetable puts a rough estimate for a return around late March, which is nearly the entire season. While he certainly could return earlier than expected depending on how quickly the recovery process goes, the fact that he's going to miss so much time means he'll likely be nothing more than a late season flier for fantasy owners. With Williams sidelined, look for Alex Len to get the majority of the backup minutes behind Tyson Chandler at center.
Asik was limited to 31 games last season due to a bacterial infection and he's now been diagnosed with Crohn's disease. While GM Dell Demps said there's been some improvements with Asik's health, he also mentioned that "he's not ready to play basketball", so it appears Asik could still be out for quite some time. For now, it seems unlikely he'll be ready for the start of the season, though further word on his availability should be released as he progresses in his recovery.
Hill underwent surgery to repair a torn hamstring at the end of August and was originally given a timetable of six-to-eight months, so a return in February would fall in line with the earlier side of that original projection. He'll continue to go through the long rehabilitation process moving forward, which means guys like E'Twaun Moore, Dante Cunningham and recently signed Tony Allen should take over the bulk of the small forward minutes, though it's unclear who exactly will be named the starter at this point.
Abrines had been working back from a bone bruise in his right knee, which kept him out of part of the EuroBasket tournament earlier in September. The good news is he's apparently moved past the ailment and is not expected to face any limitations going forward. After the Thunder parted ways with Doug McDermott in the Carmelo Anthony deal, Abrines could see a slight increase in minutes, but he's still an afterthought in most standard leagues.
During Monday's media day, Carlisle mentioned that he expects first-round draft pick Dennis Smith to start at point guard, which complicates Curry's role. However, he also mentioned that Nerlens Noel will come off the bench, which means Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki will slide over to power forward and center, respectively. That opens a spot up on the wing alongside Wesley Matthews, though Carlisle wasn't willing to guarantee Curry that spot. That said, it appears Curry will have a chance to battle for a role in the top unit at shooting guard throughout the preseason, which is somewhat encouraging for his fantasy value considering he was originally expected to be Smith's backup to start the year.
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