Tuesday, January 31 2023

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A little less than two months until the NBA’s regular season tips off, and we finally have some clarity in Brooklyn. The NBA schedule was released, LeBron James re-signed with the Lakers, and more news from the past week is below.

Kevin Durant, Nets agree to move forward in partnership

The Nets released a statement on Twitter saying Steve Nash, Joe Tsai, Clara Wu Tsai, Sean Marks, Durant, and Rich Kleiman met in Los Angeles on Monday and decided to move forward with partnership. While the initial indication from the team is that they’ve buried that hatchet and this fixes everything for the next three seasons with KD under contract, the situation appears to still be fragile.

Kyrie Irving appears to be bought in for now. Ben Simmons is expected to be fully ready for training camp in a month. On paper, they’re one of the most talented teams in the league. However, if the season gets off to a slow start and tensions arise again, everything could change rapidly.

Who KD suits up for shouldn’t matter, as he’ll be one of the top players drafted in every format of fantasy hoops. He shouldn’t have an issue producing like a top-five fantasy asset as long as he stays healthy. Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 2.1 triples while shooting 51.9% from the floor and 91% from the free throw line in 55 games last season.

NBA Schedule Release

After days of every random leak imaginable, the NBA officially released the schedule for the 2022-23 season on August 17th. Who plays on Opening Night and Christmas Day is always fun to note, there are some other things to consider. If you’re interested in an excellent article breaking down the schedule more extensively, check out this one from our very own Zak Hanshew.

The Clippers, Bulls, Warriors, Kings, and the Jazz play 15 back-to-backs, which is the most in the league.That’s concerning for fantasy managers that are interested in drafting Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, John Wall, Lonzo Ball, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and James Wiseman, all of whom are unlikely to play in both ends of a back-to-back.

The Heat, Timberwolves, Nets, Pacers, Trail Blazers, Spurs, and Wizards play 14 back-to-backs. Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry probably won’t play any back-to-backs. Ben Simmons‘ health will be monitored, and he may miss some if not all back-to-backs. The oft-injured Kristaps Porzingis may miss back-to-backs as well. That means at least 14 missed games for all of those guys.

Charlotte, Cleveland, Toronto, Denver, Lakers, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Knicks and Suns all play 12 back-to-backs, which is the least amount in the NBA. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. probably won’t play any back-to-backs, so it’s good they have the fewest in the league. The same goes for LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Zion Williamson.

Rick Pitino says Donovan Mitchell would “treasure” being a New York Knick

Adam Zagoria of the Newark Star Ledger reported that Pitino said “Donovan would treasure, he would love to be a New York Knick.” Pitino coached Mitchell when they were both at Louisville, so it can be assumed they have a legit relationship. Pitino pointed out that Mitchell’s father works for the Mets, and his mother works locally. The Knicks have been the heavy favorites for Mitchell for months, and there’s new rumors every day about Utah’s asking price. The recent news of Durant sticking it out with the Nets could result in the teams that were bidding on him to try and make a deal for Mitchell. This is a situation that will continue to have rumors swirling daily.

LeBron James signs two-year extension

Adrian Wojnarowski reported that LeBron signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers on August 17th, which makes him the highest paid player in NBA history. The more notable outcome is that the Lakers are now more willing to trade their future firsts, which means that a trade is surely coming over the next few weeks. The most recent rumor is that the Lakers are interested in trading for Bojan Bogdanović and Patrick Beverley. We’ll see if the draft picks and Russell Westbrook are enough.

John Wall healthy, will compete for starting point guard job

After playing only 72 games since 2018, Wall is reportedly healthy and looking good in workouts. “[John] is healthy, we’ve seen him play, playing five-on-five, individual workouts, he feels good,” Tyronn Lue told ClutchPoints. “We just gotta do a good job of just making sure we’re taking care of his body and making sure we keep him healthy.”

Lue also added that Wall will compete with Reggie Jackson for the starting point guard position. They’ll have to figure out who will start games, who runs with the second unit, and who finishes games. It could take them some time to figure things out.

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Jose Alvarado favorite for backup PG minutes, Devonte’ Graham on the block

ChristIan Clark of NOLA.com reported that Grand Theft Alvarado is the favorite to play backup point guard behind C.J. McCollum. Alvarado burst on to the scene late in his rookie season, averaging 8.9 points, 4.3 assists, and 1.9 steals in 20.5 minutes per game over the final month of the year. That helps put him in line to start the season as the backup point guard. The Pelicans did draft Dyson Daniels with the No. 8 pick, and he’ll likely earn more of a role over time, but Alvarado is the safe bet to start the season as the backup. Graham is on the trade block now that the Pelicans have McCollum, Alvarado, and Daniels. They explored trades for him this offseason, but they didn’t end up dealing him. He won’t be fantasy relevant unless he’s traded.

Jamal Murray to return for preseason

Murray told the media in Melbourne, Australia that he plans to make his return during the preseason. That’s excellent news for his recovery, but he’ll still likely have his minutes limited early in the season, and he likely won’t play in back-to-backs. Still, he’ll be playing, and by the end of the season, he could be a very effective fantasy asset.

Andrew Wiggins wants to make All-Defensive Team

Wiggins appeared on The VC Show, which is hosted by Vince Carter, and he said he felt frustrated that he didn’t receive a single vote for an All-Defensive Team this past season. It’s his goal to make one of the teams next season, which may be easier after his performance in the postseason. He has the recognition, so he just needs the production. Hopefully that leads to some extra defensive stats after he averaged 1.0 steals and 0.7 blocks last season.

Pacers GM wants Tyrese Haliburton to be “next Reggie Miller

Indiana’s GM Chad Buchanan told Alex Kennedy of Basketball News that he wants Haliburton to be the “next Reggie Miller”. The Pacers have big plans centered around Haliburton being with the team for a long time. Miller was with the Pacers for 18 seasons, and there probably isn’t an argument for anyone else to be in the conversation for greatest Pacer ever. Haliburton has shined in his young career, especially after he was traded to Indiana. He averaged 17.5 points, 9.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 2.2 triples per game on 50.2% shooting from the floor during his games with the Pacers. He also recently said that he plans to be more aggressive scoring and that he wants to average 20 points and 10 assists next season while making his first All-Star appearance.

Chet Holmgren tweaks ankle at CrawsOver

It was supposed to be one of the most exciting events of the summer, featuring stars like LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Dejounte Murray, Paolo Banchero, Holmgren, and others. Unfortunately, the CrawsOver game was cut short, after some condensation on the court couldn’t be controlled, and it was too slippery to play. Before that happened, Holmgren injured his ankle. There hasn’t been any news on the severity of the injury, but it should be assumed that he’s ready to go for training camp.

Isaiah Stewart favorite to start at center

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reported that Stewart is the “heavy favorite” to start for Detroit. He has been the starting center through his first two seasons, but the Pistons drafted Jalen Duren in the first round. While the Pistons may have bigger plans for Duren in the future, Stewart is still the “heavy favorite” to start at center this season. He averaged 8.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game last season

Source: Yahoo Sports

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