Al Jefferson didn't like getting picked on in defensive pick-and-roll situations last season and is vowing to improve his defense this year.
"There’s a reason (teams pick on his defense) – I’d pick on me too," Jefferson said. "So I want to take the challenge to get better at that so it’s not an option they always go to. And they do go to it, so I’m culpable." We'll believe it when we see it, but if Jefferson improves his D, he could end up with more blocks and steals this year. Even with his lax defense, he's still a top fantasy center option.
Marc Gasol looks great in training camp, and play-by-play man Pete Pranica tweets that he is already in All-Star form.
Pranica may be biased, but he's also watched Gasol in person early in camp. Gasol missed 23 games last season, but he's been durable throughout his career. And given how he looks this early in the game, his draft stock should be on the rise.
Brook Lopez says he's going to play his game and not worry about his problematic foot this season.
"I’m going to go about (playing) as normal," Lopez said. "I feel good. We’ve done everything we could to prevent any further incident, knock on wood, but I’m going to go out and play basketball the way I know how to play." Lopez will be a risk-reward draft pick in fantasy, and owners will have to pray he stays healthy if they draft him as their starting center.
LeBron James is excited about Kevin Love's ability to throw the long outlet pass.
"There's no one in the league that does that like him. No one," James said Wednesday. "He has the ability to get a rebound and look up the court with his outlet passes. The two-hand chest pass from 94 feet, there's no one like him." Dwyane Wade threw some nice passes to LeBron over the last few years and it appears that the Love-to-James combo should be even better. The Cavs looked fantastic in Wednesday's scrimmage and Cleveland fans have plenty to look forward to this season.
Shabazz Muhammad lost weight and added muscle and body tone in the offseason, and says he feels great.
"I remember compared to last year just running up and down the floor feels great," Muhammad said. "I’ve got my wind and that’s definitely something I really needed to improve." Muhammad could get some nice run with the Wolves this year, but there's no reason to plan on drafting him just yet.
Anthony Bennett has looked good in training camp and says he feels better, thanks to an improved physique.
"It’s definitely been a lot easier for me to run up and down," Bennett said. "I played 20 minutes straight [at Dunks After Dark] and I didn’t really have a problem with it." Bennett is a deep sleeper with the Wolves this season and should look much better than he did last year. Although he wouldn't exactly have to crush it to make that happen.
Paul Millsap signed just a two-year deal with the Hawks, meaning he appears to be heading for free agency after this season.
"We want to keep him," coach Mike Budenholzer said. "He is someone who is really important to us. He fits us very well. We’ve communicated that with him on a regular basis." With free agency pending, Millsap should be in for a big season, although it will be interesting to see him and Al Horford on the court together this year.
Wes Johnson, who played power forward at times last season, will be used primarily at small forward this year, and he's happy about it.
"I’m back on the wing again," he said on Wednesday. "I get to guard the threes (small forwards), mix it up with the twos (shooting guards). Of his days at power forward last season, he says it was not a good fit. "It was crazy," he said. "I was guarding Blake and banging with Z-Bo (Randolph). That ain’t me. Get me on the wing. I’m very glad to be back." Johnson has the potential to be a decent fantasy player as long as he's starting for the Lakers, making him a decent player to target late in drafts.