LaMarcus Aldridge said he will need to step up defensively to fill the void left by Tim Duncan.
"I think everybody has to take on that burden, it's not just one player's job," Aldridge said Monday. "No one can be Tim Duncan, so that's going to be everyone's job." Thanks to Duncan, the Spurs led the league in defensive rating last year, but luckily for Aldridge he will be have some new help in Pau Gasol. Aldridge only improved as the 2015-16 season progressed with averages of 19.9 points, 8.9 boards, 1.6 assists and 1.2 blocks after the break, so while his days of being an elite fantasy option ended when he left Portland, it still makes sense to take him in the third round of standard leagues.
Danny Green is dealing with a left quad contusion.
He suffered the injury during a workout last week and sat out of the first day of training camp (Tuesday). The injury doesn't sound serious, but Green is expected to miss a few days of action. For what it's worth, he was able to put up some 3-pointers at practice, so the Spurs are likely just being cautious. Green had lasik eye surgery over the offseason and is hoping to bounce back after a rough 2015-16 season. He's a nice target at his discounted price in the later rounds.
LeBron James said his goal is to finish with more rings than Michael Jordan.
"It’s a personal goal," James said. "I just never brought it up. It’s my own personal goal to be able to be greater than great. I think that should be everybody’s personal goal." He's got three titles, but adding a fourth to his name this year will be incredibly difficult with Kevin Durant joining the Warriors. Entering his age-31 season, James is still a safe pick towards the end of the first round in all formats.
Kings coach Dave Joerger said Darren Collison's situation as far as league discipline is still up in the air.
Collison pleaded guilty in early September to one count of misdemeanor domestic violence, so it's basically a lock that the NBA will issue a suspension. With less than a month to go until opening night, fantasy owners should tread carefully with Collison in fantasy drafts until we get more clarity. Joerger said he's counting on Ty Lawson for a big year, so he could open the season as the starting PG with Garrett Temple backing him up.
Garrett Temple will play some point guard this season according to coach Dave Joerger.
This isn't a huge surprise because the Kings don't have great depth at PG and Darren Collison is facing a suspension. The Kings did bring in Ty Lawson, so Temple will likely just be utilized as a combo guard off the bench. He's more of a defender, so his fantasy upside is limited. Ignore him on draft day.
Marcus Smart said that he wants to be a "more consistent shooter" this season.
"My decision-making, coming off ball-screens, working to get into the lane and finishing," Smart said about his offseason training. "And as everybody knows, still working on my jump shot and becoming a more consistent shooter." That's good to hear, as Smart shot just 34.8 percent from the field and 25.3 percent from deep last season. He does have a nice path to minutes with Evan Turner moving on to Portland, but he will need to outplay the likes of Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown in order to secure a larger role.
Jae Crowder said he focused on becoming a better dribble-penetrator during the offseason.
"More of taking the ball out of Isaiah [Thomas'] hands and letting him make plays off close out," Crowder said. "Let me drive some and kick out to him because he’s a [heck] of a knockdown shooter when his feet are set and just trying to get better with the ball in my hands and make plays." Crowder was one of the most improved players in the NBA last season, returning top-35 value in standard leagues with averages of 14.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.7 3-pointers on 44 percent shooting. He may be asked to take on a larger role in the absence of Evan Turner, so he's an easy pick in the early middle rounds.
Trey Lyles said his confidence and comfort levels are a "total 360" from last season.
Lyles' role with the Jazz grew as the 2015-16 season progressed, and he compiled impressive averages of 12.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.6 triples during the month of April. He kept his foot on the gas pedal with a dominant summer league, and he should be the first big man off the bench in Utah behind Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, assuming he has a strong preseason. He's worth the gamble in the later rounds given his obvious upside.