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NBA News Roundup

Monday, August 20, 2018


Each week during the offseason, the Rotoworld staff catches you up on the latest news around the NBA…


John Collins said he is looking to expand his offensive game next season by attacking the basket more frequently. Collins will likely be undervalued in drafts heading into 2018-19, and it's encouraging to hear that he plans to be more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor. He also mentioned he plans to shoot more 3-pointers. Collins saw limited playing time last season, but averaged 15.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 1.6 blocks per-36 minutes as a rookie. Under new head coach Lloyd Pierce, it’s safe to assume Collins will log 33-plus minutes a night. In addition, he is center-eligible in Yahoo! Fantasy leagues, driving up his value that much more.


Greg Monroe said he's been working on his 3-point shooting and is starting to feel more comfortable from deep. Speaking of big men expanding their range, Monroe wants to get into the act next season. However, he has never made a 3-pointer in his career, having missed all 12 of his attempts. We’ll believe it when we see it. It’s tough to envision Monroe making much of a fantasy impact next season in Toronto.


James Harden was involved in an incident at an Arizona nightclub last weekend, which the Scottsdale police confirmed they are investigating. According to a TMZ report, "an unidentified woman said she was at The Mint nightclub in Scottsdale when a member of Harden's entourage got into a fight. The woman said she was recording the scuffle when Harden walked up and grabbed her wrist and phone before throwing her phone onto a roof so she couldn't sell the video footage." Scottsdale police spokesman Officer Kevin Watts said the incident occurred at around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, August 11th. He added that it was "far too early in the investigation" to confirm what Harden's involvement in the incident was. At this point, it seems unlikely Harden would receive any type of discipline from the league office, but it is a situation to keep an eye on.

 

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Bruno Caboclo agreed to a deal with the Houston Rockets last Friday, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com. Caboclo was the 20th overall pick by Toronto in the 2014 NBA draft, but never lived up to expectations. His deal with Houston is an Exhibit 10 deal, and it is somewhat unlikely he makes the Rockets final 15-man roster.


Jon Leuer (knee) is expected to be ready by the season opener in mid-October, and the Pistons are "cautiously optimistic" that he will be ready by the start of training camp, according to Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Leuer, who underwent right knee surgery on August 9th due to an injury that occurred during an offseason workout, is coming off a lost season, as he missed all but eight games during the 2017-18 campaign due to a variety of injuries, including season-ending ankle surgery in January. Even when fully healthy, Leuer will have a tough time finding consistent playing time battling for backup minutes with Henry Ellenson and Zaza Pachulia behind Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.


James Johnson will be "consistently better" next season after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia. At least that is the belief in Miami. Johnson averaged 12.8 points while shooting shot 34.0 percent from downtown in 2016-17 but averaged just 10.9 points and shot 30.8 percent on 3-pointers last season. His decrease in efficiency was partly the result of his nagging injury. "It’s something that he played through last year, and it affected him for sure," his agent, Mark Bartelstein, said of the sports hernia. If Johnson slips in fantasy drafts come October, it could present a buy-low opportunity for shrewd fantasy owners. In 2016-17, Johnson finished inside the top-75 overall in nine-category leagues. He has the potential to match those substantial all-around numbers next season.


Isaiah Taylor has agreed to a one-year deal with the Cleveland Cavs. Taylor played for the Hawks in 2017-18. He appeared in 67 games and averaged 6.6 points, 3.1 assists and 1.4 rebounds. The Cavs have plenty of depth at point guard, with George Hill, Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson already on the roster. Taylor can be ignored in fantasy drafts.


Ryan Anderson is not a trade target for Miami, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. There were some rumors leaked by large outlets that the Rockets would consider attaching a first-round pick to Anderson in a trade for either Tyler Johnson or James Johnson. However, this never made much sense from a Miami perspective, as Anderson makes more than both Johnson’s and the Rockets are expected to pick towards the tail end of the first round for the foreseeable future.


Kemba Walker expects the Hornets to play "a lot faster" under head coach James Borrego in 2018-19. The Hornets finished inside the top-ten in pace last season, averaging 100.5 possessions per game. Thus, it difficult to envision them playing significantly faster next season, but even a moderate increase in tempo is good news for potential fantasy owners.


R.J. Hunter was waived by the Rockets on Friday. Hunter was a terrific scorer and shooter on the NCAA-level, but has not been able to stick on an NBA roster since being selected with the 28th overall pick by the Celtics in the 2015 draft. He’s played for three different teams over his three seasons in the league. He should be able to earn a non-guaranteed roster invite before camps open next month. However, he would likely be able to secure more money if he heads overseas.


Brandon Knight (knee) said he has been running since December... As I pointed out in my “Free Agency Winners and Losers” column, Knight has the potential to emerge as an intriguing fantasy option next season. The only other point guards currently on the Phoenix roster are second-round pick Elie Okobo and undrafted rookie Shaquille Harrison, who does not have a guaranteed contract. Despite not having played in played in an NBA game since February 15th, 2017, new head coach Igor Kokoskov has referred to Knight as Phoenix’s "starting point guard." He’ll be a late-round lottery ticket in fantasy drafts.

 

Christian Wood has spent the offseason working on his 3-point shot... Wood was very impressive during Summer League action in Las Vegas back in July, as he was one of only four players to average a double-double. (The other three were Deandre Ayton, Mitchell Robinson and Willy Hernangomez). Wood was named to the all-summer-league first team after averaging 20.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game while shooting 55.4% from the field. However, he has to first make the Bucks opening night roster before making his way onto the fantasy radar.


Udonis Haslem has reportedly had "direct conversations" with Miami, and the two sides are inching closer to a new deal. If/when Miami brings Haslem back, he can be ignored in all fantasy formats. Haslem appeared in just 14 games for Miami last season, averaging 0.6 points and 0.7 rebounds in 5.1 minutes.


Jevon Carter underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb last Tuesday. This is a bummer for Carter and the Grizz. The rookie is a defensive ballhawk who improved his shooting efficiency over his four-year career at West Virginia. As a senior, he shot 39.3% from downtown and 85.8% from the free-throw stripe. Memphis hasn’t yet announced an official timetable for his return.




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