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Fantasy Week 8 | NBA Week 8

NBA camps open; some go abroad, Spurs plan a trip to Uvalde

Tue Sep 27 3:57am ET
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks to the media during the team's NBA basketball Media Day, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)


Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs know they cannot erase the pain that the residents of Uvalde, Texas have felt since May 24.

They can, however, continue reminding the city of 16,000 people that they're not forgotten.

The Spurs are planning what they're calling a community impact event in Uvalde on Oct. 8; details are still being finalized, but it seems likely the entire team and Popovich will be making the 85-mile trip from San Antonio to the place where 21 people - 19 of them students - were killed at Robb Elementary School by a gunman four months ago.

Popovich, a five-time champion coach during his Spurs tenure and the NBA's all-time leader in coaching wins, has spoken out often about his desire for tougher gun control laws. He also spoke at an event in Uvalde in June, and the Spurs are one of many teams who have pledged support for the community.

The NBA previously announced the formation of the ''Sport for Healing Fund,'' created to provide ''long-term support for the Uvalde community by creating and investing in trauma and healing-centered care for youth and families.'' The NBA, along with the Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and the NHL's Dallas Stars, made the initial contributions to the fund, which will look to connect with children through sports and building safe places like community outdoor play areas.

PRESEASON CHAMPS

Golden State was the best team in the postseason, as proved by the Warriors winning their fourth NBA title in the last eight years.

They were the best team in the preseason, too. That's rare.

The Warriors went 5-0 in preseason games last season. They became just the second team in 26 years to win an NBA championship after having the best preseason record. The other team on that list was ... the Warriors, in 2016-17.

Golden State was one of five preseason unbeatens last year, with Dallas, New York, Chicago and Sacramento all going 4-0.

Most training camps around the NBA start on Tuesday. This season's NBA preseason slate of games starts Friday in Saitama, Japan - a 6 a.m. Eastern, 3 a.m. Pacific, 7 p.m. local time start between the Warriors and the Washington Wizards. It's the first of 70 preseason games on the schedule.

The league is going to 10 places that don't have NBA teams -- Saitama; Seattle; Edmonton; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Las Vegas; Greensboro, North Carolina; Ontario, California (35 miles from Los Angeles, the home of the Clippers' G League team); Montreal; Birmingham, Alabama; and for the first time, Abu Dhabi, for a pair of matchups between Atlanta and Milwaukee.

Also on the schedule - two non-NBA teams, the Adelaide 36ers of Australia (they'll play Phoenix and Oklahoma City) and Maccabi Ra'anana of Israel (they'll play the Clippers, Portland and Oklahoma City).

The Clippers will be the home team for the two games in Seattle, one against Portland, the other against Maccabi Ra'anana.

Seattle, of course, has NBA history, and hopes of more when the NBA gets around to expansion. It's also near where Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has an estate.

''I haven't been there since I played in 2008, I think it was,'' Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. ''Just to go back there and Mr. Ballmer, kind of see his offices and how he lives ... I'm excited to go there.''

Washington and Atlanta do not have a true home game on their preseason slates; the Wizards will be called ''home'' for one of the games in Saitama against the Warriors, and the Hawks are the designated home team for one of the games in Abu Dhabi against the Bucks.

And for whatever this is worth - let's be real, it's preseason, so not much - Chicago has the league's longest active preseason winning streak. The Bulls have won seven consecutive exhibitions, one more than Golden State and New York.

On the other end of that spectrum: Portland, which has dropped seven consecutive preseason games, the longest such streak in the league.

HITTING THE ROAD

Most teams are holding training camps at their home facilities, but a few are already hitting the road for their first trips of the season.

Denver is headed to San Diego for camp. Houston is going to McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Los Angeles Clippers will open practice in Las Vegas, at UNLV.

Philadelphia is holding camp at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Portland headed south to Santa Barbara, California and workouts at UCSB.

Perhaps the two most ambitious trips, though, are the ones by Toronto and Miami.

The Raptors took a five-hour flight from Toronto to Victoria, British Columbia for their camp.

And the Heat were in the air for only 35 minutes, but passports were required. Miami is holding camp in Nassau, Bahamas, about 185 miles away from the team's home.

REMEMBERING RUSSELL

The NBA celebration of Bill Russell's life will continue all season, and beyond. And the feelings about Russell obviously stretch well past Boston, too.

Case in point: Toronto.

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet paid tribute to Russell before his team left for training camp, saying ''it's hard to find a better icon and a better ambassador for the game and just for humanity.''

''It's hard to put into words what exactly he meant,'' VanVleet said. ''Just an incredible human being and a guy that definitely needs to be held up in the highest respect until the end of time. He had an incredible journey, an incredible life and meant so much to so many people.''

KEY DATES

All camps will be open Tuesday; the Wizards, Warriors, Bucks and Hawks could start earlier because of their looming international travel for preseason games.

Preseason games go through Oct. 14. Teams can have up to 20 players on their roster during training camp, but must cut down to 17 (which includes a maximum of two two-way players for each team) by 5 p.m. Eastern on Oct. 17.

The regular season starts Oct. 18.

Player Notes
T.J. McConnell Wed Dec 7 11:00am

Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (illness) has gotten the official questionable tag for the team's contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. He was listed as questionable for their last game with the same non-COVID illness and ended up not being able to play. He's remained day-to-day and still has a chance to play. There are five other players on the team that are listed as questionable which makes finding a streaming option a little more difficult. Last game, Andrew Nembhard and Bennedict Mathurin saw a lot more playing time and opportunities.

Yuta Watanabe Wed Dec 7 10:50am

Brooklyn Nets forward Yuta Watanabe (hamstring) will officially miss his ninth consecutive game as he's still recovering from a hamstring strain. The last time he was able to play was back on November 20th in the team's game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Royce O'Neal will see some added usage while T.J. Warren and Markieff Morris could see some more time off of the bench as well. Once Watanabe returns, he would be a good waiver wire pickup in deeper leagues.

De'Andre Hunter Wed Dec 7 10:50am

Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter (hip flexor) will miss his third game in a row with a strained hip flexor. The team will also be missing John Collins against the New York Knicks on Wednesday. Jalen Johnson seems to be the player that was selected to take over the starting role while Jarrett Culver gets some added time from the bench. Bogdan Bogdanovic returned and he'll have added fantasy value with the holes in the rotation. Hunter's next chance to play will be Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.

Gary Harris Wed Dec 7 10:40am

Orlando Magic guard Gary Harris (hamstring) will have to miss another game with a hamstring strain. This will be his fourth consecutive game missed due to the hamstring issue. He hasn't exactly been a pillar of health this season as he's only played six out of a possible 25 games. As he sits out, the value of Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, and Terrence Ross will continue to rise. All three of them are solid streaming options if they're on the waiver wire in any type of fantasy league.

Marcus Morris Sr. Wed Dec 7 10:40am

Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (illness) has been tagged as out for the team's game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. The veteran is dealing with a non-COVID illness that will force him to miss at least one game and his third game this season. He's been one of the more consistent players on the team in terms of health and productivity. Moses Brown and possibly Robert Covington could see some time in relief of the vacant power forward spot.

Andrew Wiggins Wed Dec 7 10:30am

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (adductor) is the third member of the starting five that has been ruled out for the team's game against the Utah Jazz. He'll join Stephen Curry and Draymond Green on the sidelines as some of the younger players look to be in line to get some added minutes. Moses Moody and Donte DiVincenzo could be solid streaming options while Jordan Poole will step into the starting point guard role and see a lot more usage on the offensive end.

Draymond Green Wed Dec 7 10:30am

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (hip) has already been ruled out for the contest against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. He's experiencing some tightness in his hip which sounds like it's essentially just a rest day. Steve Kerr seems to rest a couple of the starters at the same time this season as Stephen Curry will also be out. Jonathan Kuminga will likely be a solid streaming option and JaMychal Green will see some added playing time as well.

Brandon Ingram Wed Dec 7 10:20am

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (toe) has been listed as out for the team's game against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. He's in line to miss his fifth game in a row while dealing with a toe contusion. He's yet to find a rhythm this season after hitting a couple of rough stretches with injuries. The 25-year-old's next chance to play will be on Friday against the Phoenix Suns. While he's out, Trey Murphy III and Naji Marshall will continue to see more playing time.

Donovan Mitchell Wed Dec 7 2:00am

Cleveland Cavaliers' G Donovan Mitchell scored 43 points on 17-of-27 shooting in a 116-102 win over the Lakers on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Luka Doncic Wed Dec 7 2:00am

Dallas Mavericks' G Luka Doncic recorded a triple-double, finishing with 22 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 116-115 win over Denver on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Chris Paul Tue Dec 6 11:50pm

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (heel) may play on Wednesday against Boston. The veteran has missed 14 games because of heel soreness. While there's still a chance Paul won't be ready to return, the questionable designation at least shows he's moving in the right direction. Cameron Payne should remain in the starting lineup if Paul remains out, with the 28-year-old averaging 15.1 points and 7.3 assists as a starter this season, making him a lock for managers in all fantasy formats.

Mike Conley Tue Dec 6 11:40pm

Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (knee) is questionable ahead of Wednesday's contest against the Warriors. The veteran has missed his previous eight games because of a knee injury, allowing Collin Sexton to take his spot in the rotation. The former Cavalier has averaged 17.1 points in nine starts this season. While Conley would presumably return to the starting lineup if he's available, he will likely have his minutes monitored, so Sexton could remain nearly as productive.

Stephen Curry Tue Dec 6 11:30pm

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (ankle) will sit out Wednesday's matchup versus Utah. Andrew Wiggins (adductor) and Draymond Green (hip) won't play either. That said, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, who combined for 51 points in Monday's loss to Indiana, should carry the load offensively. Jonathan Kuminga and Donte DiVincenzo may also be viable one-game streaming options, although rostering either man isn't without risk.

Myles Turner Tue Dec 6 11:20pm

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (hamstring) is questionable ahead of Wednesday's meeting in Minnesota. Turner was a late addition to the injury report before Monday's win over Golden State because of hamstring soreness. As a result, Jalen Smith benefited, with the 22-year-old finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks. While Smith has played well enough in 2022-23 to warrant fantasy consideration whenever he's on the floor, he's should be a lock for managers if Turner remains out.

Tyrese Haliburton Tue Dec 6 11:20pm

Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (groin) is questionable for Wednesday's meeting in Minnesota. Haliburton has missed his last two games because of a sore groin. As a result, Andrew Nembhard has enjoyed a spike in production, with the rookie scoring a game-high 31 points in Monday's win over Golden State. Nembhard has played well all season. However, if Haliburton sits again, the 2022 second-round pick should be a lock for fantasy managers.

Dennis Smith Jr. Tue Dec 6 11:00pm

Charlotte Hornets guard Dennis Smith Jr. (ankle) remains out on Wednesday against Brooklyn. LaMelo Ball (ankle) won't play either, so Terry Rozier should continue to handle things at the one, with Theo Maledon expected to receive additional minutes from the bench. While Rozier will likely see an increase in usage and assists as the primary ball handler, Meledon probably won't offer much to fantasy managers.

LaMelo Ball Tue Dec 6 11:00pm

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (ankle) is out again for Wednesday's matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. Ball has only played three games this season, as he continues to battle a sprained left ankle. With Dennis Smith Jr. (ankle) sitting as well, Terry Rozier should continue to run the point, with Theo Maledon getting some extra minutes from the bench. However, unless Maledon is in the starting lineup, he won't offer much to fantasy managers.

Ben Simmons Tue Dec 6 10:50pm

Brooklyn Nets forward Ben Simmons (calf) remains out for Wednesday's game against Charlotte. The 26-year-old has been sidelined by a strained left calf. However, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel, as Simmons is hoping he can return on Friday versus the Atlanta Hawks. That said, until he finds his way back to the floor, Joe Harris, who had 13 points, six rebounds, and two steals while shooting 3-for-5 from deep in Sunday's meeting with Boston, may remain in the starting lineup.

Jalen Suggs Tue Dec 6 10:30pm

Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs (ankle) won't suit up for Wednesday's meeting with the Clippers, marking his seventh consecutive absence. The 21-year-old has started 13 games this season, averaging 12.6 points, 5.5 assists, and 1.5 steals. However, while he remains out, Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony should continue to benefit statistically.

John Wall Tue Dec 6 10:20pm

Los Angeles Clippers guard John Wall (knee) won't suit up in Orlando on Wednesday, the second contest of the team's four-game road trip. With L.A. playing a back-to-back, Wall will get some rest before presumably returning for Thursday's meeting in Miami. The 32-year-old continues to look better and better throughout the season, recently accumulating a double-double in Sunday's win over Charlotte. With Luke Kennard (calf), Marcus Morris Sr. (Illness), and Norman Powell (groin) also sitting, Reggie Jackson, Nicolas Batum, and Terance Mann have an excellence chance of surpassing their season averages.