• Welcome back Hoop Ballers to our International Spotlight mini preview feature where we take a look at all the international players around the league and their outlook for the upcoming season. We previously examined the Atlantic and Central Divisions with an emphasis on the opportunities that will arise for some international guys due to a combination of change in scenery and the introduction of a new coaching staff.

    Here is a closer look into the Southeast Division:

    ATLANTA HAWKS

    Tyler Dorsey, G, 22 years old, Greece

    Hawks guard Tyler Dorsey finished his rookie season on a high note, playing almost 20 minutes over the final 45 games with averages of 8.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He reportedly spent the entire summer in the gym working on his game by perfecting his footwork and improving his defense and playmaking skills. Isaiah Taylor and Malcolm Delaney, who both played off the bench as part of small backcourts, are no longer are on the roster while a potential trade of Kent Bazemore could open up even more playing time for Dorsey. The Greek-American guard showed his improvement from his rookie season at Summer League, averaging 17.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists in Las Vegas and the rebounds are notable as he has shown the ability to rebound out of position when given the extra minutes. The Hawks also look committed to his development and “were all for” Dorsey playing with the Greek national team during the World Cup qualifiers in September, even sending GM Travis Schlenk to watch him play in Europe. His shooting looks like a perfect fit for Lloyd Pierce’s uptempo offense and even though I don’t expect him to have standard league relevance from the get go, he is definitely someone to keep an eye on as part of (probably) one of the league’s worst teams.

    CHARLOTTE HORNETS

    Nicolas Batum, SF, 29 years old, France

    Batum had a miserable season last year after tearing his left UCL in the preseason and missing the first 12 games. His per-minute production was very close to typical levels though, so the veteran forward could be primed for a bounce-back year and more shots are set to fall his way with Dwight Howard no longer around. Newly hired head coach James Borrego has been clear about how the Hornets are going to value winning over player development while he also expects Batum to handle and distribute the ball more than he did during the 2017-18 season (despite averaging 5.5 assists). The Frenchman is also expected to slide over to his natural position and primarily play small forward which could help him play within his comfort zone. He has always been capable of posting mid-round value and he could be a nice value pick to target towards the later rounds on draft day after seeing his scoring, rebounding and assists totals dip compared to previous years.

    Bismack Biyombo, C, 26 years old, DR Congo

    The center position for the Hornets looks like one that fantasy players should avoid at all costs since it could go in so many different ways. Borrego declared all starting positions up for grabs, except from Kemba’s role as the point guard. Cody Zeller had been Charlotte’s usual center from 2014-15 until last year, when Dwight Howard took over that role. With Howard now on the Wizards, Zeller will have an opportunity to take back the starting job but it won’t be handed to him, as he’ll have to compete with the likes of Willy Hernangomez, Bismack Biyombo and Frank Kaminsky. Frank the Tank is also expected to slide more to the center position in order to allow the Hornets to deploy more small-ball lineups and that means that one of these bigs will remain out of the rotation. On the other hand, each of these players offers significantly different skillsets, so it’s possible minutes will fluctuate on a night-to-night basis. Biyombo has been a steady force missing just one game the last three years and the fact that Zeller is so injury prone could make him valuable at some point during the season. He averaged 8.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 25.1 mpg across 25 starts last year when Nikola Vucevic was sidelined and he should be viewed as a rebounds and blocks specialist in deeper leagues.

    Willy Hernangomez, C, 24 years old, Spain

    Considered a veteran by Summer League standards, Hernangomez has been a double-double machine every summer but that hasn’t translated to the regular season yet. The Knicks and the Hornets were loaded at the center position last year and Hernangomez had a disappointing sophomore season but he has been consistent every time he’s been given the minutes. The Hornets shipped Dwight Howard out of Charlotte but there is still a bit of a logjam there, with Zeller, Kaminsky and Biyombo all in contention for playing time so it’s not a lock that the Spaniard will be getting on the floor more. Defensively, he is simply an effort guy who likes contact and doesn’t back down but that doesn’t always cover for his flaws. Measured at 6’11” in shoes he is neither explosive nor athletic which makes him far from a reliable rim protector. Playing in Spain with a young team he was able to get major minutes but that also resulted in some bad habits, especially the lack of defensive discipline. Borrego has been well known around the league for his player development skills and he might actually be the right coach for the Spaniard. A lot will be determined during training camp and if Willy can carry his Summer League success over to the regular season there’s no reason to be slept on if he’s available in the later rounds of your fantasy draft.

    Tony Parker, PG, 36 years old, France

    After 17 seasons with the Spurs, Parker‘s departure to the Hornets came as a shock and it was actually not due to money. San Antonio matched Charlotte’s offer but the team wanted him to be an assistant coach and TP turned it down because James Borrego promised him a bigger role. Malik Monk is expected to slide to the shooting guard position and Parker will be the backup point guard behind Kemba Walker. He will certainly help the Hornets with his experience and leadership but he posted the worst statistics of his career last season in San Antonio and injuries have slowed him down in recent years even though his game is not based on speed or athleticism. Charlotte has been lacking a reliable backup point guard for years now so it seems very possible that Parker will be getting approximately 15 minutes every night while Borrego has hinted at using the duo together in the backcourt occasionally.

    MIAMI HEAT

    Goran Dragic, PG, 32 years old, Slovenia

    The Dragon finished last year averaging 17.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists a game in 31.7 minutes of play, earning himself a trip to the All-Star Weekend even though it what was not his best statistical season – though I blame this to the deep run he had with his national team last September. Dragic, now 32, announced his retirement from the Slovenian national after leading his country to its first EuroBasket and as expected he spent this summer getting some much-needed rest and working on improving his balance, footwork and his dribbling. I’ve been noticing his ADP falling in recent mock drafts and that might be understandable due to his age but he is still the best player on this roster and he should bounce back as long as he doesn’t sustain any injuries, shaping up as a nice pick in the mid to late rounds.

    ORLANDO MAGIC

    Evan Fournier, SG, 25 years old, France

    Increasing his scoring average for the last six seasons, Evan Fournier had a career year in Orlando and finished as the team’s leading scorer while establishing himself as a consistent offensive option. The problem is that he is better as a secondary option but the Magic, due to the lack of alternatives, have put the ball in his hands and asked him to break down defenses on his own. This has led to a drop in percentages in recent years and it might also be the cause of Fournier missing a significant amount of games due to injuries. Steve Clifford has praised Fournier‘s shape and work ethic ahead of camp this year, while he has spoken about how he likes his ability to work off screens. The Magic though have a gaping hole at point guard and unless Aaron Gordon takes a huge leap and becomes the primary facilitator, the burden will again be on Fournier to create, so his efficiency might drop even more. Still, he is still the team’s best shooter and even though Terrence Ross and Jonathon Simmons will compete with him for minutes the team will need his shooting at all times and he is a safe bet to return mid to late round value.

    Timofey Mozgov, C, 32 years old, Russia

    Mozgov has long become an afterthought in fantasy with his massive contract being moved three times the last couple seasons. Clifford has said the he is looking to experiment with different lineups and that Mozgov could step out and shoot corner 3s (!) but Orlando is stacked at center with Nikola Vucevic and Mo Bamba on the depth chart and I don’t see how he could earn minutes ahead of these guys unless a trade or an injury happens. He is probably going to spend a lot of time at the end of the bench and he might be a trade or buyout candidate as the season progresses.

    Nikola Vucevic, C, 27 years old, Montenegro

    Even though he managed to play only 57 games, Vucevic delivered an impressive fantasy year returning top-50 value and managing to surpass his ADP by optimizing his percentages and hitting an impressive 1.1 3-pointers a night. He has been a cornerstone of the franchise since being an integral part of the Dwight Howard trade in 2012, but the Magic have expressed their love for Bamba and look to continue rebuilding their franchise with a rim protector at the center position rather than a scoring big with defensive limitations. Vucevic will probably start the season at center as Bamba simply is not ready for the heavy minute load that comes with being a NBA starter but at some point, and likely this season since Vucevic has an expiring contract, he will have to give way to Bamba. The Magic are clearly on a rebuilding path but Steve Clifford is not just going to unleash his young players and he might even opt to stick with his veterans if this team can somehow stay close to the playoff race. Clifford raised the possibility that he could play Nikola Vucevic and Mohamed Bamba in lineups together and that makes it even harder to predict how the season evolves for Vuc as a trade could either boost or hurt his numbers while a lot will depend on the team’s developmental approach.

    WASHINGTON WIZARDS

    Tomas Satoransky, PG/SG, 26 years old, Czech Republic

    The extended absence of All-Star point guard John Wall opened the door for backup Tomas Satoransky to get starter’s minutes for two full months and it was an opportunity that he used to boost his confidence and make a big impression. Through the 24-game stretch without Wall, Satoransky averaged 10.6 points, 5.9 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals, shooting 53.4 percent from the field and 52.1 percent from three while his assist-to-turnover ratio (3.62) was the sixth-best in the NBA. He surpassed Tim Frazier in the rotation for the rest of the year but just before the playoffs started the Wizards signed Ty Lawson and inexplicably played him instead of Sato in a quick first-round exit at the hands of the Raptors. The addition of Austin Rivers this offseason won’t make things easier and minutes will be tough to come by unless an injury in the Wizards’ fragile backcourt occurs. He is not a dynamic enough playmaker to be an NBA starter, but a solid two-way guard with positional versatility that should continue to provide a lot of value off the bench. Keep him in your mind in deeper leagues.

    Thank you for checking us out this article and please check us back again next week as we examine the international players in the Southwest Division. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @philysstar and stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.

Fantasy News

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma (sore left ankle) will not take part in the FIBA World Cup as Team USA announces its final roster.

    Kuzma sat out Team USA's final tuneup against Australia on Saturday as Marc Stein reports that he is flying back to Los Angeles to get treatment. We should still expect him to be ready for training and congrats to Mason Plumlee for making the team as many speculated that he would be the final cut.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Walker scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting with four rebounds with two assists as USA Basketball had it's 78-game winning streak in tournament and exhibition games snapped on Saturday.

    Walker continues to assert himself as the team's best player but USA losing to Australia was the much bigger story in this one. Harrison Barnes also played well as he chipped in 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. USA will take on Canada on Monday in their last exhibition before taking on the Czech Republic in the first official match of the tournament on September 1.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Derrick White
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Derrick White left Saturday’s game after tripping and hitting his head on the floor.

    White left without help but there is no word yet on whether he is dealing with a concussion. He finished with eight points, hitting 6-of-7 three throws in nine minutes with another update sure to come. The third-year guard put up top-125 per-game value, playing 25.8 minutes in his second season. Even with the return of Dejounte Murray, White should still be worth a roster spot in most standard leagues.

    Source: Jeff Garcia on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Marcus Smart, sidelined for almost three weeks with calf tightness, returned to action on Saturday as USA lost to Australia in their exhibition.

    Smart only played nine minutes in this one but still managed to score 7 points with three assists days after being named one of the team’s co-captains. Coming off an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, he produced top-100 per game fantasy value as it seems he may have finally fixed his shot after shooting under 40 percent from the field in his first four seasons. He also produced a career-high in both steals and triples with 1.8 and 1.6 respectively as his career seems to be on the up and up.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills went off in the fourth quarter and finished with 30 points as Australia beat USA 98-94.

    Although it was only an exhibition, it was still a huge moment for Mills and the Australian team in front of a huge crowd as they handed the US team it's first loss since 2006. Mills was serenaded with MVP chants as Joe Ingles also played well with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting with four rebounds and seven assists while Andrew Bogut came off the bench for 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes, shooting 7-of-8 from the field.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma is out for Team USA's tuneup up game vs. Australia with a sore left ankle.

    Kuzma is being held out of this one for precautionary reasons. There's clearly no need for USA Basketball to risk him further injuring the sore ankle. This does not sound like a serious injury and should not affect his fantasy ADP on draft day.

    Source: USA Basketball on Twitter

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    Dwight Howard has agreed with the Grizzlies on a buyout, and will sign a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers.

    The Lakers are giving Howard an opportunity to be fantasy relevant. When given minutes, Dwight can produce double-doubles with the best of them, but he has been changing teams for years now. He will be worth a gamble at the end of your draft if camp with the Lakers goes well, but this is a non-guaranteed deal, and he only played nine games last season.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Marcus Derrickson
    PF, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Marcus Derrickson to an Exhibit 10 contract on Friday.

    It looks like Derrickson will be a G-League option for the Hawks, so there's nothing to see here. At one point he was competing for the last roster spot on the team. We don't need to keep of track of every computer-generated player.

    Source: Chris Vivlamore on Twitter

  • Marreese Speights
    C, Free Agent

    Marreese Speights will work out for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype.

    Speights spent last year playing in China and will attempt his NBA comeback with the Lakers. who are in desperate need of an additional center. He is among three centers the Lakers are looking into, the others being Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah. Of those three, Speights unquestionably has the best floor spacing ability, which would be his strongest bet to eke out those other two for the job.

    Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter

  • Trevor Booker
    PF, International

    Trevor Booker has worked out for the Nuggets and has workouts planned with the Bucks and Clippers, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.

    Booker was out of the NBA in 2018-19, spending the season in China after he didn't get any offers in free agency. He did return to the US to undergo a procedure on his foot but is apparently fully recovered. The last time we saw Booker he split 68 games between the Nets, Sixers and Pacers in 2017-18. If he does make a successful comeback he'll have no fantasy relevance.

    Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter