• After two encouraging games to open up the preseason, the Kings were brought back down to earth by the defending champs in their third matchup.  While losses like that can be demoralizing, the team should have a shot to right the ship Monday night against Maccabi Haifa.

    While their talent cannot be completely overlooked, Maccabi Haifa does figure to be the Kings’ easiest opponent of the preseason.  The Kings will still need to execute, but their athleticism alone should cause some real problems.

    Monday night’s game is by no means an automatic win, but the team will have a good chance at a confidence-boosting win heading into the final stretch of the preseason.  Below are some of the key things to watch for Monday night:

    De’Aaron Fox

    Fox has been as good as any fan could have hoped to this point in the preseason.  He had some struggles in Friday night’s game, but overall his confidence and improved jump shot have been encouraging heading into the regular season.

    One slight concern has been his lack of attempts from the free throw line. Fox has just two attempts through three games and will need to generate far more opportunities for himself going forward.

    Spacing issues have kept Fox from driving as much as he should, but he still needs to find ways to draw contact in transition and in pick and roll sets. A game against Maccabi Haifa should present a decent opportunity

    Additions to the rotation

    Yogi Farrell and Nemanja Bjelica have both been upgraded to probable for tonight’s game, and both figure to get a decent amount of playing time if they’re ultimately cleared to play.  While Farrell has already seen time in the team’s first preseason game, Bjelica has yet to suit up for the Kings.

    While neither are sure to play at the moment, it’s not exactly clear how they will impact the team’s rotations if they are cleared.  Skal Labissiere and Justin Jackson have both struggled during the preseason, so it will be interesting to see how much, if at all, these two see their minutes reduced.

    Half-court offense

    The Kings have had success this season when they’re able to push the pace, but the offense has struggled to generate good looks in half-court settings.  While some of this can be attributed to inexperience, poor spacing and ball movement have also contributed.

    Playing in transition certainly highlights the strengths of this team, but they won’t be able to take the next step until they can run a coherent offense when the game slows down.  Adding veterans like Bjelica and Farrell should provide some relief, but the team will need to start making adjustments in the near future.

    PROJECTED STARTERS

    PG – De’Aaron Fox

    SG – Buddy Hield

    SF – Justin Jackson

    PF – Skal Labissiere

    C – Willie Cauley-Stein

    INJURY REPORT

    Kosta Koufos (hamstring) – OUT

    Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) – OUT

    Iman Shumpert (calf) – OUT

    Nemanja Bjelica (knee) – PROBABLE

    Yogi Farrell (thumb) – PROBABLE

    HOW TO WATCH

    When: 7:00 p.m. PST (10:00 p.m. ET)

    Where: N/A

Fantasy News

  • Kevin Porter Jr. - PG-SG - Cleveland Cavaliers

    The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced that they have officially acquired the draft rights to Kevin Porter Jr.

    This trade was confirmed on draft night but it has now officially gone through. Porter Jr. figures to see opportunities off the bench as a score first guard for a Cleveland team in desperate need of bench production in his first season. He'll get his first look with his new team in Summer League.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Stanley Johnson - SF - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have opted to not extend a qualifying offer to Stanley Johnson, making him an unrestricted free agent according to Shams Charania of the Athletic.

    This doesn't come as much of a surprise. Johnson struggled to make much of an impact both in Detroit and in New Orleans this season, despite possessing defensive upside that has been mired by his inconsistencies elsewhere throughout his career. He's still 23, and should find an offer elsewhere for next season. Wherever that may be, he will have a long way to go before he will become fantasy relevant.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Derrick Favors - PF - Utah Jazz

    According to Shams Charania of the Athletic, Derrick Favors will field calls from several interested teams and act as if he will be an unrestricted FA, a sign that he doesn't expect the Jazz to pick up his team option.

    Favors has gone on the record indicating that he'd love to return to Utah, but it appears that they are interested in allocating the 17 million he would have made, elsewhere. Favors has always struggled to maximize his fantasy potential playing next to Rudy Gobert, and perhaps a situation with a less clogged paint could do more for his value.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Thomas Bryant - C - Washington Wizards

    Thomas Bryant has been given a qualifying offer from the Wizards, making him a restricted free agent.

    Bryant surprised last season, coming from obscurity to finish with top-125/100 value (8/9-cat). That despite Scott Brooks toying with his minutes. If the Wizards can keep Bryant around last season's workload he'll easily be a steal in fantasy leagues, though we're obviously hoping he takes hold of the starting job.

    Source: Fred Katz on Twitter

  • Romeo Langford - PG - Boston Celtics

    The Celtics start Summer League practice this weekend but first-round pick Romeo Langford will not be cleared for full contact.

    Langford is recovering from right thumb surgery, which is not expected to have any significant long-term effects. This is just the Celtics taking it easy on their new rookie. Hopefully he's cleared before Summer League ends, otherwise we'll get our first look at him in preseason.

    Source: Adam Himmelsbach on Twitter

  • Enes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers

    The Blazers, Lakers and Celtics are among the teams that will be interested in free agent Enes Kanter, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

    Portland knows Kanter well and would surely like to have him back after his admirable work filling in for an injured Jusuf Nurkic, while playing through his own serious ailments, in the playoffs. The Celtics could use a ferocious rebounder to replace Aron Baynes and are barren at the center spot with Al Horford's departure, while the Lakers are lining up cost-effective depth with their roster almost completely empty. Kanter might not replicate his Knicks numbers, but he'll be a standard-league asset no matter where he lands.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Cheick Diallo - PF - New Orleans Pelicans

    Cheick Diallo will be an unrestricted free agent after the Pelicans decided not to extend him a qualifying offer.

    Diallo has solid per-minute output but the playing time has never been there for him in New Orleans. He's got talent and good work ethic, but the league is flooded with available big men at the moment. Hopefully Diallo lands in a spot where he can continue his development.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Nikola Mirotic - PF - Milwaukee Bucks

    Nikola Mirotic is another player on the Mavs' list of free agent targets, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas News.

    Mirotic is not as high on the list as Patrick Beverley, but the Mavs see the stretch forward as a potential fit. While Mirotic ended the postseason out of the rotation for Milwaukee, he's going to be a hot commodity given his floor-spacing and should hold solid standard-league value no matter where he ends up.

    Source: Dallas News

  • Tobias Harris - SF - Philadelphia Sixers

    The Clippers, Mavs, Nets, Nuggets, Wolves, Kings, Grizzlies and Pelicans are expected to be interested in Tobias Harris once free agency opens.

    The Clippers are the most surprising team on the list, but only because they dealt Harris unexpectedly last season. Even so, the team and player had success together and the relationship wasn't necessarily damaged by the deal. Harris is one of the top second-tier free agents available and should have his pick of competitive offers. The Sixers are said to be confident about re-signing him, but they won't be able to do so without a fight.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Julius Randle - PF - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Bulls are expected to indicate "early interest" in Julius Randle, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

    Randle is coming off a career year and is looking to cash in. The Bulls have plenty of space available and won't be in the mix for max players, so there's definitely a fit salary-wise if Chicago can get in on Randle before other teams pivot off the top players. It would be a pain for fantasy players however, as Randle joining a frontcourt that already features Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. would put a cap on each player. The Knicks and Nets are also interested in Randle, and we'll hear about more suitors in the coming days.

    Source: The Athletic