• Sacramento appeared to be on their way towards a blowout win in Dallas after the first three quarters Tuesday night, but their lead proved to be just enough for them to hang on and win 114-109.

    The Kings struggled to get much going on offense in the opening minutes of the game, largely because the team couldn’t find their way to the rim. Sacramento couldn’t move the ball effectively and didn’t get themselves many opportunities in transition.

    One thing that kept the team close was their defense. The Mavericks struggled to score for most of the game, but the tone was really set on defense early in the first quarter. Willie Cauley-Stein completely shut down Harrison Barnes at times and was making hustle-plays throughout the game.

    The pace picked up a bit when Dave Joerger started to go to the bench and the team got much better looks as a result. Sacramento was able to get good looks in the paint and the pressure put on Dallas’ defense also gave the Kings more open looks from three-point range. The Kings continued to play that way through the second quarter and eventually opened up a 65-44 lead.

    Sacramento came out with the same energy in the third quarter, but the team got a bit sloppy after a few minutes. Cauley-Stein picked up two quick fouls to open the half, and the Kings doubled their turnover total in the first six minutes of the third quarter.

    Dallas, to their credit, took advantage of the Kings’ mistakes and got themselves back into the game. Sacramento was able to stop the Mavericks from going on a huge run, but the team’s inconsistency kept them from pulling away before the final quarter.

    The Kings’ defense was shaky to say the least in the fourth quarter, but the lead ended up being too much for Dallas to come back against.

    GAME NOTES:

    • The Kings made it clear after the trade deadline that they were ready to start turning over the roster to their young players, and while it may take a few weeks to see exactly how that impacts the team it is already clear that they are ready to play faster. The Kings looked much more dynamic against the Mavericks when they were pushing the pace and attacking the basket, something that was generally true against the Wolves and Blazers as well. The quicker pace has magnified some of the team’s turnover issues, but overall it looks like a much better fit for this roster.
    • Sacramento didn’t play quite as well in the second half, but Joerger did a great job of keeping things from getting out of hand. There wasn’t ever much doubt that the Kings would end up with the win, but the Mavericks had more than a few runs slowed by Joerger settling his team down with a timeout.
    • Cauley-Stein didn’t have the flashiest stats against Dallas, but his energy on defense was a big part of what allowed the team to build a huge lead early. Defensive consistency has been a weakness for him throughout his career, but Tuesday night’s performance gave fans a glimpse how high his ceiling is on that end.
    • The value of Bogdan Bogdanovic’s experience in Europe has been evident all season, but it really showed Tuesday night against the Mavericks. De’Aaron Fox has done well in a fairly large role this season, and Bogdanovic’s ability to run the offense and play off the ball at a high level has made the transition much easier on him.

Fantasy News

  • Nikola Vucevic
    C, Orlando Magic

    In an interview Wednesday, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said he could see Nikola Vucevic improving across all areas of his game, and echoing his player's belief that he is in his prime.

    One of the areas Clifford thought Vucevic could improve upon was his 3-point shooting percentage, and also seemed to indicate that he could contonue to up his play on defense. He's unquestionably solidified himself as the anchor of this team, and the Magic as a whole are likely eyeing to improve upon their momentum as a rising young playoff team in an Eastern Conference that looks pretty weak after the top four to five teams. Expect Vucevic to produce safe second-round value this season.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Suns General Manager James Jones said in a recent interview that Deandre Ayton is capable of playing PF if needed.

    One could chalk this up to either Ayton continuing his development in becoming a more dynamic offensive player, or the Suns covering up for the lack of depth on their roster at PF. In reality it's likley a mix of both, and is a positive for Ayton's value heading into this season. If he does end up spending meaningful time at the four, it would not bode well for the value of Dario Saric, who is already barely going at the end of drafts in 9-cat leagues.

    Source: NBA.com

  • DeMarcus Cousins
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    The Lakers have been granted a $1.75 million Disabled Player Exception for DeMarcus Cousins (torn left ACL).

    This now officially rules DeMarcus Cousins out for the season. The Lakers will now have the ability to go out and acquire a player that will in all likelihood occupy the end of their bench. Because they signed Dwight Howard, using this cap space on a center isn't necessarily as big a priority as it once was when Cousins initially went down.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Mohamed Bamba
    C, Orlando Magic

    Mo Bamba will enter training camp second on the depth chart behind Nikola Vučević.

    Head coach of the Magic, Steve Clifford, told a reporter that he plans on having Bamba as his primary backup center while Khem Birch will be third on the depth chart. The Magic also have Vučević, who was re-signed in the offseason to a four-year, $100M contract. As long as Bamba is backing up Vučević, his fantasy ceiling is capped outside of standard redraft leagues.

    Source: NBA

  • Nerlens Noel
    C, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Brett Dawson of The Athletic believes that Nerlens Noel could see a slight bump in minutes if the Thunder limit Steven Adams' usage.

    Noel is a great per-minute producer of steals and blocks but only appeared in 13.7 minutes per contest last season. Additional playing time would make him more useful in deeper leagues.

    Source: Brett Dawson of The Athletic

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    In a video, Joel Embiid announced that he lost about 25 pounds over the summer.

    Embiid is one of the best fantasy players around but has struggled at times with conditioning. The Sixers will gladly accept any improvements from last season's averages of 27.5 points and 13.6 rebounds.

    Source: NBC Sports

  • TJ Warren
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    According to Pacers beat writer Scott Agness, Pacers forward T.J. Warren has no injury worries heading into the season.

    Warren has missed 56 games during the last two seasons, but he hopes to stay healthy for all of 2019-20. Warren is likely to start for the Pacers and could hold top-100 value if he can stay on the court.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard expects to play for Team USA during next year's Summer Olympics.

    Lillard skipped this year's World Cup but is planning to play in Tokyo. He should be a late first-round or early second-round fantasy pick this year.

    Source: news.com.au

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    Warriors guard Stephen Curry expects to play at next year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

    Curry will have a busy year ahead of him. Still, it's no surprise that many potential members of Team USA skipped this year's FIBA World Cup in favor of an Olympics appearance. Curry will be a popular early first-round pick in fantasy drafts.

    Source: ESPN

  • Isaiah Thomas
    PG, Washington Wizards

    Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left thumb.

    This is rough news for the Wizards, who already have John Wall on the shelf. Thomas was a candidate to start at point guard, but instead he'll have to recover from yet another injury. Thomas averaged 8.1 points and 1.9 assists in limited action for the Nuggets last campaign.

    Source: Washington Wizards on Twitter