• Leading up to the Portland Trail Blazers’ season-opener against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers at Moda Center on October 18, HoopBall is profiling the team’s 15 players with guaranteed contracts, in reverse order of price.

    Player: Gary Trent, Jr.

    2018-19 salary: $838,464 (via spotrac)

    Position: off-ball guard

    Age, experience: 19, rookie

    Measureables: 6-foot-6, 204 pounds (6-foot-8 and 3/4 inch wingspan)

    Strengths: shooting, strength, ball security

    Weaknesses: finishing ability, lateral quickness, first step, positional versatility, youth

    Swing factor: 3-point shooting

    Likely role: deep reserve/G-League

    The Trail Blazers paid a pretty price for Trent, sending out second-round picks in each of the next two drafts to the Sacramento Kings for the rights to the No. 37 overall pick. A teenager who broke Duke’s single-season record for triples during his one season in Durham, he has the size and skill-set teams covet from off-ball guards in the modern NBA – at least at first glance.

    Portland lists Trent at 6-foot-6, and his 33 1/2 inch standing vertical leap ranked third at the pre-draft combine. He bench pressed 185 pounds 12 times, too, a solid number for a perimeter player just one year removed from high school. Unfortunately, those measurements paint a far rosier portrait of the physical tools he actually brings to the NBA game. He struggled immensely as a finisher at Summer League, beset by a relative lack of length and his need for space to explode the way his impressive jumping metrics indicate What’s likely to set Trent back more from an athletic perspective, though, is his lateral quickness. He fared better defensively in Las Vegas than most anticipated given his performance on that end of the floor at Duke, but nonetheless showed little to suggest he has the defensive chops to fit the ever-coveted 3-and-D archetype.

    Players of that caliber are rarely found outside the top half of the first round anyway; the Blazers probably view Trent’s realistic ceiling as a valuable bench player rather than a solid starter. He won’t be either unless he lives up to his reputation as a marksman, something he failed to do over the summer. Trent, after shooting 40.2 percent on 6.5 threes per game in college, connected on just 9-of-his 40 attempts in Las Vegas. It’s not like Portland wasn’t producing good looks, either; both Jake Layman and John Jenkins made comfortably over half their tries from deep.

    The good news: Trent’s textbook release was unchanged by the extra distance from the college line to the NBA’s, and his balance both from both a stationary position or otherwise was impressive. He made all 15 of his free throws, too. More notable considering that type of refinement was expected, though, was Trent’s poise and comfort on the floor no doubt instilled by an entire life spent around the game at its highest level. Assuming the jumper comes, he looked the part of a future rotation player, basically, no small feat for a second-rounder who doesn’t turn 20 in January.

    On a losing team with a priority of player development, Trent could perhaps be earmarked for a handful of  on a nightly basis. But that’s not the Blazers. Big changes could come for Portland if it doesn’t earn a playoff berth in what’s maybe the strongest conference the league has seen this decade.Terry Stotts just doesn’t have the luxury of patience for a player like Trent, and Neil Olshey, who talked in July about the rookie potentially getting some burn this season, signed Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas to address his team’s dearth of shooting behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The performances of Layman and Wade Baldwin, both older incumbents, theoretically push Trent further down Stotts’ list of options on the perimeter, too.

    Does that mean there’s not a possible path for Trent to the rotation? Not necessarily. If he shoots lights out from three in training camp and Curry is still a step slow after a full season away from the game or, just as likely, Stauskas proves unplayable defensively, Stotts could find himself playing a rookie not just in front of Portland’s first-round pick, but also as his second or third perimeter player off the bench. More likely is that Trent joins Anfernee Simons at the end of the Blazers’ bench when they aren’t getting reps down in the G-League, with hopes of developing into real factors for Portland this time next year.

Fantasy News

  • Davis Bertans - F - San Antonio Spurs

    Davis Bertans (concussion protocol) has been ruled out for Monday's game.

    Bertans was expected to miss this game after missing Sunday's game. There's currently no timetable for him. His absence opens up minutes for Dante Cunningham, who will continue to start. Jakob Poeltl will get more minutes of the bench as he tries to turn around the disastrous start he's had to his San Antonio career.

    Source: Tom Orsborn on Twitter

  • Pau Gasol - C/F - San Antonio Spurs

    Pau Gasol (foot) is out for Monday's contest.

    Gasol was expected to miss all of San Antonio's roadtrip and we have not gotten word on his timetable. Dante Cunningham will continue to start, while Jakob Poeltl will get extra looks off the bench. With Rudy Gay (rest) questionable, the Spurs frontcourt could be in for some heavy lifting against Anthony Davis and co.

    Source: Tom Orsborn on Twitter

  • Rudy Gay - F - San Antonio Spurs

    Rudy Gay (rest) is questionable for Monday's game vs. New Orleans.

    Gay is a must-own player right now. He's been providing consistent mid-late round value when on the court, but knowing Gregg Popovich, he will get a few games off for rest. Check his status closer to game-time.

    Source: Tom Orsborn on Twitter

  • Kris Dunn - G - Chicago Bulls

    According to coach Fred Hoiberg, Kris Dunn (sprained MCL) has started doing straight-ahead running and there's no change in his timetable.

    The original timetable was 4-to-6 weeks and today marks the fourth week since Dunn suffered the injury. The Bulls are not rushing any of their young players back from injury, so do not expect Dunn to return soon – he's still probably a few weeks away. Over the past two weeks, Shaq Harrison has played 20.0 minutes per game off the bench and has cracked the top-120 per game value, while Ryan Arcidiacano has been starting but is barely in the top-200. Those two are the only ones worth a look while Dunn is out.

    Source: Darnell Mayberry on Twitter

  • Dwyane Wade - G - Miami Heat

    Dwyane Wade will return "soon" according to coach Erik Spoelstra.

    Wade has been away after the birth of his daughter for just over a week, which was how long he was expected to miss. He is putting his family first during his last season in the association and no one can blame him for that. Once he returns, he will probably sap minutes from all the wing players, but Wayne Ellington is a candidate to lose the most.

    Source: David Furones on Twitter

  • Goran Dragic - G - Miami Heat

    Goran Dragic (right knee injury) had his knee drained Monday morning and the hope is for him to return next week.

    The Heat realized the injury needed to be taken care of for Dragic to fully heal. It was just fluid that was drained and they are hoping the inflammation dies down by next week. You can comfortably rule him out for three games before checking back on his status. Tyler Johnson is worth picking up as a streamer for the week while Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow should continue to see ball-handling duties as well.

    Source: Miami Heat on Twitter

  • Joakim Noah - C - Memphis Grizzlies

    According to Marc Stein, the Grizzlies have been in "extensive discussions" with free agent center Joakim Noah.

    After Tom Thibodeau had no interest in bringing in Noah, it was probably a sign that he was done, but it appears he may get another opportunity to prove himself. Noah was working on his jumpshot over the summer in an effort to adapt to the modern game. Noah has a lot of tred on the tires and would not be fantasy relevant on the Grizzlies, barring a Derrick Rose-esque comeback.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Dwight Howard - C - Washington Wizards

    Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness) missed practice on Monday.

    Howard's preseason injury that stretch into the regular season was a piriformis strain, which is a muscle in the rear. He apparently had trouble sitting down to put his socks on before Sunday's game and ended up leaving without returning. If he misses time, Ian Mahinmi likely starts at center. Jeff Green and Kelly Oubre would be the ones with increased fantasy value.

    Source: Washington Wizards on Twitter

  • Lauri Markkanen - F - Chicago Bulls

    Lauri Markkanen (elbow) will participate in non-contact portions of practice, according to coach Fred Hoiberg.

    Markkanen is slightly behind his original timetable, but the Bulls are rightfully being cautious with him. The reports from late last week were another week-or-two away from contact drills, then one week after that before returning to game action. If Markkanen is out there somehow he should be stashed at this point. He was a top-70 player in 9-cat as a rookie, but with Wendell Carter, Jabari Parker and healthy Zach LaVine, top-100 value going forward is a more reasonable projection.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • OG Anunoby - F - Toronto Raptors

    OG Anunoby (sprained wrist) is expected to play on Tuesday against Orlando.

    Anunoby missed Saturday's game, which a back-to-back, but that was all he was expected to miss. Expect him back Tuesday, which could steal a few minutes from Pascal Siakam. Anunoby is just a deep league option right now.

    Source: Ryan Wolstat