• The Kings are coming off a fairly solid week in which they finished 2-2. This week, things get a lot tougher with two top-tier Western Conference teams on the slate as well as a young, athletic Bucks team that currently sits seventh in the Eastern Conference.

    The Bucks visit Golden 1 center to begin the week in what will be the Kings’ most winnable contest. However, with that being said this game is far from winnable, it’s just a testament to how good the next two opponents are. The Kings will then travel to Oakland to play the Golden State Warriors and then they make a short trip down to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers. This week could turn out quite ugly, but either way it will be a great experience for the young players to get some heavy minutes in against some very tough competition.

    Wednesday, March 22 – vs. Milwaukee Bucks (34-35)

    As mentioned earlier the Bucks are young and athletic. They will be tough to handle and the Kings have experienced that once already this season in Milwaukee. Sacramento got bounced in that one and the same could happen again. While the losing sucks, wins and losses aren’t the vocal point as the season comes to an end, it’s the development of the younger players so that will be the focus in this game and all the other games moving forward.

    Giannis Antetokounmpo presents all kinds of match up problems as the Kings have no one who can comfortably stay in front of the Greek Freak. Khris Middleton has been great since returning from his injury and will be a tough cover on the perimeter too. Sacramento has their own fair share of length and height too with the “thin towers” down low, Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein (all credit to Hoop-Ball founder, Aaron Bruski, for that one by the way) and also Papa G, Georgios Papagiannis and his huge frame off the bench.

    Friday, March 24 – @ Golden State Warriors (56-14)

    Some of you may have forgotten that the Kings actually have a win under their belt against the NBA best, Golden State Warriors, this season. That seems like an age ago and the chances of them winning again are as close to zero as humanly possible.

    The Warriors could very well choose to rest their key guys for this one which would not be a surprise at all. Either way, there is going to be blood, and a lot of it. However, as discussed earlier this isn’t about winning anymore, it’s about getting these young guys reps. Who knows, if the Warriors decide to rest their stars, the Kings could catch them off guard and take the cake; but that is highly unlikely at this point.

    Sunday, March 26 – @ Los Angeles Clippers (41-29)

    This will be the third meeting between the two teams this season. The Clippers have taken both of the prior games and they will likely take the third too. Like Friday’s game, the Clippers could choose to rest their starters such as Blake Griffin, Chris Paul etc. but that remains to be seen.

    Hopefully the Clippers choose to go full strength against the young Kings lineup to really test them out. Skal Labissiere vs. Blake Griffin would be a joy to watch; and it would be no surprise to see Blake have some trouble handling Skal on both ends. This game could be somewhat exciting if the Kings come out with energy.

    Notes:

    • Ty Lawson may not be able to play in Wednesday’s game against the Bucks due to an alleged court hearing he has to attend. There have been various reports on the matter but just be prepared if Lawson does sit out this one because he may have to iron out some legal issues over the next week or so. If things go south for him, the Kings may move swiftly is taking action.
    • Malachi Richardson is getting closer and closer to a return and some reports suggest he could be back this week. The Kings are in the midst of an extended period of time off before their next game so the medical staff will likely be running tests over the next couple of days to see if he’s ready to roll. His return would add to the logjam at shooting guard but you can assume that Langston Galloway would lose minutes as a result.

    Injury Report:

    Rudy Gay (torn left Achilles) – out for the season

    Malachi Richardson (partially torn hamstring) – could return this week

    Tyreke Evans (ankle) – day-to-day

    Arron Afflalo (personal) – day-to-day

    Ben McLemore (personal) – should return this week

     

Fantasy News

  • Furkan Korkmaz
    SG, Philadelphia Sixers

    After an injury-plagued sophomore campaign for the Sixers, Furkan Korkmaz knows this season will be crucial for his future and he is hoping to make big strides this year.

    The one thing Korkmaz has going for him is his shooting ability and that is something the Sixers could surely utilize on this roster. It did not click last season, but Korkmaz will get another chance to prove his worth at some point this season. Still, it is hard to picture him coming out of the gate with a big role on opening night.

    Source: Sixers.com

  • Nikola Mirotic
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    On Sunday, Nikola Mirotic dropped 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting for Barcelona.

    Mirotic's opening appearance for his new EuroLeague club, Barcelona, resulted in a victory, and he did not have to work too hard for most of his buckets at the Supercopa Endesa versus Valencia. Mirotic should find quick success during his return to European basketball, but NBA fantasy players will surely be missing his presence stateside.

    Source: Eurohoops

  • Bruce Brown
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey spoke highly of Bruce Brown’s defensive play, calling him an ‘elite defender.’

    Brown remains in contention for a starting spot with the Pistons, but he is not a high-usage player, and the Pistons have stocked up with offensive threats such as Derrick Rose and the immortal Joe Johnson. It will be tough for Brown to rack up enough touches or minutes this season.

    Source: Pistons.com

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    There is some optimism in league circles about Kevin Durant's (Achilles) chances of playing this season, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

    Looking back on Durant's decision to return during the Finals, the Nets may want to exude caution when considering KD's return to action. However, Durant is pursuing his rehab with a sense of purpose, and it would be great to see him get back on the court this season. We'll keep you posted when a real timeline on Durant's rehab emerges. This news does not make him a target on draft day for standard leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. is the presumed favorite to start at PF heading into training camp according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

    Fedor went on to speculate that Nance Jr. could see a lot of time at the four while Kevin Love starts at center and Tristan Thompson and John Henson compete for back up minutes behind those two. Any uptick in playing time would be a huge boost to the per-minute dynamo that Nance Jr is, and a starting role with a new coaching staff bodes well for that. He's trending in the right direction.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic