• It is undoubtedly true that the NBA has been moving more and more towards positionless basketball the last few seasons.  Lineup flexibility is of paramount importance, and many perimeter players seamlessly shift between positions.

    But this isn’t true of everyone, and this has adversely affected some former “power forwards” who aren’t quite strong enough to play full-time center and aren’t quite skilled enough to step out and defend the perimeter.

    Derrick Favors is not one of these players, but is perhaps one of the biggest breakout candidates for the next season simply because he’ll be playing the position he should’ve been playing for years.  Favors may have been drafted as a power forward, but 2019 Derrick Favors is unequivocally suited best for a full-time center role.  This full-time transition probably would’ve happened years ago in Utah, but Favors was too good to sit too much but very much a less-than-ideal complement to the Stifle Tower, Rudy Gobert.

    A lot of smart people called Favors to the Pelicans before it happened.  Here was a player who should be getting starter-caliber minutes sitting on the bench sometimes because his offense overlapped with Gobert’s.

    In an era where a lot of players are expanding their shooting range in order to get minutes, Favors is, once again, not that type of player, evidenced by his paltry 3-point percentages and volume.  And despite their imperfect fit, lineups with Gobert and Favors on the floor together played at roughly a plus-7.6 plus-minus per 48 minutes together, which equates to somewhere around a 60-win team.

    As much as we know what Favors isn’t, we know what he is: an athletic freak who is strong enough to muscle big opponents and light enough on his feet to get up and down the floor.  Favors is excellent around the rim when not crowded by other non-shooting players like Gobert.

    Here are Favors’ stats with and without Gobert the past three seasons.

    The results are pretty clear, particularly in categories that relate to being around the rim.  When Favors is forced to become a perimeter offensive player, his performance suffers greatly, as evidenced by the 9% delta between his FG% with and without Gobert.  This also extends to his block/steal/rebound figures as well, which each dip next to Gobert.  It’s worth mentioning, however, that despite the drop in Favors’ individual defensive numbers, these lineups were fantastic on defense, posting DRTGs in the 95 to 100 range.  However, Favors’ individual stats suffered greatly for it.

    Moving forward, it’s important to note that Favors may not pair perfectly with Zion Williamson or other Pelican frontcourt partners, but because he is less perimeter-oriented than they are, it would be surprising if he is the one who has to spend an undue amount of time in that area.  As a result, he will be tasked with playing to his strengths, which are rim protection, rebounding, running the floor against centers, crashing the offensive boards and finishing near the rim.

    David Griffin said that Favors is an important piece in their future, and I expect he will have every opportunity this season to prove that he is exactly that.

Fantasy News

  • Caris LeVert
    SG, Brooklyn Nets

    The Nets and Caris LeVert have agreed to terms on a three-year, $52.5 million contract extension, as per Adrian Wojnarowski.

    This makes sense for the Nets, who have long extolled their love for LeVert's long-term outlook. This sounds like they're fully committed to making him a core player. Enjoy his upside this season, as he will likely take a usage hit when Kevin Durant returns to full health and takes the floor.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Evan Fournier
    SF, Orlando Magic

    In an 82-80 win by France over Italy on Sunday, Evan Fournier posted 29 points in 19 minutes of action.

    This was nice showing for Fournier, who is coming of a relatively lackluster 2018-19 campaign. He will have to fend off an emergent Terrence Ross for those minutes at the wing this season and will need production-per-minute on this level if he wants to stay on the floor for the Magic.

    Source: Orlando Magic Daily on Twitter

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Victor Oladipo had little to say about his rehab process (ruptured quad tendon) at his basketball camp in Indiana.

    We weren't expecting earth shattering details while Oladipo was busy overseeing his basketball camp, but more information about the Pacer would be most welcome. It is hard to know what you will get from Oladipo on draft day, but you have to figure someone in your league will be interested in taking a gamble on him. He is still not scrimmaging with other players, and whenever he does return to game action this season, it is unlikely he will resume being a top player in the early going.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Briante Weber
    PG, International

    Briante Weber, after spending the end of last season with the Greek club Olympiacos, is joining the Metropolitians 92, based in Boulogne-Levallois, France.

    Weber attended free agent mini-camps in June with the Raptors and Wolves, and spent time in the G-League last year, but has never been able to catch on long-term with an NBA team. He has had brief stops with several NBA squads over the years, so it is possible he could return to a roster at some point this season. There is nothing to see here in terms of fantasy though.

    Source: BeBasket.com

  • Rui Hachimura
    PF, Washington Wizards

    Rui Hachimura showed off his scoring prowess with 31 points in Japan's comeback victory over Germany on Saturday.

    After a nice string of Summer League performances, Rui Hachimura is continuing his strong play in FIBA World Cup exhibition games for Japan. He can clearly get his own look in the mid-range, and the rookie should get a chance to perform for the Wizards this year. Keep an eye on Hachimura's preseason opportunities, as the competition for the Wizards' power forward minutes isn't fierce. He could be worth a late-round flyer in standard league-drafts.

    Source: Mike Schmitz on Twitter

  • Robert Covington
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Robert Covington (right knee) is not expected to have any limitations heading into training camp.

    Covington had arthroscopic surgery in April after missing 47 games last season due to a bone bruise on his right knee.

    Source: Chris Hine of the Star Tribune

  • Jeff Teague
    PG, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Jeff Teague (left ankle) is not expected to have any restrictions for training camp.

    Teague had a left ankle debridement procedure in April to help alleviate inflammation. Teague's ankles have given him trouble throughout his career and he only played 42 games last season. With a clean bill of health Teague will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing season.

    Source: Chris Hine of the Star Tribune

  • Derrick White
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Derrick White has reportedly passed the first concussion test after taking a nasty fall in Team USA's tuneup game vs. the Australian Boomers on Saturday.

    This is good news. White has worked hard for his Team USA roster spot and should provide some guard depth for them once he clears concussion protocols. He was an eye-opener last season and should still hold some fantasy value despite the return of a now-healthy Dejounte Murray.

    Source: Tom Orsborn on Twitter

  • 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

    Kemba 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