• There is one thing I can’t get around for the Pelicans: there are so many perimeter players, and therefore, so few perimeter minutes available.  The Pelicans are now down to 15 players with their recent moves and, barring any changes, will be carrying as many as nine perimeter guys who will be fighting for minutes.  A lot of these players are acquisitions from this summer, and minutes are of paramount importance to develop the younger pieces.

    So let’s start with what we “know,” or as close as we can be to knowing something about the rotation.

    Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, and JJ Redick are the three most impactful guards on the Pelicans roster.  Assuming 34, 32, and 28 minutes, respectively (I am trying to remain somewhat conservative), that already accounts for 94 minutes.  There are three perimeter positions, meaning that 48 * 3  – 94 = 50 perimeter minutes left.  And that doesn’t take into consideration any of the forwards on the roster.

    Brandon Ingram is clearly a top option here and he will be getting 30-plus minutes a night assuming he is healthy, but I am leaving him out of the “we know” above intentionally for now (spoiler alert).

    That leaves this list of perimeter players, in no order: Ingram, E’Twaun Moore, Darius Miller, Nickeil Alexander-SummerLeagueStar-Walker, Josh Hart, Frank Jackson and Kenrich Williams to fight for 50 minutes.  Clearly, this is a good problem to have, but it is nonetheless a problem.  If Ingram gets 30-plus minutes at a perimeter position, that leaves, at max, 20 minutes combined for the rest of these players if they are playing perimeter positions.

    The frontcourt is much more certain: Zion Williamson appears to be a starting four and he’ll get somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 minutes, depending on his shape and how much the Pelicans want to ease him into the toll of travel and major NBA minutes.  Derrick Favors will be shifted to his proper position of center and is likely to get in the neighborhood of 30 minutes as well.  96 minutes – the 60 allocated to them leaves 36 minutes up for grabs.  David Griffin said that Jaxson Hayes will have something resembling a redshirt year, so he looks to be on the outside looking in for minutes.

    This is where I think it becomes clear that the Pelicans are going to have to force perimeter players into sliding up to power forward.  I think the candidates are obvious: Miller, Williams and Ingram are the three guys who can get minutes here and open up the perimeter some, and I would argue that Miller/Williams are best suited playing the four in today’s NBA anyway.

    But how many minutes are going to be available will depend on how much the Pelicans can play Zion at center. If he is pigeonholed into playing the four, that would leave roughly only 16-18 minutes for these three guys.  That also doesn’t mention the possibility of Nicolo Melli, who – yeah, I’m not going to pretend that I know whether he’ll be a mainstay of the Pelicans lineup.

    Zion shifting up to center when Favors isn’t in gives perimeter guys the opening to shift up to four.  Ingram, Miller and Kenrich playing up front leaves Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Frank Jackson better chances of picking up minutes.

    Playing guys up a position on this team has its pros and cons.  You probably increase the team’s overall mobility, but lose some value in rim protection.   You probably add some shooting and some playmaking, but you also likely put more pressure on your team to rebound by committee.  When Lonzo is on the floor, this issue is mitigated since he rebounds like a small forward, and Zion and Favors are both excellent defensive rebounders.  But there are other lineups where rebounding could be an issue.

    Can Alexander-Walker dial back a little of the passing aggression and contribute meaningfully on this team as a rookie?  Can Frank Jackson convert more efficiently and create for his teammates better than he has in the past?  Does the team stop giving minutes to E’Twaun Moore in order to accommodate the younger players on their roster?

    These are questions that matter, because if the Pelicans want to invest top-to-bottom in their perimeter players this year, the bottom line is that a healthy version of the team is going to have to slide players up positions in order to create opportunities for them.

Fantasy News

  • Zach LaVine
    SG, Chicago Bulls

    Jim Boylen expects to retain the Bulls' head coaching role despite a new regime as of Thursday's reports.

    A Boylen firing seemed like one of the most obvious early moves from the new front office personnel in Chicago, but he seems to think that he will retain his role. It comes as a surprise for a franchise that has looked lost with no direction. There's some unrest in the locker room at this point so it seems apparent that something has to give and either Boylen or some of the younger Bulls will be shown the door.

    Source: The Score on Twitter

  • Zach LaVine
    SG, Chicago Bulls

    The Bulls will hire Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas as their new VP of Basketball Operations, per Adrian Wojnarowski.

    A deal between parties is being finalized but Karnisovas has been considered the frontrunner since his name emerged as one of the candidates. Karnisovas is replacing John Paxson and will be tasked with hiring a GM and a number of lower level staff to help reshape Chicago's entire basketball hierarchy. It's a much-needed move for a franchise that's looked listless despite having some talented young players.

    Source: ESPN

  • Zach LaVine
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Denver's GM Arturas Karnisovas completed a "second lengthy interview" for the Bulls' top basketball executive position on Wednesday.

    The interview was with owner Jerry Reinsdorf and COO Michael Reinsdorf. Karnisovas is the "clear frontrunner" for the job, and a change in the front office can only be positive for the Bulls franchise and their players' fantasy values. Karnisovas joined the Nuggets as assistant GM in 2013 and was promoted to GM in 2017. During his time in the front office Denver has steadily improved and was headed for a second straight 50-win season. Hopefully he can bring in a coach that can reproduce Denver's offense, as the Bulls currently rank 29th in offensive rating this season.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Trae Young
    PG, Atlanta Hawks

    According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the NBA and ESPN are close to finalizing a televised Horse competition that expects to feature Trae Young, Chris Paul, Zach LaVine and others.

    It is also believed that there will be some participants from the WNBA as well as recent NBA alumni. The NBA has been trying to find any way to get their product back on television and this seems like the easiest way to make that happen in the current environment. The NBA might still be a ways away but NBA fans will be able to watch some of their favorite athletes in a good old fashioned Horse competition.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Lauri Markkanen
    PF, Chicago Bulls

    Report: Nuggets' General Manager Arturas Karnisovas is the early frontrunner for the Bulls' top exec spot.

    The Bulls are finally planning to move on from the Gar Foreman and John Paxson-led front office, though both may stay with the organization. Karnisovas has the draft and development track record that the Bulls are seeking. The search is in the early stages, though the Bulls do plan to have someone hired prior to the resumption of the season.

    Source: nbcsports.com

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Report: NBA players that received advanced payments or regular payments on a six-month cycle instead of a 12-month cycle could return significant amounts to owners as part of a compensation deal.

    Owners may already get back a pro-rated amount of their players' salaries for each game that is not made up this season. And these players that have been paid some of their salary early would need to return the advanced portion, as well. The takeaway here is that both sides would clearly benefit by playing as many regular season games as possible, but the painful talks about how to handle the missing revenue from the inevitable missed games are moving along.

    Source: cnbc.com

  • Cassius Stanley
    SG, College

    Duke freshman shooting guard Cassius Stanley (6-foot-6, 193 pounds) has announced his plans to enter the 2020 NBA draft, after racking up averages of 12.6 PTS, 2.9 REB and 1.1 3-pointers per game, while setting averages of 47.4 percent FG, 36.0 percent from long range and 73.3 percent from the free throw line in his only season with the Blue Devils.

    Stanley had a solid shortened (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) freshman year at Duke and has decided to follow the ever-popular one-and-done route for college players coming out of perennial powerhouse programs. While his numbers don't jump off the stat sheet, he is immensely talented and can put the ball in the bucket. At this point, whenever the 2020 draft happens, Stanley projects as a second-round selection.

    Source: Adam Zagoria on Twitter

  • Both Gach
    SG, College

    Sophomore Both Gach, a 6-foot-3 ,183 pound guard out of Utah, announced his plans on Tuesday to enter the 2020 NBA draft after concluding his second (shortened; due to COVID-19 pandemic) season with the Utes, averaging 10.7 PTS, 3.6 REB and 2.9 AST in 2019-20.

    Unlike Nico Mannion, who also declared for the draft Tuesday, this announcement was less expected. Gach is likely looking to gauge interest from NBA teams and may not hire an agent, at least not initially. He caught some eyes with his play early in the season, but currently does not project as a selection in either round of the upcoming draft. There's a chance we see Gach back with Utah next season.

    Source: Evan Daniels on Twitter

  • Nico Mannion
    PG, College

    Nico Mannion, a highly-touted freshman guard out of Arizona, has entered his name into the 2020 NBA draft pool on Tuesday.

    Mannion has garnered national attention since his high school days, largely due to his impressive video clips on social media and YouTube. He has been projected as a lottery pick in the 2020 draft for some time now, so it's safe to say this isn't surprising in the least. Mannion has incredible skill as a distributor and despite his low shooting percentages in his lone season at Arizona (39.2 percent FG and 32.7 percent from deep), he should not be on the board beyond the lottery picks, whenever the 2020 draft occurs.

    Source: ESPN

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The NBA "would like to have a champion crowned by Labor Day weekend," per Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Wojnarowski was on "Get Up" on Tuesday morning with host Mike Greenberg when he gave the latest timeline that he is hearing. Woj made it a point of emphasis that this is the ideal timeline that the NBA is hoping to complete this season by, and added that if this comes to fruition there is no question that the start of next season would be delayed. This is the latest timeline that we are hearing about, and we will have to see how realistic this is as time passes.

    Source: ESPN