Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
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Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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Williams, Cole starting for Heat Tuesday 10-21-2014
Shawne Williams F MIA
Shawne Williams is starting at PF and Norris Cole is starting at SG for the Heat on Tuesday.

Joe Goodman on Twitter
It's thought that this is a dress rehearsal for opening night, and if so, Williams and Cole will be joined by Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng and Chris Bosh as starters. Cole has started every game since the preseason opener (over Mario Chalmers) and Williams has been starting over injured Josh McRoberts. Both potential starters have some fantasy intrigue for now.
Magic extend Vucevic for four years, $53 M 10-21-2014
Nikola Vucevic F ORL
The Magic extended the contract of C Nikola Vucevic for four years and $53 million on Tuesday.

Marc Spears on Twitter
That's quite a pay day for the big man, but he's earned it. He's a top fantasy center option agains this season and remains unchallenged for his job or minutes.
Andrew Wiggins may not play on Tuesday 10-21-2014
Andrew Wiggins F MIN
Andrew Wiggins may not play on Tuesday after taking a hard fall on his backside in his last game.

Alan Horton on Twitter
"He's sore...at this point he's probably 50-50," Flip Saunders said. Whether he plays or not tonight should have no impact on where you draft him, and he's day-to-day.
Norris Cole playing through back tightness 10-21-2014
Norris Cole G MIA
Norris Cole is expected to start on Tuesday despite dealing with tightness in his back.

Joe Goodman on Twitter
Cole may start at PG for Miami on opening night, but he faces competition for minutes from both Mario Chalmers and rookie Shabazz Napier. Given the uncertainty surrounding his role and playing time, fantasy owners are better off leaving him undrafted in typical leagues.
Reggie Jackson (wrist) doubtful for Tuesday 10-21-2014
Reggie Jackson G OKC
Reggie Jackson (bruised wrist) "didn't feel comfortable" after practicing on Monday, but he's expected to be ready for OKC's season opener.

Anthony Slater on Twitter
It sounds like he'll sit out again vs. the Jazz on Tuesday, but this injury doesn't affect his fantasy projection. He'll be a major part of the Thunder offense while Kevin Durant is out, and even with KD active Jackson has a chance to return top-80 value.
Josh McRoberts (toe surgery) still sidelined 10-21-2014
Josh McRoberts F MIA
Josh McRoberts will sit out again on Tuesday as he recovers from toe surgery.

Jason Lieser on Twitter
The Heat have suggested that McRoberts' recovery will extend into the regular season, leaving a major gap at PF. Udonis Haslem may start on opening night if McRoberts isn't ready to go, and both Luol Deng and Danny Granger have spent time as backup PFs during the preseason.
Jimmy Butler has sprained thumb ligaments 10-21-2014
Jimmy Butler G CHI
An MRI confirmed that Jimmy Butler has sprained thumb ligaments, and he'll be re-evaluated after Chicago's preseason finale on Friday.

K.C. Johnson on Twitter
This leaves Butler somewhat iffy for the Bulls' season opener, but at least the MRI didn't reveal more serious damage. Kirk Hinrich, Aaron Brooks, Tony Snell and Mike Dunleavy should absorb a few extra minutes until Butler is ready to return, and Hinrich may be the favorite to start at SG in Friday's exhibition.
Jeremy Lin (ankles) ready to go vs. Phoenix 10-21-2014
Jeremy Lin G LAL
Jeremy Lin (sprained ankles) will return to action during Tuesday's exhibition vs. the visiting Suns.

Jeremy Lin on Twitter
"Ankles are finally feeling better," Lin wrote. "Excited to get back on the court tonight!" Steve Nash's ongoing sciatica pain has him questionable for the start of the regular season, and the starting PG job should belong to Lin all season regardless of Nash's health. He has enough statistical versatility to return mid-round value, and his late-round ADP makes him a solid value in most fantasy drafts.
Paul George shoots jumpers after practice 10-21-2014
Paul George G IND
Paul George shot around following the Pacers' practice on Monday, making jumpers out to the 3-point line.

YouTube
It's amazing to see George on the court less than three months after suffering a multiple compound fracture to his right leg. Despite his encouraging progress and optimism that he can return if Indiana makes the playoffs, he remains out indefinitely. The Pacers are proceeding as though he won't return during the 2014-15 season, and he's only worth owning if you don't mind stashing him in an IR spot all year.
Kevin Durant (foot surgery) won't rush back 10-21-2014
Kevin Durant F OKC
Kevin Durant said that he won't rush his return from foot surgery, which is expected to sideline him until at least late November.

ESPN.com
"I'm sure I'll feel better in two or three weeks, but definitely don't want to rush it and wind up hurting it even more," Durant said. "I'm taking my time with it. I'm just blessed it happened early in the season where I can get past it, and hopefully by December I'll be ready to play." He'll be re-evaluated in late November, guaranteeing that he'll miss a minimum of 17 games to begin the season.
Paul Pierce (knee) traveling w/ Wizards 10-21-2014
Paul Pierce F WAS
Paul Pierce (bruised knee) is traveling with the Wizards for Wednesday's game in New York.

Jorge Castillo on Twitter
Whether he plays is another question, but the injury doesn't seem serious enough to jeopardize his availability on opening night. He'll have a healthy role in the Wizards' offense, especially while Bradley Beal is out, and he's a safe target in the late rounds.
LeBron James will rest Wed. vs. Grizzlies 10-21-2014
LeBron James F CLE
Cavs coach David Blatt plans to rest LeBron James vs. the Grizzlies on Wednesday.

John Michael on Twitter
LBJ has played in five preseason games despite a minor back injury that bothered him during training camp, and it's not surprising to see him get a night off. His absence should open up more minutes for veterans James Jones, Shawn Marion and Mike Miller.
John Wall (knee) will return Wed. in New York 10-21-2014
John Wall G WAS
John Wall (left knee tendinitis) said that he'll play in Wednesday's exhibition.

Jorge Castillo on Twitter
He could have played on Monday but rested as a precaution, which was a big reason reserve guard Garrett Temple logged 42 minutes. Wall is coming off a career-best year with averages of 19.3 points, 1.3 triples, 4.1 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.8 steals, racking up first-round fantasy value with zero DNPs all season.
Anthony Bennett (knee) expects to play Tue. 10-21-2014
Anthony Bennett F MIN
Anthony Bennett (sore knee) expects to play vs. the Pacers on Tuesday.

Alan Horton on Twitter
Shabazz Muhammad (Achilles) is also returning to action, leaving Minnesota with a blank injury report for the first time this preseason. Bennett's backup role makes him someone to avoid in 12-team fantasy leagues, but he's worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.
Deron Williams will sit out vs. Celtics 10-21-2014
Deron Williams G BKN
Deron Williams will not travel with the Nets for Wednesday's game in Boston.

A. Sherrod Blakely on Twitter
This is purely a precaution. His ankles have held up well through five preseason games, and he's looked very good in 25.8 minutes per game. Injury concerns have knocked his ADP down to 33.3 in 9-cat Yahoo! leagues, just behind Ty Lawson and ahead of Dwyane Wade.
Al Jefferson rests w/ left ankle soreness 10-21-2014
Al Jefferson C CHA
Al Jefferson rested on Monday in part due to left ankle soreness.

Rick Bonnell on Twitter
Although this doesn't sound serious, it's an ominous report considering the early months of his 2013-14 season were plagued by a sprained right ankle. Jefferson's health is essential for the Hornets' chances of building on last year's playoff run and they'll be extra cautious with their 265-pound center, but at the moment there are zero indications that he's in danger of missing the season opener.
Nerlens Noel (illness) back at practice Tues. 10-21-2014
Nerlens Noel F PHI
Nerlens Noel (illness) returned to practice on Tuesday and he will be available for Thursday's preseason finale.

Keith Pompey on Twitter
Noel battled an upper respiratory infection for nearly a week but seems to have recovered, and he said he didn't lose any weight due to the illness. His durability is a question mark, given his lanky frame and high-flying style, but he has tantalizing upside as a rebounder and defensive menace.
Trevor Booker (ankle) game-time on Tuesday 10-21-2014
Trevor Booker F UTH
Trevor Booker (sprained ankle) went through Tuesday's shootaround but he remains a game-time decision vs. the Thunder.

Salt Lake Tribune
Booker has been the first player off Utah's bench this preseason, logging 15-20 minutes per game. He should feature prominently in coach Quin Snyder's rotation, but he's only worth considering in deep fantasy leagues.
Kris Humphries' stitches not yet removed 10-21-2014
Kris Humphries F WAS
The stitches in Kris Humphries' right hand were not removed during his post-surgery checkup on Monday.

J. Michael on Twitter
Humphries gashed his hand on the rim during a preseason game, damaging a nerve in his right pinkie finger, and he was given a 3-4 week timetable on Oct. 10. He's very questionable to play in the Wizards' season opener, and Nene will be serving a suspension, so more minutes should be available for DeJuan Blair , Drew Gooden and Kevin Seraphin.
Ty Lawson (hamstring) ruled out vs. Blazers 10-21-2014
Ty Lawson G DEN
Ty Lawson (hamstring) will not play vs. the Blazers on Tuesday.

Casey Holdahl on Twitter
He left Saturday's game with "tightness" in his hamstring and this doesn't appear to be a serious injury. Nevertheless, mounting health concerns are enough to knock Lawson down a peg in fantasy drafts. A serious ankle injury suffered last May prevented him from running until July and it caused the Nuggets "some concern" as recently as mid-October.
Festus Ezeli (shin) probable for Tuesday 10-21-2014
Festus Ezeli C GS
Festus Ezeli (shin) is probable for Tuesday's exhibition.

Warriors on Twitter
Steve Kerr said he'll deploy Ezeli late in the second quarter, and he's unlikely to play more than a handful of minutes in his first game since May of 2013. His return has no impact in typical fantasy leagues, but it's great news for the Warriors in reality -- Andrew Bogut is a constant injury risk and Jermaine O'Neal is gone, so Ezeli provides much-needed depth at center.
Brandon Rush (back spasms) out vs. Clippers 10-21-2014
Brandon Rush G GS
Brandon Rush's back spasms will keep him on the sidelines for Tuesday's game vs. the Clippers.

Diamond Leung on Twitter
His back flared up during each of the Warriors' past two exhibitions, so he may take a few days off to fully recover. Golden State has enough depth on the wings that Andre Iguodala could fill a bench role, and there's no reason to touch Rush on draft day.
Andrea Bargnani's status for opener unclear 10-21-2014
Andrea Bargnani C NY
Andrea Bargnani's status for Wednesday's regular season opener is unclear due to his hamstring injury.

Al Iannazzone on Twitter
The No.1 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft has missed over two weeks with his hamstring injury and is now in danger of missing regular season games. The Knicks' frontcourt depth is thin enough that Bargnani could provide some deep league fantasy value when (if?) healthy, but owners in standard leagues would do best to look elsewhere for now.
C.J. Watson will not play Tuesday night 10-21-2014
C.J. Watson G IND
C.J. Watson (sore right foot) will not play in Tuesday's exhibition game against Minnesota.

Scott Agness on Twitter
It's worth noting that Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said that Watson would be able to play if it were the regular season. While Watson isn't the best option in standard fantasy leagues, he should see enough minutes at both guard spots to be a worthy late-round flier in deeper leagues.
J.R. Smith leaves practice with back spasms 10-21-2014
J.R. Smith G NY
J.R. Smith (back) experienced back spasms during Tuesday's practice and may miss Wednesday's exhibition game against the Wizards.

Marc Berman on Twitter
Smith was sidelined by back spasms during last week's exhibition game against the 76ers, so this isn't a new injury. While the back spasms are a concern with the regular season a week away, Smith's role on the Knicks is the more worrisome issue. While the 29-year-old can still be a solid source of three-pointers in a bench role, the presence of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert will keep Smith from being more than a late-round pick in standard fantasy leagues.
Shabazz Muhammad expected to play Tuesday 10-21-2014
Shabazz Muhammad G MIN
Shabazz Muhammad (achilles) is expected to play in Tuesday's exhibition game against the Pacers.

Kent Youngblood on Twitter
Muhammad has only played one game during the preseason, so it will be good to see him back on the court for the first time since October 7. While Muhammad should see minutes at both forward spots this year, his paltry stats don't warrant fantasy consideration outside of deeper leagues.
Steve Clifford says Al Jefferson is locked in 10-21-2014
Al Jefferson C CHA
Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said that Al Jefferson is locked in and excited to start the 2014-15 season.

Charlotte Hornets on Twitter
Clifford also added that, in his opinion, the most important thing to motivate players in the NBA is how good they think the team can be. After making the playoffs last season, things are looking up for Big Al and the former Bobcats with the addition of Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams, and Brian Roberts to their roster. Jefferson had a breakout season in 2013-14 as he averaged 25.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 0.9 blocks after the All-Star break and fantasy owners shouldn't let him fall past the top-20 on draft day.
Jose Calderon hopes to play on Wednesday 10-21-2014
Jose Calderon G NY
Jose Calderon (calf) said his injury is nothing to worry about and that he hopes to play in Wednesday's exhibition game against the Wizards.

Al Iannazzone on Twitter
Calderon left Monday's exhibition against the Bucks with a strained calf, but this doesn't sound like anything fantasy owners should be worried about. While the 33-year-old isn't the most exciting fantasy option, he's a solid late-round selection considering starting point guards don't grow on trees.
Anthony Davis practicing on Tuesday 10-21-2014
Anthony Davis F NO
Anthony Davis (wrist) was participated in Tuesday's practice with his right wrist wrapped.

John Reid on Twitter
The sound you hear is fantasy owners breathing a sigh of relief as the fact that Davis is practicing the day after injuring his wrist is promising news. Davis has been a consensus top-3 pick in fantasy drafts this year and owners who like to draft high-upside players should have no issue with taking the 21-year-old with the No. 1 overall pick.
James Harden committed to playing better D 10-21-2014
James Harden G HOU
James Harden said he's committed to being a better defensive player this season.

USA Today
With Harden's defense (or lack thereof) a common topic in NBA circles, the 25-year-old is committed to silencing his critics this season. "It's not a matter of whether I can or can't play defense," Harden said. "It's just a matter of me focusing for 48 minutes throughout a game and making sure that I'm always alert on both ends of the floor. It's up to me to go out there and show my leadership, to show that I can play both ends of the floor at a high level and just do it." Harden's defense shouldn't be of much to concern to fantasy owners as his 2013-14 averages of 25.4 points, 4.7 rebounds. 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals, and 2.4 three-pointers make him an easy selection in the middle of the first round.
Russell Westbrook aims to play 82 games 10-21-2014
Russell Westbrook G OKC
Russell Westbrook said he is aiming to play a full 82-game schedule this season.

Darnell Mayberry on Twitter
After saying that he'd have no restrictions on playing back-to-backs this season, Westbrook added, "Since I've been hurt I know what it feels like to not play. So now I just want to play every game. At this point, I like 82 games." Despite only playing 46 games due to knee injuries last season, Westbrook has played 82 games in four of his six NBA seasons. With Kevin Durant likely to miss at least the first month of the regular season, Westbrook will have a chance to put up huge numbers and should be mid-first round fantasy pick on draft day.
Mavericks request waivers on Yuki Togashi 10-21-2014
Yuki Togashi G DAL
The Dallas Mavericks have requested waivers on G Yuki Togashi.

ESPN Dallas
Mavericks' general manager and president Donnie Nelson had previously said that Togashi was a longshot to make the team's final roster, so this comes as no surprise. Any (minimal) fantasy value that Togashi may have had will now be rendered moot as he'll likely report to the Mavericks' D-League Affiliate, the Texas Legends.
Dirk Nowitzki working on quicker release 10-21-2014
Dirk Nowitzki F DAL
Dirk Nowitzki said that he is working on adding a quicker release to his shot.

Earl K. Sneed on Twitter
As Nowitski enters his 17th NBA season, he'll need to make adjustments to keep playing at a high level and adjusting his shot served as low-hanging fruit. "It wasn't going to be running quicker or jumping higher," Nowitzki said. "So I figured I'd work on something that I can control." While the 36-year-old has consistently returned first-round fantasy value, he's a much safer pick towards the end of the second round or beginning of the third round.
Courtney Lee to open season as Grizz starter 10-21-2014
Courtney Lee G MEM
Courtney Lee will open the season in the Grizzlies' starting lineup, according to head coach Dave Joerger.

92.9 ESPN on Twitter
With Nick Calathes out for the first 20 games of the season due to a suspension, Lee and Tony Allen will serve as the starting SG and SF for the Grizzlies. Lee averaged 11.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.9 steals, and 1.0 three-pointers with the Grizzlies last season and is now a solid late-round flier in deeper fantasy leagues.
Celtics waive F Christian Watford 10-21-2014
Christian Watford F BOS
Celtics waive F Christin Watford.

IndyStarSports on Twitter
In a move that won't cause even the smallest of ripples across the fantasy basketball landscape, the Celtics have parted ways with the Indiana University alum, according to head coach Brad Stevens. While the 23-year-old could still hook on with an NBA team at some point this season, he's not a player who fantasy owners need to store in their memory banks.
Kevin Durant excited for Russell Westbrook 10-21-2014
Kevin Durant F OKC
Kevin Durant (foot) said that he's excited for the opportunity that Russell Westbrook has to lead the Thunder while KD recovers from foot surgery.

Royce Young on Twitter
While Westbrook has his critics in the media, his teammate is not one of them. "He's going to do a great job," Durant said. "I'm not worried about Russ. I'm excited for the opportunity he has right now." Durant represents a risky fantasy pick due to his uncertain timetable, so we wouldn't blame risk-averse fantasy owners for letting last year's MVP fall to another owner. However, owners willing to roll the dice on the 26-year-old in the first round may very well find themselves at the top of their league standings due to Durant's enormous upside.
Greg Stiemsma fighting for final roster spot 10-21-2014
Greg Stiemsma C TOR
Greg Stiemsma is still battling for the Raptors' final roster spot.

Toronto Sun
In the Raptors' version of Thunderdome, three men will enter and only one will be left standing. Only one of Stiemsma, Jordan Hamilton, and Will Cherry will make the Raptors' final roster cut on Monday and head coach Dwayne Casey said the decision will be "a good debate with the coaching staff and management." Even if Stiemsma hooks on with the Raptors, he won't provide much fantasy value as a a reserve player.
Jabari Parker reminds Kidd of Grant Hill 10-21-2014
Jabari Parker G MIL
Bucks head coach Jason Kidd said that Jabari Parker reminds him of Grant Hill.

CF Gardner on Twitter
Besides their shared Duke background, Kidd sees a few similarities between Hill and Parker. "He's got a quick first step. What I like is he tries to make the right play to his teammates," Kidd said. "It's not always about scoring. He wants to win; he cheers his teammates on. That's kind of cool to see." Parker has had a strong preseason and should have no problem returning fantasy value as an early-middle round selection.
Terrence Jones putting in extra work 10-21-2014
Terrence Jones F HOU
Terrence Jones is putting in extra work after practice with Donatas Motiejunas.

Houston Chronicle
Jones and Motiejunas have assigned themselves a post-practice routine that they hope will take their games to another level this season. "We just put in extra work trying to get better," Jones. "We know the four position is a big role for this team. We're just trying to make sure we're prepared for the end of the season by putting in the extra work. It's something we're going to get used to, being the last ones out." While Jones and Motiejunas are battling for the Rockets starting PF job, both should see enough minutes to warrant a late-round fantasy selection.
John Lucas III close to signing with Wizards 10-21-2014
John Lucas G WAS
The Washington Wizards are close to signing G John Lucas III, according to league sources.

ESPN
With Brad Beal set to miss six weeks, Lucas would provide the Wizards with some much-need backcourt depth. The 31-year-old owns career averages of just 4.8 points, 1.0 boards, and 1.4 assists, so his fantasy value is essentially non-existent if and when he signs with the Wizards.
Mavericks waive F Eric Griffin 10-21-2014
Eric Griffin F DAL
Mavericks waive F Eric Griffin.

Shams Charania on Twitter
Griffin had been competing for one of the Mavericks' final roster spots after a strong showing at Las Vegas Summer League, but it looks like he's reached the end of the line in Dallas. While the 24-year-old may hook on with another team, he won't provide much fantasy value to owners in standard leagues.
Anderson looks good in preseason win 10-21-2014
Kyle Anderson F SA
Kyle Anderson started with multiple Spurs starters out in Monday's 106-99 exhibition win over the Kings, scoring 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting with five rebounds, two assists, three steals, one block and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes. It's not fair but Anderson falling to the Spurs looks like another win for the organization. He won't have any fantasy value to start the year but keep his name in your mental Rolodex for down the line.
Cousins triple-doubles with turnovers vs. SA 10-21-2014
DeMarcus Cousins C SAC
DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) triple-doubled with turnovers in Monday's preseason loss to the Spurs, scoring 32 points on 12-of-14 shooting with 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and a whopping 10 turnovers. Five of those turnovers were offensive fouls in a quintessential Boogie game tonight. The Spurs rested Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter (calf) was out, so they had nobody that could even remotely control him. He's going to be a thrill ride this season. His Achilles' injury is not a concern.
Gay (ankle) having shot selection issues 10-21-2014
Rudy Gay F SAC
Rudy Gay (ankle) got back on the floor in Monday's preseason game against the Spurs, scoring 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting (10-of-12 FTs) with seven rebounds and one block in 32 minutes. This wasn't a bad line but it was worth noting that Gay was taking bad shots that have characterized 'Bad Rudy' in past years. Isaiah Thomas kept him from doing that, but he's no longer there and prospective owners should keep in mind that his field goal percentage could slip this year.
Landry (knee) returns to action on Monday 10-21-2014
Carl Landry F SAC
Carl Landry (knee) returned to action on Monday, scoring 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting (5-of-5 FTs) with seven rebounds and no steals or blocks in 18 minutes. This is a Landry line if we've seen one. He'll need to have a bunch more before we recommend to owners that they deal with his fantasy deficient stat-set in standard leagues.
Horford up to 24 minutes in Monday's game 10-21-2014
Al Horford F ATL
Al Horford played 24 minutes in the Hawks' 117-114 overtime win in Monday's exhibition against the Hornets, scoring 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting with six rebounds and one steal. Horford continues to slowly ramp up his minutes and if all goes well he'll be able to show he's 100 percent healthy at some point this week. Expecting him to roll right into his top-end productivity levels is a bit optimistic, but he should settle in eventually and secure early round value.
Zeller goes for 18 and eight in start 10-21-2014
Cody Zeller F CHA
Cody Zeller started for Marvin Williams (rest) in Monday's exhibition game against the Hawks, scoring 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting with eight rebounds and five assists before fouling out in 30 minutes. Zeller will have a larger role in the rotation this year but he's not breaking out anytime soon, at least not on the strength of this one meaningless preseason game. If this becomes a habit this week we'll let you know, but he's hands off in standard leagues until further notice. Bismack Biyombo falls in the same boat with his 10 rebounds, one steal and three blocks in 30 minutes.