Fantasy: News roundup with season 1 week away

Keep track of the latest NBA news and see how it will impact the 2022-23 NBA Fantasy season.

Ben Simmons made his preseason debut with Brooklyn.

In the weeks and months after the confetti fell on the Golden State Warriors in June, plenty of shakeups occurred around the NBA, including a talented draft class and several blockbuster trades. The preseason has brought headlines, too, and some will have significant impacts on fantasy values heading into the 2022-23 campaign.

Chet Holmgren Ruled Out for Season

Holmgren was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but he’ll have to wait to make his pro debut until next year after sustaining a Lisfranc injury in a Pro-Am game in late August. The absence impacts the rest of the Thunder and fantasy managers in dynasty leagues.

The Gonzaga product should still be regarded as a high-end prospect, but foot injuries can be a long-term concern for centers. The lightweight 20-year-old has a favorable frame for his recovery, but his rehab process is still worth monitoring.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl will likely be thrust into a starting role to begin the year. Over his first 44 appearances (36 starts) last season, he averaged 7.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 23.1 minutes. He should improve, but he’s a low-usage option that doesn’t excel as a rebounder or shot-blocker. OKC will presumably keep its options open.

Fallout from Draymond Green’s Practice Incident

Green faces questions after a recent practice incident where he struck teammate Jordan Poole. Warriors President of Basketball Operations Bob Myers said last week that he doesn’t expect Green to miss any games. The 32-year-old forward publicly apologized after the video leaked last week and is stepping away from the team for a few days. 

While he may avoid a suspension from the organization, it’s unclear if the incident will impact his fantasy production to begin the year. Poole and Green are both up for contract extensions, and the organization will have tough decisions over the following calendar year.

Lonzo Ball Undergoes Another Knee Surgery

Ball underwent surgery to address a torn meniscus in January 2022 and was expected to return before the end of last season. However, he faced several setbacks and never returned. The issues persisted this offseason, requiring another knee procedure in late September. He’ll be re-evaluated in 6-8 weeks, but there’s pessimism about a return sooner than January. The Bulls are likely to be cautious, given the point guard’s multiple setbacks over the last 10 months.

The Bulls have no shortage of guards to fill in. Ayo Dosunmu appears to be the starter, followed by Alex Caruso. Those two are worthy late-round fantasy targets. Chicago also inked veteran Goran Dragic over the summer, and he’ll compete with 22-year-old Coby White for depth minutes.

Ben Simmons and Joe Harris Slated to Return

The Nets made several headlines throughout the summer, most notably Kevin Durant trade rumors. However, a trade involving Durant never materialized. Also, Kyrie Irving will be available for the entire season after missing most of the 2020-21 campaign.

Simmons and Harris will return to action following lengthy absences. Simmons missed all of 2021-22 while dealing with mental health issues and back surgery. Don’t expect shooting improvements, but it’s easy to forget Simmons is a three-time All-Star due to his stat-stuffing, two-way skillset.

Harris appeared in just 14 games last year due to an ankle injury, and he’s been bothered by the issue during the preseason. It’s unclear if it will impact his regular-season availability. Still, he’s averaged double-digit points in each of the last five seasons due to his three-point marksmanship, and he’s flirted with secondary ballhandling capabilities.

Klay Thompson’s Status Uncertain

Coach Steve Kerr said in early October that he wasn’t sure if the 32-year-old sharpshooter would be ready for the start of the regular season. Thompson hasn’t played in the Warriors’ first three exhibitions. It’s unclear whether Thompson will appear in the team’s final two preseason games, and it’s slightly concerning that his status to begin the regular season remains murky. However, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be forced to miss significant time, which is encouraging given he missed two full seasons ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

Kawhi Leonard Returns to Action

Leonard has had issues staying healthy over his first three seasons in Los Angeles, most recently missing the entire 2021-22 campaign due to a torn ACL. He’s played just 109 games over his three seasons with the Clippers but was cleared for 5-on-5 work in late September and has appeared in the team’s last two preseason games, averaging 9.5 points in 17.5 minutes. While the Clippers may monitor his workload early, Leonard has progressed smoothly over the last few weeks and should have the chance to return to elite form in his age-31 season.

Michael Porter Playing Without Limitations

Porter has dealt with recurring back injuries since high school, and he was limited to just nine games last year after undergoing back surgery. However, he didn’t have any restrictions to begin training camp and has been effective during the preseason, scoring in double figures in two of the Nuggets’ three exhibitions. While Porter’s injury history is still a concern, he appears to have moved past his most recent setback.

Several Trail Blazers Set to Return

Several members of Portland’s revamped starting lineup missed significant time down the stretch last year, including Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic. All three players are back to full strength.

Six-time All-Star Damian Lillard struggled last season in 29 appearances, but it’s safe to assume that was due to the core muscle injury that required surgery in January and shut him down for the rest of the year. Assuming health, Lillard still has a high fantasy floor and has been worthy of a first-round selection in the past.

Simons broke out last season before missing the final month of the year with a knee injury. The 23-year-old should continue to see increased work this year now that CJ McCollum is in New Orleans, but Lillard’s absence inflated Simons’ numbers. Per 36 minutes with Lillard on the court last year, Simons averaged 16.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists, dropping 7.7 percent in usage compared to when Lillard was off the court.

Nurkic averaged a double-double last year for the third time in four seasons but sat out the final month and a half due to plantar fasciitis. He’s missed significant time in the previous three seasons but has been productive when healthy. He’ll have slight usage concerns if all of the Trail Blazers’ starters stay healthy, but Nurkic has been a reasonably reliable source of points and rebounds.

Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs Both Injured

Fultz returned to the court late in 2021-22 after missing most of the year due to a torn ACL. He was inconsistent while being eased into action but finished strong, scoring in double figures in the last eight games while tallying at least six assists in the final six matchups.

However, he sustained a fractured toe in late September and doesn’t yet have a timetable to return. The 24-year-old was recently seen in a smaller, slimmer boot, but it still seems likely that he’ll be forced to miss some time to begin 2022-23. That will likely lead to increased opportunities for Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs. However …

Suggs had to be helped off the court during Orlando’s exhibition against the Mavericks due to a knee injury. The 21-year-old has been diagnosed with a left knee capsule sprain and bone bruise, and a timetable for his return will be determined based on how he responds to treatment. While it’s encouraging that he isn’t dealing with ligament damage, he may be forced to miss some time to begin the year. If he’s sidelined, Terrence Ross and R.J. Hampton could be viable streaming options in fantasy, though most likely in deeper leagues.

Jae Crowder Seeking Trade

Crowder expressed displeasure regarding his situation with the Suns during the offseason. The two sides reached an agreement in late September to mutually seek a trade while the 32-year-old doesn’t participate in training camp. With just over a week remaining until the regular season, it seems increasingly likely that Crowder will be forced to miss time. However, a trade could lead to rejuvenated results for the veteran wing.

As a result, Cameron Johnson is expected to start. He’s made improvements in each of his first three seasons. If he can take another step forward this year while also seeing increased minutes, Johnson will undoubtedly be worth rostering in fantasy.