Here are some of the stories floating around the NBA after training camps started earlier this week. Preseason games get going this weekend, so cross your fingers that your favorites stay healthy.
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Marvin Williams' 3-point shooting is living up to the early hype and coach Mike Woodson says he expects Marvin to score about 18 ppg. We've been calling him a sleeper for awhile now and nothing has changed. I also think Mike Bibby is primed for big things because he's finally healthy again. He was never 100 percent last year. Maurice Evans will be the first man off the bench and should fill the role filled by Josh Childress last season. Sleeper alert on Evans.
Kendrick Perkins' shoulder is not near 100 percent and I've got some concerns about him being able to play night after night this season. Patrick O'Bryant is his back up and is at least worth keeping an eye on as the season approaches. Darius Miles continues his comeback bid but will start the season on the suspended list - 10 games for violating the drug policy.
Larry Brown is serious about starting Sean May at PF and I actually took him late in a deep draft recently. I don't expect him to stay healthy, but he should be a solid value pick if he can somehow pull it off. That means Emeka Okafor is expected to play center every night and exclusively, while Gerald Wallace will play SF exclusively. Larry has been impressed with Wallace thus far, but I'm concerned that he will sour on the injury-prone freak once Wallace starts taking too many gambles on defense. Brown also appears to like D.J. Augustin and says he's a legit 3-point threat, but Felton is still the starting point guard as of today.
Joakim Noah will miss about the next week with an eye injury and Ben Gordon finally accepted the one-year qualifying offer he said he would not accept. But Gordon and the Bulls appear to have kissed and made up, and I'm expecting good things from BG this year. Andres Nocioni has fallen to the point of not even being draft worthy at this point, at least in the ones I've participated in. And no one has told us yet how Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich will co-exist this season.
Rick Carlisle swears that Jason Kidd is going to be back and better than ever, and I kinda believe him. Jerry Stackhouse might start, but he's still not worth drafting in most leagues. Erick Dampier should be useless with DeSagana Diop in the house and Josh Howard apologized for his lack of love for the Star Spangled Banner.
Peter Vescey says Jamaal Tinsley has been traded to the Nuggets for Chucky Atkins and Steven Hunter, while everyone else says the trade is not happening. I think I'll take "everyone else" on this one. Atkins is out indefinitely after right knee surgery, meaning Anthony Carter will go unchallenged at point guard. Allen Iverson could be traded this season by the February deadline. George Karl and the players are saying their defense is going to be fine, but they're kidding themselves. Nene has looked really good early, but I'll be shocked if he's still healthy by the time Christmas rolls around. Chris Andersen will back up Nene, but could find himself starting sooner than later.
Amir Johnson looks like the starter at PF and his upside is endless. I am going to try to land him in the last round of my upcoming drafts. Meanwhile, Rodney Stuckey is the team's "sixth starter" and also worthy of a late fantasy pick. Antonio McDyess will come off the bench, but I'm not sure where Stuckey's extra minutes are going to come from.
Golden State Warriors
Every year at this time Don Nelson says something that sends me through the roof. This year it's that C.J. Watson is his starting point guard. I don't buy it for a second, although Marcus Williams has reportedly looked "slow" in camp. Nellie is also talking about playing Stephen Jackson at point guard, but the guy clearly isn't a point guard. Until I see it with my own eyes, Williams is the starting point guard as far as I'm concerned. Andris Biedrins is your center, with Ronny Turiaf backing him up. Nellie says Turiaf won't play forward this year, but will exclusively back up Biedrins. We'll see. Nellie also says that Al Harrington won't play center this year and will be the full-time PF. This is good news for Harrington and I am a fan of drafting both Harrington and Jackson this year.
Carl Landry is back and looks great in camp, but the same can't be said about Tracy McGrady. T-Mac says he needs shoulder surgery and that his knee is still not right. Maybe he's going the Sarah Palin route and lowering expectations so far that he can't help but exceed them, but I have no interest in owning him this year. All is quiet on the Ron Artest front, but Shane Battier is out with an ankle injury and lost his job to Artest. Avoid Battier in your draft. As for Landry, he'll come off the bench behind Luis Scola, but appears to have patched up things with the Rockets after a rocky summer. Yao Ming says he's fully recovered from his leg injury and is ready to go. We'll see if he can avoid more leg problems for the first time in four seasons.
Travis Diener has a bad foot and is out indefinitely, leaving all point guard duties up to T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack. Jack is going to see minutes at both guard spots and should be treated as a late-round sleeper.
Los Angeles Clippers
Marcus Camby has missed some time with the flu but should be the starting power forward for LA this year. Eric Gordon will miss a couple weeks with a high ankle sprain and that's going to set him back going into the season. I have been down on Cuttino Mobley, but chances are he'll get off to a quick start this season. In addition, Tim Thomas has looked impressive thus far, according to Mike Dunleavy, but I still would not waste a draft pick on Thomas just yet.
Los Angeles Lakers
Lamar Odom has been the early story of training camp. Phil Jackson says he's out of shape and not ready to play, while also contemplating bringing him off the bench behind Trevor Ariza. Regardless of what happens (and Odom certainly could still start at SF), Odom is going to take a hit this season. Andrew Bynum is bulked up and wants to be an all-star. Bynum has packed on the muscle and should be ready for a big season if his knee doesn't cause him more problems this year.
Marc Gasol has the inside edge on starting at center and has been going in the later rounds of my drafts, while Darko Milicic is being ignored. I'm not a big fan of drafting Darko at this point, but he could end up being a surprise (as usual). Darko is also recovering from an Achilles injury. O.J. Mayo is going to get a ton of minutes as a rookie and coach Marc Iavaroni has said that Mayo and Rudy Gay will both have the green light from downtown. I took Mayo in the eighth round recently and don't feel too bad about it. But I like him more in the ninth or 10th. Hakim Warrick has also been draining threes in scrimmages and could take a step to the next level this season.
The Heat signed Shaun Livingston Friday to a two-year deal. I really don't expect him to play much, if at all this season, but there's a chance he could be effective next year. While I think it's a great story and I'm happy for Livingston, the guy was so injury prone prior to his knee exploding a couple years ago, it's hard to imagine him staying healthy enough to be a fantasy factor again. We'll see. Udonis Haslem (foot) and Michael Beasley (groin) have fought off injuries in camp and both are back in action. Chris Quinn is the favorite to start at point guard, while Mark Blount and Jamaal Magloire are battling things out for the starting center job. Center Joel Anthony has been very impressive in camp, so don't be shocked to see him in the rotation this season. Dwyane Wade is currently absent from camp while dealing with his divorce proceedings.
I'll be back on Monday with the second half of the league. Enjoy the weekend.