As you may or may not already know, the NBA Skinny appears each and every Monday during the regular season. For the next few weeks, leading up to the start of games that count, we'll devote some Monday bandwidth to what will amount to your pre-season Skinny as we prepare for the fantasy NBA season. Feel free to add your own thoughts on what has happened so far in camp in the comments section.
* Fantasy owners who have already drafted Baron Davis are waiting with baited breath for the outcome of his Monday MRI on a sprained finger on his left hand. Numerous reports speculated that Davis could miss more than a month, but late word is that the injury won't require surgery - instead, the finger will be splinted and he'll be able to resume basketball activities in one week. Davis' fantasy owners can breathe a sigh of relief for now and your draft sheets shouldn't be adjusted - those of you who rushed to the wire to grab Jason Hart and/or Mike Taylor can feel free to send them back to waivers and pick up someone with a bit more upside.
* Deron Williams was carried off the court by teammates after suffering an ankle sprain on Saturday. The Jazz released a report earlier today that Williams suffered a second-degree sprain and will miss "a minimum" to two weeks. The team plays only two regular season games in the next two weeks, so this is about as best-case scenario as could have been hoped for. It's doubtful they he'll be rushed back, however, so plan on his return being pushed into a third week and you are less likely to be disappointed. Jerry Sloan has said that Ronnie Price will get starts at PG while Williams is sidelined. Given the relatively small impact this has on the Jazz's regular season schedule, Williams shouldn't be dropped on draft sheets and Price only warrants a roster add in the deepest of leagues.
* Steve Nash has also been dealing with injuries - he's sprained his right ankle twice in five days, landing on someone's foot on Wednesday and then again on Sunday. Both sprains were considered mild, but clearly this is not an ideal situation for Nash owners - the annual talk of his playing fewer regular-season minutes seems as likely to come to fruition this season as ever, and the team's transition to a more defensively-focused squad already figured to eat into his numbers a bit. Goran Dragic is immediately behind Nash on the depth chart, and Leandro Barbosa will also see some minutes at PG.
* Marcus Camby's preseason is over before it actually started. He has yet to appear in a preseason game, and it's been decided that he won't now that he's been shut down because of bruised right heel. "Hopefully, I can be all right opening night. That's my goal," said Camby. The mash-up of Tim Thomas, Paul Davis, and Brian Skinner would fill in for Camby if his absence were to extend into the regular season. Drafting Camby seems to be a more risky proposition by the day - I have to bump him a few notches and put him in the same neighborhood as Yao Ming (mid-third round).
Misc. Player Notes
* Last week, Nate McMillan was trying to decide whether Rudy Fernandez or Travis Outlaw would replace Martell Webster in the Blazers' starting lineup. This week, it's looking like Nicolas Batum has emerged as the favorite. McMillan is quoted as saying that Batum is getting the shot more because he likes Rudy and Outlaw with the team's second unit than anything. Don't overreact to this news in regards to Batum - he's likely to contribute some defensive stats, but he'd be the clear fourth option on offense among the starters (at best) and would still have trouble seeing excessive minutes on this very deep roster. Batum's preseason line: 4 G, 20 minutes per, 8.8 points, 0.5 threes, 2.5 boards, 1 steal, and 1.8 blocks.
* Updates from LA-LA land: Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol will be the starting frontcourt for the team; Vladimir Radmanovic (three-point specialist), and not Trevor Ariza (defensive specialist), may end up replacing Lamar Odom as the team's starting SF in an effort to prevent teams from collapsing around their two bigs; and Odom is at least becoming more comfortable with the idea of leading the team's second unit.
* Even if you don't know who Wilson Chandler is, it makes sense to stash him on your roster when you see Mike D'Antoni continuing to talk him up like this. Quentin Richardson may be the opening-night starter at SF, but Chandler is clearly the more rosterable player. Chandler's preseason line: 4 G, 25 minutes per, 12 points, 1.3 threes, 8 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks.
* The Warriors' PG situation got somewhat clearer on Sunday when the team waived Dan Dickau - that leaves C.J. Watson, DeMarcus Nelson, and Marcus Williams to battle for the minutes while Monta Ellis is out. Give Williams' playing time (14 minutes per game) and subsequent production (29 percent shooting, 1.5 assists, zero steals), it's getting harder and harder to imagine Don Nelson giving him significant minutes, particularly in the early going. Watson and Nelson have been more effective in preseason action and appear to have won Nelson's favor, but it's unlikely that any one player emerges as a consistently reliable fantasy option.
* Delonte West is back with the Cavs after two weeks away from the team to deal with a mood disorder. He's hoping that dealing with the problem now will help him moving forward as an NBA player. "I've had a history of doing that in the past, where I've quit teams or sabotaged my own success," said West. "At this juncture of my life, I don't want to keep doing that." Fantasy owners would be wise to keep tabs on West - he remains in the mix for the starting SG spot alongside Mo Williams, and he could emerge as a bargain contributor (currently rostered in 27 percent of leagues) with starter's minutes, not to mention his new lease on life.
* Andrea Bargnani could emerge as something of a post-hype sleeper this season - he arrived at camp this season in better physical and mental shape, he doesn't have to deal with the pressures of an impending starting role (as he did last season), and he's been playing pretty well in preseason action (14.6 points, 45 percent shooting). A best-case scenario for the Raptors is that he won't be needed to start at any point this season, but he's clearly going to be their top bench player.
* Speaking of post-hype sleepers, Tyrus Thomas' strong camp has him in the running for the Bulls' starting PF spot - according to the Chicago Sun-Times, that would "allow" the Bulls to move Drew Gooden to C in favor of Joakim Noah. Noah missed time after suffering an eye injury earlier in camp, and Thomas has taken advantage (11.4 points, 9.4 boards, 2 blocks in 5 games). He's made just 36 percent of his shot attempts but has made 25 of 28 free throws (89 percent). Keep in mind that this is all speculation at this point but Noah is starting to look a bit less desirable as a late-round target, while Thomas deserves the speculative roster add.
* Luke Ridnour is exerting himself and now appears to be locked in as the Bucks' starting PG - he's totaled 67 minutes in the past two exhibitions (to Ramon Sessions' 16), compiling 24 points, four threes, 17 assists, and three steals. Ridnour could be back up around the 30-minute threshold as the starter and deserves a late-round pick in most leagues, but you can't completely dismiss Sessions as a factor for playing time or even as a challenge to the starting role if Ridnour were to come out of the gate slowly.
* James Posey could emerge as a bargain contributor of threes and steals - he's clearly brought a spark to the Hornets, and has been out-performing incumbent starter Morris Peterson on offense and defense in camp. It seems likely that he'll bump MoPete from the starting lineup, and playing alongside Chris Paul tends to help a player's fantasy impact.