NBA Preseason Notes

Dwight Howard: Will Sit Wednesday-- Howard (back) will not play in the Lakers' preseason game Wednesday, which doesn't come as any surprise. He has only recently been cleared to participate in limited five-on-five scrimmages, but he has been progressing pretty well after back surgery. Howard is still trying to play in a preseason game at some point and early indications point to him being ready for the season opener in some capacity. He may be limited to start the season, but he still has significant fantasy value whenever he is on the court.

David Lee: Logging Heavy Preseason Minutes -- After having offseason abdominal surgery, the Warriors are wasting no time getting Lee back up to speed as he has logged 63 minutes over two preseason games. He played 36 minutes Monday against Utah and scored 19 points to go along with 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals. Lee has been healthy the majority of his career as he played 81 games for three straight seasons at one point with the Knicks and then 73 games in his first season as a Warrior in 2010-11. Injuries limited him a bit last season as he finished with 57 games played. Lee averages nearly a double-double every season and has averaged at least 20 points a game in two of his last four seasons. His career shooting percentage from the field is 53.9 percent and although he's not a shot blocker by any means, he has averaged one steal a game in three of the last four seasons. He is also an excellent passer out of the post as he has averaged at least 2.8 assists a game each of the last three seasons. While he may not be a flashy name, fantasy owners who draft Lee won't be sorry with the overall excellent production he will provide them on a nightly basis.

J.R. Smith: May Come Off The Bench Again-- Knicks' coach Mike Woodson has said he has yet to determine who will be the team's starting shooting guard, but that he is leaning towards having Smith come off the bench this season. Smith has been battling mainly Ronnie Brewer for the starting spot and although Brewer is still recovering from knee surgery, it's now starting to look like Smith may not win the starting job. Smith has been a sixth man for most of his career and he has been very successful at it. He came off the bench in 34 of 35 games played for the Knicks' last season and still averaged 12.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.9 three-pointers and 1.5 steals a game. He did average 27.6 minutes a game, so he still logged significant playing time even though he didn't start. He has already come out and said he prefers to start, but the Knicks have plenty of offense in their starting lineup with Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton. Smith should still provide fantasy owners with significant value regardless if he starts or not as he is likely to play 25 to 30 minutes a game again this season.

 Jordan Hill: Will Not Need Surgery-- Hill (back) will not need surgery and hopes to be ready for the Lakers' season opener. He will be re-evaluated in a week. Hill has never really seen significant playing time in his career and hasn't been a significant fantasy contributor as a result. If Hill is healthy though and Dwight Howard (back) is not ready or not at full-strength to start the season, he could provide fantasy owners with solid rebounding and defensive numbers with increased minutes. When Howard is healthy though, Hill will likely only have limited fantasy value.

Tracy McGrady: Will Play In China -- McGrady has signed a one-year deal to play for Qingdao of the Chinese Basketball Association. McGrady was an excellent fantasy player for several seasons, but suffered from a lot of injuries that kept him out of the elite category at times. He hasn't really been fantasy relevant for a while, so don't expect much from him if he does play well in China and finds himself back on an NBA roster at some point this season.


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