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Grant Williams' living arrangements help him work on skills

Thu May 21 4:31pm ET
AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) Celtics forward Grant Williams is accustomed to having roommates.

It was only a year ago that the 21-year-old rookie was sharing living space as a college student during his final season at the University of Tennessee.

So when Celtics teammate Kemba Walker invited Williams to join him at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, shortly after the NBA went on its pandemic hiatus, Williams jumped at the offer.

“It’s been amazing,” Williams said. “Just hanging out, relaxing, being able to get to know each other better as well as work out together. We’re here, we’re isolating on our own means. ... It was just a great decision.”

Williams, who grew up in the Charlotte area, was initially debating whether to remain in Boston or join his family in North Carolina at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. But that would have meant being close to his grandparents and potentially putting them at a higher risk of contracting the disease.

“For as much as I talk, I’m glad that he even considered it,” Williams said of Walker’s overture.

Warmer weather in Charlotte as compared to Boston has allowed Williams to use Walker’s outdoor court and other spaces to work on his ball handling and his shooting. He’s also been going through workouts given to him by the Celtics’ trainers.

“I feel like a lot of us are going to be prepared when we get back,” Williams said. “No matter how soon it will be, we’re going to speed up to the peak shape that we can be at and as healthy as we can be, too.”

One scenario being looked at by NBA officials for a restart is for Eastern Conference teams to be based in Orlando and play their games at the vast Disney Wide World of Sports complex. That facility is already equipped with much of the physical and technical infrastructure the NBA would need, having hosted WNBA preseason tournaments, national AAU championships and other multi-team events.

But it remains unclear at this point whether the league would try to resume the season with an abbreviated schedule or proceed to a modified version of the playoffs.

Whatever eventually gets ironed out, Williams is confident it will be done putting players’ health and safety at the forefront.

“It’s my first year so I haven’t gotten to play in the playoffs yet. It’s gonna be a fun time if and when we get the season back,” he said. “I just kind of try to go with the flow and respect that the organization and the NBA will do their best to make the wisest and safest decision possible. … We’re just gonna go with what they give us.”

Player Notes
Myles Turner Jul 4 5:20pm ET

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner has been continuing basketball-related activities for about four or five weeks now. He built a makeshift gym in the family garage, so Turner has found a creative way to stay in shape. Turner was on fire before the NBA went on hiatus, so hopefully he can pick up where he left off. Victor Oladipo has decided to opt out of the upcoming NBA restart. That means Turner and Malcolm Brogdon will be asked to do more on the offensive side of the ball. Both players should see their fantasy value rise with Oladipo sitting out.

OG Anunoby Jul 4 5:20pm ET

Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby has been working on his shooting, ball-handling and passing. It sounds like Anunoby wants to be a more versatility player on offense. The 22-year-old has seen his playing time rise to an average of 30.1 minutes per game this season. He's an important part of the Raptors rotation, so these improvements should boost his fantasy value. He probably won't be a great DFS option, but he could become a more popular choice if he enhances his game on the offensive side.

Landry Shamet Jul 4 5:10pm ET

Los Angeles Clippers guard Landry Shamet has tested positive for COVID-19 and won't travel with the team to Orlando. This doesn't mean Shamet won't play, but he'll need to self-isolate and pass two negative tests, then test negative again upon arriving in Orlando. The Clippers first real game of the season is on July 30. There is still plenty of time for Shamet to get healthy and join the team. Reggie Jackson and Lou Williams would see increased value if Shamet for some reason doesn't return in time.

Ben Simmons Jul 3 9:00pm ET

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (back) won't be restricted when the season resumes later this month, according to head coach Brett Brown. "Hes good to go and we look forward to watching him with what Im told is, effectively, 100% health," Brown said. He was dealing with a lower back nerve impingement, but the hiatus has given Simmons plenty of time to rest up. It sounds like Simmons will be back to his normal role of playing around 33-36 minutes per game.

Gordon Hayward Jul 3 8:40pm ET

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward said that he'll leave the bubble in Orlando when his wife goes into labor. Her due date is in September, which would be in the middle of the playoffs. It's not ideal to lose a key player during the playoffs, but it's understandable considering the situation. It'll be tough for the Celtics to fill Hayward's production. Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown will likely be asked to do more if Hayward does step away during the playoffs.

Darius Miller Jul 3 8:30pm ET

New Orleans Pelicans forward Darius Miller (Achilles) is unsure if he'll be ready to play when the NBA resumes play. Miller has not played this season after having surgery last August. He has been unable to get into 5-on-5 action yet, so the team will have to wait before they evaluate him. It's unlikely that Miller would have a big role on the team even if he does return later this month. The Pelicans have plenty of depth, so Miller will likely get lost in the shuffle.

Jusuf Nurkic Jul 3 8:20pm ET

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is expected to see playing time at power forward when the season resumes. He hasn't played since March of 2019, but the Blazers reportedly won't have Nurkic on a minutes limit. Nurkic was originally expected to split playing time with Hassan Whiteside, but it doesn't appear that will be the case. It's unclear if the Blazers still plan to start Zach Collins at center, but his value shouldn't decrease from this news.

Tyler Herro Jul 3 8:10pm ET

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro says that the league shutdown allowed his ankle to 100 percent heal. He returned prior to the hiatus, but his ankle still bothered him at times. "It definitely helped me just so I had more time to recover," Herro said. His fantasy value should be on the rise, but he'll need to compete for touches. Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, and Duncan Robinson will also be fighting for minutes at the guard spots. It'll be interesting to see what the Heat do with their rotations with Herro back to full health.

Kent Bazemore Jul 3 8:00pm ET

Sacramento Kings guard Kent Bazemore mentioned he was hopeful to remain with the organization beyond the 2019-2020 season. His stats have taken a hit this season, but he is averaging 23.5 minutes per game through 20 games with Sacramento. Head coach Luke Walton said Bazemore was "a big part of [the Kings] having a little bit of success." Bazemore is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The Kings could likely bring him back on a reasonably cheap deal since he struggled this season. However, fantasy owners shouldn't expect much production from Bazemore despite him averaging decent playing time.

Victor Oladipo Jul 3 7:40pm ET

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has decided to opt out of the upcoming NBA restart in Orlando. "I truly believe continuing on the course Im on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me," says Oladipo. Back in March, Oladipo said that he still was not 100 percent healthy from his knee surgery. He has been trying to play through it, but his production has suffered because of it. Aaron Holiday, Justin Holiday, and T.J. McConnell will all benefit from the loss of Oladipo.

Eric Gordon Jul 2 5:20pm ET

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (knee) said that he is back to being 100 percent healthy. He has reportedly lost 12 pounds as of late May, so hopefully that will help with his lingering knee problems. Gordon has been unable to contribute like he wants to because of injuries. His production is way down, but hopefully he can get back to playing like he wants to now that he's healthy. His fantasy value should increase with his knee issues behind him.

De'Aaron Fox Jul 2 5:00pm ET

Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox has begun talking about a contract extension with the organization. "I see myself being here. I want to be here," says Fox. It appears that the two sides have mutual interest, but the financial impact of the league's shutdown could make things more difficult. Fox is averaging a career-high 20.4 points, 6.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. His fantasy value appears to be on the rise, but we'll see if the two sides can come to an agreement this offseason.

Ricky Rubio Jul 2 4:50pm ET

Phoenix Suns guard Ricky Rubio is expected to see less playing time during the upcoming NBA restart. Head coach Monty Williams does not want the veteran guard to suffer a needless injury. The Suns have a small chance of catching the No. 8 seed, so there is no point for them to go all-in. Devin Booker will likely see his playing time take a hit as well. The Suns have a bunch of guards, so it might be a committee approach to fill the void. It sounds like most of the Suns starters will have decreased fantasy value heading into the restart.

Michael Porter Jr. Jul 2 4:40pm ET

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. has a good chance at playing in the upcoming postseason, according to head coach Mike Malone. "I look forward to seeing how hell handle [postseason minutes] with this being his first time going through it," said Malone. His season has been up and down, but it's going to be tough for Porter to earn significant playing time. The Nuggets are covered in terms of depth, so Porter carving out a ton of minutes is highly unlikely. It'll be nice to see him get some playing time in the playoffs, but his fantasy value won't change much.

Devin Booker Jul 2 4:40pm ET

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker could be looking at less playing time when the season resumes later this month. Head coach Monty Williams wants to play Booker less than his current 36.1 minutes per game out of caution. The Suns are six games out of the No. 8 seed, which means there's a small chance they make a run at the playoffs. The Suns don't want to risk any long-term damage to Booker over a few games. It's unclear which players are going to benefit with Booker playing less. Ricky Rubio and Deandre Ayton could see more chances with the ball on offense. DFS players should take notice that Booker could have slightly less value during the restart.

Zach Collins Jul 2 4:30pm ET

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic and forward Zach Collins are expected to join the starting five when the season resumes, according to head coach Terry Stotts. Both players are returning from injuries that have sidelined them for most of the regular season. Trevor Ariza has decided to opt out of the restart, so Carmelo Anthony is the favorite to take over the starting small forward role. Hassan Whiteside is expected to move to the bench with Nurkic returning. It should be a 50/50 split between the two at center. It's unclear how much playing time Collins will receive when the league returns. Anthony and Collins should see increased fantasy value, while Whiteside's will take a hit.

Mike Conley Jul 2 4:30pm ET

Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley is expected to see a larger role on the team with Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist) sidelined for the upcoming NBA restart. "There will be more opportunity, and Mike is in position to take a lot of that," says teammate Joe Ingles. Bogdanovic was averaging 20.2 points through roughly 33.1 minutes per game. That is quite a lot of scoring and playing time to fill. The Jazz are expected to split up the playing time between multiple players. However, Conley could end up benefiting the most from the loss of Bogdanovic. It hasn't been a great year for Conley in terms of production, but this will be his final chance of the season to be a reliable fantasy contributor.

Anthony Davis Jul 2 4:20pm ET

Los Angeles Lakers center Anthony Davis (elbow) says that the NBA shutdown has allowed him to get back to being 100 percent healthy. He was dealing with a minor elbow issue and a number of other problems during the early part of March. Davis mentioned that having the hiatus has given him enough time to rest and get back to full health. He could be seeing more time at the center position if Dwight Howard decides to sit out during the upcoming restart. Davis could see his fantasy value slightly increase with the possibility of Howard sitting out and being back to full health.

Jakob Poeltl Jul 2 4:10pm ET

San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl mentioned that he is ready to step up with LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) done for the season. Losing a big man, I have to step up, said Poeltl. Im going to take on that challenge." Poeltl is averaging 5.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 16.6 minutes this season. He has started 10 games, but mostly comes off the bench with Aldridge holding down the center role. Trey Lyles, Rudy Gay, and Poeltl will all be asked to step up with Aldridge sidelined. Poeltl is expected to start at center, so he should see an increase in fantasy value during the restart.

Kemba Walker Jul 1 8:50pm ET

Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (knee) is reportedly ready to go during the upcoming NBA restart. Walker has been dealing with knee issues all season long, but having a few months off because of the hiatus has helped him. "I really needed to use that break. It definitely helped me get back to myself and start to feel comfortable on my knee," said Walker. It does not sound like the Celtics plan to limit Walker at all during the restart. He was not shooting well before the hiatus, but getting back to full health was key for Walker.