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With short window after season's end, Warriors turn to draft

Wed Jun 19 6:33pm ET
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer

Players: Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Late last week, Bob Myers could barely even wrap his mind around the idea he needed to start thinking about the NBA draft. The Golden State general manager just tried to cope, somehow, with the shock and sadness of losing two star players to serious injuries in the last two games of the Finals and losing to the Toronto Raptors.

Myers will go into Thursday night's draft with the hope of acquiring an immediate impact player - something that used to be a luxury on his loaded roster but now could be much more of a necessity if the Warriors want to contend for a championship again. Myers must build the roster for next season knowing Klay Thompson is likely to miss much of it and if Kevin Durant re-signs with the Warriors he too will be sidelined for about a year.

That's daunting consider given the Warriors had a starting lineup of five All-Stars at one point as they chased a third straight title only to lose Durant in Game 5 to a ruptured right Achilles tendon that required surgery last Wednesday, then Thompson the very next day in Game 6 to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He is yet to undergo reconstructive surgery, which often doesn't happen for a week or so once swelling in the knee subsides. Myers had no medical updates when he discussed the draft Wednesday.

The Warriors are scheduled to pick at 28 and 58 on Thursday night, late in both the first and second rounds.

''Maybe next year we afford more opportunity for who we pick,'' Myers said. ''Maybe we get a guy that can step in. I think we will have more opportunity next year no matter what happens in free agency, I think we will have more of an opportunity for a young guy.''

Part of the challenge for Myers with his team reaching five straight NBA Finals is the quick turnaround between a season ending, facing the mental and physical exhaustion, then having to regroup immediately to find the energy and focus for draft day.

''What you learn is that it's a very compressed window, whether it's the draft or free agency and so you have to trust the people that are focused on that and have been focused on that,'' Myers said. ''I kind of joke about it, but it is somewhat uncommon to have such a small amount of time, and these are huge decisions we're trying to make and get right here in the short window of time. And there's also a mental, your fatigue level, and just how you kind of ramp it back up. But these decisions we make tomorrow and in the next couple weeks they will affect next year and the following year and the following year. So you really have to be on point.''

The 58th pick might provide a two-way player who also spends time with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Some 40 to 50 players have been to team headquarters for pre-draft workouts and a few visited more than once, Myers said.

Whether Golden State can get a rotation player for coach Steve Kerr at No. 28, Myers isn't sure. That's the hope, of course, and just take three-time All-Star forward Draymond Green as an example of how brilliantly it can go: The Warriors selected him 35th overall in the second round out of Michigan State in 2012.

''Draymond, that obviously worked,'' Myers said with a smile.

Player Notes
Grayson Allen Aug 5 8:10pm ET

Memphis Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen scored 20 points and made a career-high six threes in 27 minutes off the bench on Wednesday. Allen cashed in on spot-up opportunities all night as Memphis got into the painted area and repeatedly dished it out to him. The 24-year-old has averaged 17.3 points and 4.3 made three-pointers per game in three contests since the NBA's return. While he won't produce many other stats besides points and threes, he's certainly a spark for this Memphis team. He can be a real sneaky DFS play, though he probably shouldn't be used against the Thunder on Friday. They've been stingy in their defense of the arc this year.

Jonas Valanciunas Aug 5 8:00pm ET

Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas notched a double-double for the third straight game on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz. Valanciunas held his own against two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, scoring 21 points with 14 rebounds and three assists. The former first-round pick wasn't as efficient as he was in the past two games, but made up for it with his point, rebound and assist totals. Playing on a Memphis team trying to fight for the eighth seed, Valanciunas should be a sneaky double-double machine down the stretch. He'll be a good start on Friday against the Thunder, as he had no trouble with Steven Adams earlier in the year.

Mike Conley Aug 5 7:50pm ET

Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley recorded 23 points with seven assists, five rebounds, four triples and a steal in a 124-115 win over his former team, the Grizzlies. After a slow start in the bubble, Conley is heating up. The Ohio State product has averaged 23.5 points, 7.5 assists and 3.5 triples per game over the last two contests. Most importantly, Conley has excelled at the same time as Donovan Mitchell, which is a good sign because it shows they can both eat for fantasy purposes. Conley is a good bet to stay hot against the Spurs on Friday.

Joe Ingles Aug 5 7:40pm ET

Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles was a marksman on Wednesday, drilling six triples en route to a 25-point performance in a win over the Grizzlies. Ingles scored just 12 points in his previous two games combined, so this game was sorely needed. Though he wasn't scoring much, he has been a sneaky source of assists, logging 14 in three bubble games. More importantly, the minutes have been there for the 32-year-old now that Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist) is out for the rest of the season. Ingles should be used in DFS against the Spurs on Friday, considering they rank in the bottom-half of the league in both three-pointers and assists allowed.

Rudy Gobert Aug 5 7:30pm ET

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert double-doubled for the second straight game on Wednesday. Gobert scored 21 points, pulled down 16 boards and added three blocks, two steals and an assist in the victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Amazingly, the veteran big man has hit on 85 percent of his free-throws after making them at a 62.3 percent clip prior to the shutdown. While the shooting almost certainly won't continue, DFS players can count on Gobert as a double-double and blocks machine in the bubble. He gets a great matchup on Friday against the Spurs, who just surrendered a double-double to Nikola Jokic.

Thomas Bryant Aug 5 7:10pm ET

Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant continued his masterful development inside the NBA bubble, compiling his third straight double-double during Wednesdays loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Bryant battled All-Star Joel Embiid and managed to finish with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks. Prior to the restart of the NBA season, Bryant attempted more than two three-pointers just three times this year; over his last three games, he has fired up a combined 15 attempts, which could be an extra element he adds to his game. With Bradley Beal, John Wall, and Davis Bertans all absent from Orlando, Bryant will have the opportunity to be a massive impact star on both ends of the court for as long as Washington is on the floor in 2019-20.

Ben Simmons Aug 5 7:00pm ET

Philadelphia 76ers point guard/power forward Ben Simmons made it just 23 minutes into Wednesdays contest against the Washington Wizards before sustaining a knee injury that forced him from the game. While he was seen walking away from the court without crutches, he appeared to be in considerable discomfort near the conclusion of the contest. In addition to missing four free throws, Simmons scuffled from the field to the tune of 2-for-10. He managed to compile eight points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals during his time on the court, but those numbers fell well below what DFS owners were anticipating. Tobias Harris figures to continue seeing a sizable offensive role if Simmons is out of the mix Friday against Orlando, while Al Horford could see a larger role on the glass.

Joel Embiid Aug 5 6:50pm ET

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid compiled 30 points and 11 rebounds during Wednesdays victory over the Wizards, now having averaged just shy of 33 points per game inside of the bubble. Embiid packed the stat sheet by adding three assists, three steals and two blocks across his 33 minutes, continuing to deliver contributions in ancillary categories. With Ben Simmons (knee) having departed early, Embiid may be looking at an even larger offensive role when he next takes the floor Friday against Orlando. Embiids most recent meeting versus the Magic resulted in him tying his season high with four made triples.

Dwight Howard Aug 5 4:30pm ET

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (knee) is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was limited to non-contact portions of practice on Tuesday due to soreness in his right knee. The Lakers have already locked up the No. 1 seed, so they can afford to be cautious. JaVale McGee would likely be looking at a boost in playing time if Howard sits out. He could be a low-cost DFS option, but it's tough to trust McGee right now.

Caris LeVert Aug 5 4:20pm ET

Brooklyn Nets guard Caris Levert (thigh) should be back in the starting five for Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics. The Nets rested LeVert, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen on Tuesday because it was the front end of a back-to-back set. It doesn't sound like the Nets are planning to limit LeVert or Harris at all. LeVert has struggled a bit during the bubble, but he is the Nets best scoring threat right now. He'll remain a reliable DFS option going forward.

Joe Harris Aug 5 4:20pm ET

Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris (back) is listed as probable for Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics. Harris, Caris Levert (thigh) and Jarrett Allen (rest) all sat out of Tuesday's game to rest since the team has a busy schedule. Harris has been outstanding during the bubble, but that is likely because the team is shorthanded. He should continue to be a reliable DFS option going forward. Timothe Luwawu, Tyler Johnson, and Garrett Temple will lose some value with Harris and LeVert expected to return on Wednesday.

Jamal Crawford Aug 5 4:10pm ET

Brooklyn Nets guard Jamal Crawford (hamstring) has been ruled out for Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics. He suffered the injury during his bubble debut and was only able to play for six minutes of the game. Both Caris Levert and Joe Harris are expected to be back after resting during their last contest. It sounds like Crawford is day-to-day right now, but it's unclear when he'll be back on the court. Both LeVert and Harris should be reliable DFS options with the Nets depleted right now.

Glenn Robinson III Aug 5 4:10pm ET

Philadelphia 76ers forward Glenn Robinson III (hip) has been ruled out for Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards. It will be his third straight game on the sidelines. It's unclear if he'll suit up at all during the bubble. Robinson isn't much of a factor in the rotation anyway. James Ennis and Alec Burks will see a few more minutes without Robinson available. Neither of them are reliable DFS options with the Sixers mostly healthy.

Marco Belinelli Aug 5 4:00pm ET

San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli (ankle) is available or Wednesday's game against the Denver Nuggets. He has been banged up with an ankle issue, but appears good enough to play here. He should get a handful of minutes, but likely won't do enough to warrant ownership in DFS contests. Lonnie Walker IV and Keldon Johnson have been gaining some momentum, so both of them are expected to see significant playing time.

Jamal Murray Aug 5 4:00pm ET

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (hamstring) has been ruled out for Wednesday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. He'll join Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee) on the sideline for this one. Monte Morris will get another start, while Michael Porter Jr. looks to build off his solid performance from last game. Both players are worth looking at for DFS contests.

Brandon Clarke Aug 5 1:50pm ET

Memphis Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke will jump into the starting five for Wednesday's game against the Utah Jazz. Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) suffered a knee injury and is done for the rest of the season. That means, Clarke's value should skyrocket with significant playing time. Kyle Anderson and Gorgui Dieng should benefit as well, but Clarke is the best fantasy option out of the bunch. Clarke is going to have enormous upside going forward.

Michael Carter-Williams Aug 5 1:40pm ET

Orlando Magic guard Michael Carter-Williams (foot) has been ruled out for Wednesday's game against the Toronto Raptors. He was listed as doubtful after an MRI revealed a tendon strain. There is a good chance that he is sidelined longer than one game. That means, both Markelle Fultz and D.J. Augustin should benefit until Carter-Williams is back on the court. Fultz is the better fantasy option out of the two and is worth a look in DFS contests.

Lou Williams Aug 5 9:00am ET

Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams made his NBA Bubble debut on Tuesday, finishing a 117-115 loss to the Suns with seven points, six assists, and six rebounds. He was clearly rusty, shooting blanks from downtown with two attempts and committing three turnovers in 21 minutes. It looks like Sweet Lou will need a bit time to get into game shape, but he's in a great spot to perform at the moment, with the Clippers' second major bench contributor Montrezl Harrell (personal) missing. Williams will have three more games this week to find his form.

Paul George Aug 5 8:50am ET

Los Angeles Clippers guard/forward Paul George had very little success from the field in Tuesday's clash with the Phoenix Suns, missing six of his seven attempts from downtown and finishing 6-for-17 overall from the floor. However, he still managed to exceed his scoring average with 23 points thanks to a perfect 10-for-10 record at the charity stripe. George added six rebounds and five assists. He had started life very well in Orlando, especially from deep with a 14-for-22 record, so this should just be a blip. George gets a chance to bounce back on Thursday against Dallas.

Kawhi Leonard Aug 5 8:40am ET

Los Angeles Clippers small forward Kawhi Leonard led the team with 27 points in Tuesday's 117-115 loss to the Suns, shooting 10-for-21 from the field and 2-for-4 from outside. He also had seven rebounds with three assists and one steal. Kawhi has had some shooting struggles in Orlando but he's starting to find his rhythm again, which is bad news for Dallas. Leonard has averaged 32 points and 9.5 rebounds against the Mavs this season, and this with 18 percent three-point shooting. The stage is set for him to produce a huge game on Thursday.