1. LEBRON JAMES (Lakers): I was disappointed with his comments on the recent events with the NBA and China after the tweet by Rockets GM Daryl Morey regarding Hong Kong. There is a lot of opinion out there already about his stance, or lack thereof. My question is: Who did he discuss this with before he spoke? Who advised him to take this stance? He’s a smart guy who has been quite vocal about many issues during his career, but this time he seemed unprepared and out of touch with reality. You can’t have it both ways. You’re either a committed spokesman for social issues or you’re not. If you’re going to pick your causes, you’ll get flak like James is right now.
2. ANDRE IGUODALA (Grizzlies): The veteran forward isn’t with the team and it’s unclear if he’ll play for Memphis this season. Obviously he wants to play for a contender and doesn’t want to be part of a rebuilding situation. It will be interesting to see which side blinks first. Ultimately, he makes a lot of sense for many contenders. It’s all about Memphis setting a realistic market value for him because his future definitely isn’t with the Grizzlies.
3. BOGDAN BOGDANOVIC (Kings): There’s a lot of discussion about him getting a lucrative extension in Sacramento. I see why the Kings would like to keep him. He’s a skilled player who can stroke it and has a sound court presence. He’s been a positive piece in their return to relevance. I like his motor.
4. JUSTISE WINSLOW (Heat): With Jimmy Butler in the mix and with Goran Dragic healthy, the amount of minutes and touches available are sure to shrink a bit in the perimeter world of this team. I was impressed with the strides Winslow made last season when he had to handle the ball more and run the offence. He has good awareness, strength and athleticism. Whatever opportunity he gets this year, I think he’ll be a plus player for the Heat. The light is coming on for Winslow.
5. JERAMI GRANT (Nuggets): He was a really good under-the-radar pickup this off-season by team president Tim Connelly. He was a nice contributor for OKC last season, averaging 13.6 points per game and shooting over 39 per cent from three-point range. Grant is another good addition who adds scoring pop, length, defensive versatility and know-how from a playoff environment. He’ll provide help on both ends.