Thibodeau values versatility in his players, and he'll try to see how malleable Muhammad might be as he evaluates the fourth-year player in the coach's first training camp with Minnesota. Even more so than versatility, however, Thibodeau puts a premium on defense, which is an area Muhammad may be less equipped to prove his worth. While he's said that his primary focus this offseason was improving on that end of the floor, Muhammad still has a long way to go before being even a passable defender, as his 113.8 Defensive Rating last season ranked second to last in the NBA among those who played enough minutes to qualify. Because of that deficiency along with Thibodeau's historical tendency to ride his starters heavily, it's tough to envision Muhammad's production taking a dramatic step forward in 2016-17.
Butler is in line for an expanded role Sunday against the 49ers if Dez Bryant (knee) is unable to play, ESPN's Todd Archer reports.
Even if Bryant plays, which seems doubtful at the moment, he'll likely be little more than a decoy, but a Bryant scratch would mean a lot more snaps for Butler. The former Raider has yet to show much chemistry with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, catching just one of his four targets for 16 yards through the first three games, but he showed flashes of his deep-threat potential in 2015 in place of Bryant before Butler got hurt himself. He could be worth picking up in deeper leagues if you're scrambling to plug a hole at WR.
Embiid practiced with the Sixers' projected starters during Wednesday's session, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated reports.
While coach Brett Brown has yet to formally announce his opening night lineup, the inclusion of Embiid at center in a unit with Jerryd Bayless, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons provides a close approximation of what the Sixers might roll out when the season begins, as Bayless, Covington and Simmons are all considered virtual locks to start. As expected, Embiid hasn't been limited during the first week of training camp, though he's acknowledged that he still needs more time to knock off the rust after missing the first two years of his professional career with a fractured right foot. The Sixers recognize that conditioning may be a concern for Embiid, and have already suggested that he'll be held out of one game of back-to-back sets throughout the season. In addition, he could face nightly caps on his minutes, which may prevent him from posting high-end production in 2016-17. That being said, if he makes it through this season without any injury setbacks and flashes the elite skills that made him the No. 3 overall pick in 2014, Embiid could be a breakout candidate in 2017-18.
Subban stopped 30 of 34 shots while playing the first two periods of Wednesday's 5-1 preseason loss to the Red Wings.
Per WEEI.com's DJ Bean, a leaky defense in front of Subban on Wednesday did the goalie no favors, but to his credit, Subban "also made ton of big saves on breakaways, partial breaks and even a 2-on-0" in the contest. More importantly, the promising Subban, who suffered a fractured larynx back in February, has recovered from the injury and is thus on track to resume his development as a pro. With the Bruins having added veteran Anton Khudobin to back up Tuukka Rask, it looks like the 22-year-old Subban will probably start the season at the AHL level, a scenario that would result in valuable game action/experience for the 2012 first-rounder.
Brown scored a power-play goal and added an assist during Wednesday's 6-1 preseason trouncing of the Ducks.
Brown had been the topic of conversation early in the offseason, with general manager Dean Lombardi stating that he would not buy out the winger. Those talks have since been quieted, and with this two-point performance, it's possible the 31-year-old is looking to respond. However, it's just one preseason game, and we'll need to see this type of production translate to the regular season before giving him fantasy relevancy again. The 2003 No. 13 pick hasn't surpassed 30 points since 2011-12, so it's not to be expected.
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