With Dwight Howard departing for the Hawks in free agency this summer, Capela is poised to slide in as the Rockets' starting center, so the added muscle should prove beneficial as he fights fellow bigs on the boards. Capela's offensive game remains rather primitive and his free-throw shooting is atrocious, but he's a true difference maker on the defensive end, particularly as a rim protector. With more minutes headed his way this season, expect Capela to take a noticeable jump from his 2015-16 averages of 7.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 0.8 steals per game.
Pekovic was a consistent double-double threat for the Timberwolves from 2011-12 through 2014-15, but he was never able to truly recover after requiring surgery on his right Achilles in April 2015. He returned from the procedure last January, but played only 12 games before enduring a setback with the Achilles. With the injury still bothering him heading into training camp and not likely to improve over time, it appears the 30-year-old's playing career will come to a premature end, according to John Krawczynski of the Associated Press. While the Wolves' insurance policy will cover the remaining two years and $23.7 million on his contract, it's expected that he'll be waived in the near future to open up a roster spot for another player.
Splitter expected to be back to full strength prior to training camp all along, so it comes as little surprise he's been cleared for action. It appears the Hawks may ease him back into action and have him sit out some drills here and there during training camp, but for the most part, he'll a full participant. With that said, Splitter should be good to go for the start of the regular season and is expected to start the year as the direct backup to newly acquired Dwight Howard. With his positioning on the depth chart and injury-riddled history, Splitter may have a tough time putting up consistent fantasy relevant numbers.
Sims struggled to field interest at the start of his 2015-16 campaign, but eventually signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Nets in March and was then signed for the rest of the year. He finished last season playing in 14 games, posting averages of 6.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.0 block over 19 minutes per outing. Sims will join the Jazz on what is likely a non-guaranteed training camp deal, so he'll have to battle with the likes of Jeff Withey, Marcus Paige and Quincy Ford for the 15th and final spot on the team's regular season roster. The fourth-year pro out of Georgetown should open up training camp operating behind the likes of Rudy Gobert, Boris Diaw, Derrick Favors and Trey Lyles in the frontcourt, making it hard to believe he'll find significant minutes available.
Pachulia agreed to a team-friendly deal with the Warriors during free agency back in July, after the team opted to trade away Andrew Bogut, who started at center in 66 games during the 2015-16 campaign. With Festus Ezeli also no longer on the roster, Pachulia has a clear route to enter the season as the team's starting center, which was confirmed by coach Steve Kerr on Wednesday. Pachulia should provide a solid defensive presence for the Warriors, while he'll also be counted on to clean up on the boards. However, with a stacked roster and the opportunity to play small ball throughout the season as well, there's a chance Pachulia sees a slight decrease in playing time during his 12th NBA season.
Pekovic was able to resume working out earlier this month, but it's clear the big man is still suffering from the effects of his April 2015 surgery to repair his right Achilles. He was limited to 12 games last season before suffering a setback with the Achilles and being shut down for good in February. Though Pekovic is owed $23.7 million over the next two years, the Timberwolves appear to have abandoned hope of him contributing again, as the team went out and signed Jordan Hill and Cole Aldrich this offseason to serve as the backups to Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns, respectively. With that in mind, don't be surprised if the Timberwolves waive Pekovic before the season begins in order to open up a roster spot.
Anthony has career averages of 2.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks across nine seasons. The veteran center may be a longshot to make it on the Spurs' final opening night roster as the center position is locked up by Pau Gasol, Dewayne Dedmon, and David Lee, but if he does, he'll be used for depth purposes.
Embiid is yet to play a single minute in the NBA since the Sixers made him the No.3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, but he's expected to finally be ready this season after fully recovering from a pair of operations on his right foot. If all goes as planned, Embiid will be Philadelphia's primary center, but he'll begin the year on a minutes restriction and is not expected to play in both games of back-to-back sets. Just how restricted Embiid's minutes will ultimately be remains to be seen, and the Sixers indicated that they'll consult with the internal medical staff during training camp before making that decision.
After missing the last couple months of the Grizzlies' season, the playoffs, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio to recover from a broken foot, Gasol has been declared fully healthy with a week left until training camp. Ronald Tillery suggests that Memphis might put Gasol on a minute restriction initially since he turns 32 in January and the mid-foot fracture has proven tricky for players in the past. However, Tillery also notes that Gasol recently returned to town for strength and conditioning, and that the big man has reportedly been playing pickup games as well. Gasol turned in the best statistical campaign of his career in 2014-15, averaging 17.4 points (on 49.4 percent shooting), 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 0.9 steals, which he failed to live up to last year through 52 games. Nevertheless, the addition of Chandler Parsons may help in easing Gasol's burden to create for himself and others offensively and allow the former Defensive Player of the Year to focus his efforts on protecting the paint.
Embiid expected to face some playing time restrictions at first, so this comes as no surprise. The former No. 3 overall pick hasn't played in game setting in over two years, and may need to shake off some rust in order to play to his full potential. This makes Embiid somewhat of a risky pick this season, but his if he keeps his health, he could become very valuable at the center position in the coming seasons.