Having conversations about almost anything relating to sex can be awkward for the average person. However, sex is one of the most intimate things you can do, so talking about it is something we should all learn to get more comfortable with. Sex is a broad topic, which means you have more than enough ground to cover, be it one’s STD status, sexuality, sexual trauma, or sexual kinks. It is essential to mention the gamut of sex as sometimes, we assume the term “sexual health” is only comprised of your STD status.
The World Health Organization defines sexual health as a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing as it relates to your sexuality. Since sex is such a broad topic, how can you approach talking about sexual health with a new person you’re dating? Where should you start? Perhaps choose any starting point, and see where the conversation goes from there. What’s most important is actually opening the floor to have the conversation.
“There’s a number of ways to broach the topic,” says Jen Caudle, DO, a family physician and associate professor at Rowan University. She explains that you can initiate the conversation over dinner or coffee. “Pose things as ‘I’d like to talk about something that can be difficult for some people to talk about, but it’s important to me,’ or, ‘Can I talk to you about something that’s been on my mind?’ she says. “Everybody’s going to have a different way to do this based on your personality or style and your relationship with the other person, but letting the other person know that you come from a good place and that you mean well can be helpful.”
Caudle adds that letting the person know you understand conversations around sex can be awkward is a good way to set the tone also.
Once you do get the ball rolling and begin having conversations around the topic, what types of questions should you ask the person you’re newly dating? Asking your prospect how they define sexuality and sexual health is a good starting point says Lorneka Joseph, a pharmacist, coach and speaker. She is also a certified HIV/AIDS counselor and tester.
“Listen to what this person is saying. Is sex, a taboo for them? Do they like talking about sex? Were they sexually abused? [Maybe] they don’t want to talk about sex,” she tells ESSENCE. “I think initially asking their definition [of sexual health] will also break the ice and then you can go into [other] questions, like ‘Do you believe in multiple sex partners?’ ‘Do you believe in threesomes?’ ‘Have you ever had an HIV or STD test?’”
Caudle recommends taking it a step further and going beyond just having conversations about STDs and putting some action behind it. “I recommend people get tested before they’re into it with one another as well. I think that’s very important,” she says.
There is technology you can use to exchange test results, so you’re not simply relying on each other’s word. iPlaySafe is a helpful app you can use to take an at-home STI test and securely share your results with the person you’re seeing. There is also Hula, which enables you to find a pre-verified clinic and have the results delivered from the doctor to your phone. It also tells you how much time has passed since the user was last tested for that extra blanket of safety.
If you already know your STD status and you’re living with an incurable one, disclosing that information can be tough. However, it’s an important thing to consider doing. “I have women clients I coach who have tested positive for STDs, and we are walking through building their confidence and I am teaching them how to break the ice and bring up this information, even though it’s vulnerable,” says Joseph.
The conversations around existing STDs you may have should especially come up before engaging in sexual intercourse. It’s a way to show the person you’re dating you care about their wellbeing and it gives them the chance to choose whether or not they’d like to engage in sexual activities with you.
“If I’m going to say that I care about the person that I’m dating and I am HIV positive, or I just tested for herpes and we’re about to get down, then I believe that that is showing a lack of concern and care because I did not take the time to let this person know, ‘I actually tested positive for herpes,’ or ‘I actually have chlamydia and X, Y and Z.’ That’s showing you don’t care about that person and your relationship.”
Another tip for having conversations around sex is to invite or ask permission of the person you want to speak with. Ask them if they’re comfortable having that talk before diving in, says Joseph. “Sometimes we’ll assume [they] want to talk about sex. Not necessarily, because maybe this new prospect just came out of a relationship where there was no sexual awareness or there was trauma,” she explains.
These are all tips to help you converse in a healthy way about sexual awareness, but there’s no guarantee these conversations will always run smoothly or the other person will be forthcoming. So what happens when said person doesn’t want to talk about their sexual health or disclose any information? Joseph says it could mean that they need to see a therapist about some challenges they’re having or maybe it’s just not the right time to talk about it. However, she says it could also be a red flag to look out for.
“If I’m gonna be vulnerable with you, if we’re gonna be sexually intimate together and you’re not being honest or you are afraid to talk about it, then there isn’t much conversation for us to have.”
Bristol Conversations in Education is a seminar series which showcases world-class, impactful, cross-disciplinary research about education.
The series aims to promote lively discussion around teaching, learning and leadership in education and is aimed at researchers, practitioners and policy makers. Each seminar is hosted by a leading academic from our research centres and networks. Everyone is welcome to attend. It is free to attend but registration is required.
I cannot lie… I've missed conversations in Android. It happens. Most often I fall victim to this because I've either accidentally cleared all notifications without realizing there was a message I hadn't seen, or it simply got buried under the barrage of Messages and Messenger chats.
Fortunately, starting with Android 11, Google added a feature that helps make sure you don't miss out on those more important conversations.
The feature in question is called Priority conversations. Once you've set a conversation as a priority, it will get its own section within the Notification Shade that makes it easier to catch them.
In some cases (such as with Facebook Messenger), those conversations will be placed in bubbles that appear and remain on your home screen until you delete them.
By making use of Priority conversations, I haven't missed a single important missive since.
Before you dive into this, think carefully about what conversations you want to add as a Priority. If you add too many conversations to the feature, you'll wind up inundated anyway and will probably miss out in the end. To that end, choose wisely.
As I mentioned, this feature arrived in Android 11, so you'll need a device running at least that version of the OS. You'll also need some conversations to add, which can be taken from the Android Messages app, Facebook Messenger, Slack, WhatsApp, and more. That's all you need. Let's make this a priority.
Also: Best Android phones
At this point, those conversations you've added to the Priority list will now (at least) show up in the Priority section of the Notification Shade or as Bubbles on your home screen. This is a great way to ensure you don't miss out on anything from those contacts who should be considered a priority.
If you’re currently using a dating app, you know how easy it is to fall into too many conversations. Who doesn’t like to trial a little from column A and column B? Plus, when you’re first getting to know someone, it feels like a good idea to keep your options open until you find someone you really click with. But is having multiple conversations really the best move?
According to Laurel House, an eharmony relationship expert, the answer is yes. “Online dating is an excellent way to diversify your dating opportunities. More than diversifying when it comes to the dating platform, you get to date people with varying religions, races, ages, life paths, professions, interests, etc,” she tells Lifehacker. “While you may historically only date one specific type of person, with access to an array of other ‘types’ now is the time to be an ‘equal opportunity dater’ and date differently. If you go in with an open mind, you just might surprise yourself and find that your perfect partner is the opposite of your typical type.”
If you do open yourself to dating different types, obviously the number of potential dates will expand. But that doesn’t need to be overwhelming, House says.
“The majority won’t pass the pre-qualifying phase and they are to be eliminated. What’s great about online dating is you don’t have to waste any in-person time, while minimizing hard feelings because you are ending it before it ever really begins,” she explains. So with that in mind, how many dating conversations is the perfect amount?
Having multiple conversations with different people doesn’t provide you permission to be careless with people’s hearts. “Just because you’re dating a couple of different people, doesn’t mean that you are superficial, flighty, or a player,” House says. “That being said, you don’t want to communicate with more than nine people at once. Communicating with too many can numb your individual feelings, and communicating with too few can make you crave more.”
Her magic number? Three.
“You can meaningfully connect with about three people at once,” House says. “Meaningfully means that you are having honest, vulnerable, connecting conversations. You have moved your communication off the app and to the phone, possibly into real life. And you can continue to date three people in real life, as you further hone in and focus on what it is that you truly need in a relationship. In dating several people you have several choices, and with choices, you have the opportunity to make a thoughtful decision.”
While it can be argued that most of us are hard-wired to latch our attention onto one person at a time, House says dating only one person at once can create “self-imposed pressure” to make it work since you don’t have any other prospects.
“In that pressurized place, you might feel and act out from a sense of lack, which might propel you to appear and feel fearful, insecure, needy, or desperate,” she explains. “When fear of losing someone is your guiding force, you may make poor decisions. When you’re out with that one person, you feel a high.”
But if you’re dating multiple people, she says that most of us will feel less of a high with each person, which is actually a good thing. “When you don’t have the dopamine high flooding your brain and your judgment, you can think clearly and are more apt to spot those crucial red flags.”
If you like the idea of “more the merrier,” it’s helpful to keep in mind that communicating with more than nine people on an app can create confusion. It’s easy to forget conversations, facts, and feelings. And while details and facts are important, feelings are even more so.
“You might be having a great conversation with one person. You are sharing and connecting and feeling an increased interest in this particular person,” she says. “But if you then shift attention to one of the other many people who you are talking with, you might actually forget the heightened feelings that you momentarily had.”
Which explains why people frequently fall off when it comes to app dating—even potentially one of your magic three. “You might think you are having a great conversation with someone, and then suddenly they stop responding, but you can’t take it personally,” she says. “We don’t know what is happening on their end. Maybe they were communicating with someone else first and, despite having a connection with you, their connection with someone else accelerated and deepened more quickly—and it has nothing to do with you.”
How do you separate your feelings from each of your magic three? House says it’s a matter of strategy and detachment.
“While on a date with each individual, be all into that person at that moment. But then unattached once that date or conversation is over so that you can then be totally present with others. I call it all in, unattached,” she says. “This strategy allows you to be totally present with each person, thereby giving each individual relationship the respect and presence that it deserves. It is difficult to have a confident vulnerable connected presence with more than three people. You must be heart-opened, present, and aware within each individual relationship. That is difficult to do with more than three people.”
How often do you move through your day operating on autopilot?
You may have a conversation with a colleague, thinking that you’re listening–only to reflect later and realize you don’t remember a single word that was said.
Or perhaps you find yourself in a meeting, feeling frustrated, but unable to put words to your feelings.
Leadership coach and consultant, Chuck Wisner is on a mission to change these behaviors. His new book, Conscious Conversations: Transforming How We Talk, Listen, and Interact, explores how thoughtfully reflect and collaborate with others before situations and relationships go sideways.
In this interview Wisner discusses how you can master the art of curious, courageous conversation for better work and a better life.
Melody Wilding: What led you to write this book? Is there a certain story or event that led you to write it?
Chuck Wisner: Two stories pop up for me. The first is related to how the four types of conversations informed the structure for my book. Years ago, I worked with an executive named Jamie, a talented engineer and a thoughtful leader. A few years later, we reconnected over a drink, where Jamie said, “You gave me so many tools and practices that have helped me navigate my conversations and relationships at home and work, but I’m having trouble connecting the tools. Is there a way to organize and simplify them?” At the time, I didn’t have an answer, but his questions got me wondering about how I could structure it all to make it practical. Months later, it occurred to me that the four conversations could be the answer to Jamie’s questions.
Secondly, my clients often said, “Life would’ve been much easier if I’d learned these concepts in elementary school.” Or, “Moving forward, I’m going to be a very different kind of leader.” Or, “I’ve never really paid attention to how judgmental I am.” Conversations fill our days, yet we were never taught their DNA—how they work or what they are made of.
Great thinkers and teachers of the philosophy of language and linguistics have written much about communication and relationships. But their work tends to be inaccessible. Their books are dense, and they live mostly on the bookshelves of universities. I wrote this book to make the theories understandable and practical so we can wake up from autopilot and engage in conscious conversations.
Wilding: You argue that to have better conversations, we need to start within ourselves. Why is it important to explore our private conversations?
Wisner: In conversation, we focus on the give-and-take exchange between us and others. It sounds something like this:
“What do you think about the progress we’ve made on the project?” asks Juan.
“Too soon to tell,” replies Melissa, Juan’s boss.
“The deadline is coming up,” says Juan.
“We’ve got this,” says Melissa.
That’s what their conversation sounds like on an objective surface level. But while speaking, they were both engaged in a more telling inner dialogue below the surface. Those are their private conversations, and they are often full of judgment.
Becoming aware of what’s under the surface of our conversations is crucial for becoming better conversationalists or managing conflict more effectively. Our often-ignored private thoughts are called many things: the committee, the monkey mind, subpersonalities—or worse. They reflect the stories we live by, and they are the bedrock of our conversations. They contain truths and falsehoods that can change minds, alter relationships, and compel decisions.
We start with ourselves because our stories are the common denominator in every interaction, no matter who you’re speaking with. Exploring our private conversations is a window into the thinking beneath our thinking, and it takes courage to open that window. Every response in a conversation is imbued with our egos, beliefs, and morals. We speak according to socially acceptable norms, but our private, negative thoughts unconsciously hijack us. Our private conversations are chock full of judgments, profanity, and emotional triggers. By divulging them, we create space to reframe, reset, reconsider, or redesign a conversation.
Wilding: What are some practices readers can use to better process their internal private conversations?
Wisner: It’s easy to become aware of our private conversations and then freeze because we don’t know what to do with them. After the initial shock of the big reveal, I ask clients, “What would happen if you spilled the beans and said your private conversation out loud? And what happens when you clench and fearfully hold it inside?” Blurting out a judgment can harm a relationship and stifle a project. But each time you repress it, you create stress, harming yourself psychologically and physiologically. In other words, neither is a good option.
So what should we do?
Like crude oil—useless when directly pumped from the earth—our judgmental private thoughts don’t do us much good. But also like crude oil, we can process our inner thoughts to create a valuable resource: wisdom.
Here are four sage-like questions for processing and transforming our inner thoughts:
Wilding: How can we be more conscious in our conversations with others? What are some tools or practices readers can follow?
Wisner: Being more conscious in conversations with others starts by being more aware of our conversational patterns. Another step is to become a better observer of interactions in general. We often participate in a conversation on autopilot. We can counter that pattern by determining which type of conversation we’re engaged in.
In my book, I delineate four types of conversation: storytelling, collaborative, creative, and commitment. Each one is valuable and has its own set of tools and practices.
Cocktail party banter is an excellent example of a storytelling conversation. Collaborative conversations are useful when a team or family is trying to solve a problem or settle a disagreement. Issues with sticky solutions can benefit from a creative conversation, and decisions and actions rely on our commitment conversations.
We weave in and out of these conversations every day with little awareness. When we understand the distinctions between them, we can pay attention and become aware of what conversations we need or want to engage in. Then we can begin to investigate the unique preferences and variable skills that we bring to each type of conversation.
Wilding: What is conversational bypass and how does this show up in the workplace?
Wisner: We navigate all four conversations to some degree, but for most of us, storytelling is our preference. We identify with our stories. They make for great fiction and presentations, and they are the glue that holds our societies and cultures together. They can be beautiful, but they are also addictive and blinding. A deeply held story also closes our minds to others’ ideas and perspectives.
The runner-up is the commitment conversation. They are where the action is. Who’s doing what by when? What’s the final game plan? Business thrives on these conversations because they allow us to coordinate action with others and get stuff done. Eventually, Juan and Melissa will either stick with their commitment to the project or reconsider and reset their plan with hopes of a more successful outcome.
We love to tell our stories, and we love to get to work. That’s the beginning of the conversational bypass. Power, personalities, relationships, emotions, and unspoken thoughts all play a role in keeping the bypass alive and well. Our urge to prove that our story is right or true and our rush to action brush aside collaborative and creative conversations. In the workplace, a team that is stuck or siloed arrives at meetings with stories and decisions set in stone. They tell their stories, pretend to listen, and make a decision (or more likely not), leaving behind the possibility of exploring fresh perspectives and ideas.
Wilding: How can we make more effective requests of those we work with?
Wisner: Even though we love commitment conversations, they are so embedded in our daily lives that they play out without our complete understanding of how or why they work.
Commitment conversations begin with requests and offers. Juan asks, “What do you think about the project?” Jill’s “too soon to tell” ends the conversation. But his question could have been the beginning of a more effective commitment conversation.
A more effective request from Juan would have looked like this: “Melissa, I have a few concerns I’d like to discuss with you. Is now a good time?” Two things are happening in this revised request. Juan acknowledges Melissa’s authority and asks for her time and attention. Secondly, after processing his private conversation, he was aware and confident enough to discuss his concerns. Unless Melissa is a clueless boss, she will recognize that Juan’s concerns could be legitimate and enlightening. Their consequent conversation could conclude in an agreement to revisit the timetable, staffing, and budget for the project, which could increase the odds of success.
Fly-by requests and responses make for sloppy promises (“Could you get me some numbers for tomorrow morning?” “Sure, no problem.”) Making effective requests and avoiding the knee-jerk yes is crucial to more successful collaboration and coordination with others. Requests are inherently complex, and embedded in each are issues of timing, goals, standards of satisfaction, power issues, and our concerns for the future. When making a request, take a breath, and don’t rush into action. Spell out your desires, concerns, standards (What does “good” looks like?), and the reason for the request. Encourage the recipient to ask questions so they better understand your request. Effective requests, mutual agreements, and fulfilled promises make wiser decisions that build trust.
We likely all have a fairytale love we saw on TV that we admired and hoped to experience one day. One thing that we often forget is that even the couples in these “perfect” love stories had some sort of conflict. In Love and Basketball, Quincy and Monica had issues they had to work through. Likewise, Nina and Darius from Love Jones had to have some hard talks before getting to their happily ever after too.
If you’re in a relationship, then you may be familiar with uncomfortable conversations. Perhaps they’re something you avoid because you’re afraid of conflict or hurting your partner’s feelings. If the latter is the case, you’re not alone. “Difficult conversations can be intimidating and triggering, as many of us were not taught how to have them productively or at all,” says Dr. Jessica Smedley, licensed clinical psychologist, owner of Smedley Psychological Services, and adjunct professor.
“Difficult conversations, when done fruitfully and with love, can lead to better intimacy, relationship health, overall happiness, and investments in the future in the event children are involved, as it role models emotional resilience and love even when tough,” she says.
The ability to have difficult conversations in a relationship can indicate positive emotional health and an investment in the relationship. An inability to do so could be a red flag, Smedley warns.
Avoiding difficult conversations could also mean someone isn’t expressing themselves honestly. And when you aren’t expressing yourself and suppressing your needs, this can lead to resentment, says Melissa Ifill, a therapist and coach.
Now that we know why having these conversations is important, how do we actually have them? You can start by assuming your partner has the best intentions for you and vice versa. For instance, if the difficult conversation is about them not respecting your boundaries, you could start the conversation assuming they love you and aren’t intentionally out to disrespect you. You should then think about what you’d like the outcome of your conversation to be, Ifill advises.
“This perspective will help shape how you communicate, which will support your partner’s ability to hear you and encourage the best outcome between you,” she says.
Sometimes, even when you have the best intention at heart, difficult conversations can go left and your partner can become defensive. Although you can’t always predict or control their reaction, you can try and steer the conversation in the right direction and focus on your delivery and emotions.
“Find your calm. When we enter difficult moments calm, we are adding to the calm energy in the space. Energy is transferable, so your best bet is to find your calm before you enter the conversation and have tools to maintain it in the conversation,” Ifill says. She advises you engage in a ritual or practice that helps keep grounded before having that talk. It is also a way to build more tolerance and reduce your fight or flight reactions. Examples of calming practices could include meditating, praying, listening to your favorite song, or breathing exercises.
Another way to reduce the occurrence of fight or flight reactions on both sides is by making loving and supporting statements before communicating your thoughts and needs to your partner. An example would be saying, “I know how much you love me and I appreciate when you anticipate my needs; here is another example of how you can show me you love me,” says Smedley.
She also advises having difficult conversations in a neutral environment where there are limited distractions. “Going for a long walk or drive minimizes distractions and often keeps people’s defenses down.”
If the conversation begins to get heated, it’s ok to take a break. You may notice the conversation is getting there when your body language changes, voices are raised, or you’re talking at each other as opposed to taking turns and actively listening. Taking a break could also increase the chances of you having a healthy outcome. When taking a break, remember this is to regroup and not to avoid the conversation altogether.
“It’s important that when you take a break it is with the intention of calming down and that you resume communication when you both are able to engage in a healthy way,” Ifill says. “This is different from leaving the conversation as punishment towards your partner or suppressing how you feel to keep the peace. It’s okay to say that you need to stop now and resume later, but be sure to actually do so.”
A final tip for having difficult conversations is to be as honest as possible. This doesn’t equate to being mean. You still want to be loving and diplomatic where needed. How can you do this? By thinking about what you’re trying to say beforehand, using “I” vs. “you” statements, and focusing on expressing how their actions make you feel. Nonetheless, be honest, as it helps you address your needs. Plus, it’s important to remember that hurting your partner’s feelings doesn’t mean you don’t love them.
“I often say, honesty is the most underrated relationship value. There is so much fear around hurting our partner’s feelings, or challenges with advocating for ourselves that we aren’t honest about the dish we don’t like, the pet peeves we have, the sexual practices we prefer, or the family member we don’t feel comfortable around,” says Dr. Smedley. She adds that honesty can help you achieve the ultimate emotional and physical safety in your relationship.
If you’re ready to have a difficult conversation in your relationship, Dr. Smedley shares a quick 4-step recap on how to go about it.
1. It can be helpful to schedule the conversation. This gives both parties time to gather thoughts, work through other responsibilities they may have and discuss when emotions are settled.
2. Assume you’re on the same team and your partner wants the best for you. If there are concerns here it could be a sign of your relationship health and longevity.
3. It could be helpful to write out what you want to say and read it aloud. If it sounds too aggressive or direct, assume you are setting your partner up to be defensive. Be mindful of how you are packaging your message.
4. Strive to identify a mutually agreed upon action step or repair item. This will help to ultimately bring healing to the issue.
Click here for the original version of this mock draft
Editor’s note: Not all players will have accompanying analysis after their pick.
Without further ado, the first pick in the 2022-2023 fantasy basketball draft goes to …
No surprise here. Jokic is a fantasy basketball cheat code after posting a historic 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.3 threes and 2.4 stocks (steals plus blocks) per game with 58/34/81 shooting splits last season. He had the highest single-season Box Plus/Minus (BPM) in NBA history and is the unanimous first-overall pick here.
Coming off his best statistical season and playing a career-high 68 games, Embiid will be the focal point of a fantasy-friendly Sixers offense. As one of the most dominant big men in the league, he finished fourth in the NBA in double-doubles with 2.7 stocks on the defensive end. He should have no issues replicating a top-three performance on a per-game and totals basis if he can play at least 60 games this year.
Durant finished second on a per-game basis in 2021-22, and he’ll continue to see a 30 percent usage rate this season. I expect the Nets to finish top-10 in Pace and Offensive Rating, and KD will lead the way. He checks every box for fantasy basketball.
Giannis is the only player in NBA history to average at least 25 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.0 block in multiple seasons, and he’s done it four years in a row. He finished 10th on a per-game basis last season, but an uptick in three-pointers made while shooting over 72% from the free-throw line will help justify drafting him here.
Luka Magic is in effect. Yeah, he’s known to turn the ball over at a high rate and miss a ton of free throws, but I’m buying his numbers after the Kristaps Porzingis trade. 31.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 8.1 assists with 3.9 threes and 1.0 steal. He’s ripe for an MVP-like season.
I moved Tatum up in my latest mock draft because I think he’ll be more valuable outside of scoring and threes than Stephen Curry. He’ll command a higher usage rate, shoots a higher percentage from the field, and can check every box, similar to Kevin Durant.
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Original take: Still only 24 years old, Tatum put up career-highs in points, rebounds and assists last year with a 32% usage rate. DAWG.
The 2022 Finals MVP and four-time champion annually anchors the points, threes and free throw percentage categories in fantasy basketball. I project Curry’s minutes and usage will remain in the 30s as the centerpiece of one of the best teams in basketball.
Haliburton moves up because Harden looks passive on offense. While he’s still a first-round pick, I’m moving Harden lower (as you’ll see below) as he’s becoming more of a facilitator at this stage in his career.
Original take: If you don’t know, now you know. I’ve seen Haliburton selected in the top five in industry expert drafts, but I’m comfortable grabbing him in the top 10. I’m teetering between Haliburton and LaMelo Ball in this spot, but the former is a good bet to average the most assists per game this year and score over 20 points per night with solid peripherals. In 18 games without Malcolm Brogdon last season, Haliburton tallied 18.6 points, 10.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 threes and 1.8 steals with 50/46/89 shooting splits. Breakout!
Lillard was 13th on my draft board, but he gets a substantial boost after Harden falls, LaMelo Ball‘s ankle injury and Karl-Anthony Towns’ recovery from an illness. Lillard is healthy and has a better team, so fantasy managers should feel comfortable selecting Lillard as a top-10 pick.
Towns gets a slight boost here from pick 11 as he’s back on the court and played well in his only preseason appearance. Now, Rudy Gobert was in street clothes, but Towns looks back to form despite the reported weight loss due to his illness — nineteen points with six rebounds and six assists in his preseason debut.
Original take: The Timberwolves’ frontcourt suddenly got crowded after they traded for Utah Jazz All-Star center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert this offseason. Gobert’s presence should slide KAT to a true-stretch four, which has risks and benefits. He finished eighth on a per-game basis last year, but I’d expect his rebound numbers to drop slightly with a boost in made threes. KAT is accustomed to playing with an offensively limited frontcourt (Taj Gibson, Jarred Vanderbilt), so I’m not overly concerned about Gobert being in town. He should still be able to collect at least two stocks and be the best-shooting big man in the league. Forty-one percent from beyond the arc last year and 40% for this career, just sayin’.
My previous take had Harden “squarely in the top-10” conversation, but from what I’ve seen in the preseason, Harden is closer to last year’s version than the Harden of old. Still, he’s a first-round player for his cross-categorical contributions.
Original take: Harden’s decision to make less and return to Philly on a two-year deal shows he’s ready to ball. The hamstring injury that’s plagued him for two seasons is behind him, and he’s reportedly in great shape heading into this season. He was the only player in the NBA to post over 20+ points and 10+ assists per game in ’21-’22 and finished 15th on a per-game basis despite changing teams midseason and playing on a bum leg. A bounce-back should put him squarely in the top 10 in fantasy basketball.
A sprained ankle will cost the dynamic point guard the first couple of weeks of the regular season. He’s moving down a few spots merely because of the injury. He should still be in line for another standout, All-Star-level season.
Original take: LaMelo Ball enters his third NBA season looking to build off career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, threes made, and FT%. He’s also among the league leaders in steals. The loss of Miles Bridges might decrease his passing numbers after accounting for 23% of Ball’s assists in ’21-’22, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to see a 30% usage while filling up the box score alongside Terry Rozier.
The Suns seem like they’re going through it, but I don’t think it’ll have much bearing on Devin Booker’s production this season. He’s in his prime and an improved playmaker who’s also a walking bucket.
He’ll play more than 29 games this year, and the Nets new “big 3” looked great in Wednesday’s matchup versus the Bucks. Uncle Drew will get his, scoring-wise, but there’s still upside in him as a distributor and rebounder at the position. His high efficiency and sneaky steals make him an early second-round pick in my book.
My suspicions are trending in the right direction, as Trae Young’s assists were not what we’ve come to expect in exact years. Granted, it’s the preseason, but I think Dejounte Murray will continue to eat into his assists despite being one of the best scorers in the league.
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Original take: Trae Young has a new backcourt mate in All-Star guard Dejounte Murray, but he should still be one of the best fantasy guards this upcoming season. He’s a volume scorer who ranked fourth in usage rate last year at 34.4. I expect Hawks head coach Nate McMillan to stagger Young and Murray’s minutes at the point but also provide Young the chance to work more off-ball to create better looks on the perimeter. He should still boast substantial fantasy numbers without much offense around him and Murray.
While this may seem high for a player coming off of injury, Kawhi is one of the best two-way players in fantasy while sporting elite shooting percentages. Paul George admitted that Kawhi is the alpha for the Clippers, and despite being load managed at times, he’s one of the best on a per-game basis in fantasy basketball.
He might be better than Trae Young in fantasy this season. I’m here for another monster season, live from the A.
Will he play center or not? Not sure that it matters much for fantasy considering he just needs to STAY HEALTHY. Davis was a top-12 player on a per-game basis last season before getting injured so going back to the well. He’s too talented to go beyond the first 18 picks.
The run on perennial All-Stars continues. George is the second option of arguably the best roster in the Western Conference. He might take games off here and there, but PG, similar to Kawhi Leonard, is an exceptional two-way player. If he can cut down on his turnovers and Improve his shooting from the field, he could return to first-round value this year.
The King is back and ready to make yet another run for a title. It helps that his teammates are healthy, and while his scoring will likely take a dip, he’s one of a handful of players capable of a triple-double every night.
You’ll likely have to pay up for Ant-man, but he is undoubtedly in breakout territory. He’s well-positioned to make the jump into an All-Star this year. He’s a great source of points, steals, threes and his athleticism makes him a solid rebounder and blocker at his position.
Drafting a player from the Sacramento Kings this early may feel odd, but Sabonis is one of fantasy basketball’s most versatile big men. He won’t do a ton defensively, but he’ll be a reliable source of points, rebounds, assists and FG% as a second-round pick.
Minimal competition in the backcourt, plus he’ll likely be top five in minutes played. He’s a perfect selection when punting field-goal percentage (pair with Luka Doncic, perhaps?) but also will be among the league leaders in threes, steals and FT percentage.
His assists are down since Kyle Lowry arrived, but he’s attempting more threes in the preseason than he has in his career. He is a nice grab here for his defensive stats and double-double potential.
Mitchell finished in the top 30 in per-game value last season and top 50 the year prior. The Cavs are deep, but he’ll be the primary scorer on one of the most fantasy-friendly teams in the league. I’m expecting his points to dip, but he’ll still be one of the better guards of fantasy.
One of my breakouts, so grabbing him as an early third-round pick is the way to go.
Siakam is a stat stuffer who will finish in the top five in minutes played. He’s an ideal fit for any fantasy managers interested in punting blocks, rebounds, and FG%.
He’s got the sauce, plus he’s an exceptional passer and facilitator who can score at will. He and Donovan Mitchell can thrive together and should make for one heck of a dynamic duo in fantasy. I’m still expecting him to be one of the top distributors but provide points, threes, steals and an elite FT percentage in category leagues.
Zion tweaked his ankle in his last preseason game, but Pelicans HC Willie Green and Zion both said that “he’s doing fine.” I’m confident he is still worthy of being selected in the first three rounds.
With the school year only a few weeks old, multiple districts across the Capital Region have seen school threats, leading to more conversations about school safety.
CBS6 wanted to know how these ongoing conversations about school safety and potential threats affect our students?
"Because of the media, the news, everything they see they're going to see every school shooting and all the information that's out there,” said Christina Palumbo, a parent from Albany County. “I don't know that not discussing it in the school is going to necessarily protect them from it in the real world anyway."
MORE: Middle school student accused of possessing toy gun, 2nd incident in a week for district
Capital Region clinical psychologist Dr. Rudy Nydegger says the last few years of school have been anything but normal for students when it comes to safety.
"Now safety takes on a much broader range of events than it did before," said Nydegger. "Many of the schools look different; they have different procedures, they have different safety protocols and now kids are having to be educated, trained, and coached in safety procedures that involve their health and their physical safety."
Nydegger says the increased conversation of school threats, lockout drills, and more can have a negative effect on a child- but it does vary.
"Some kids it doesn't bother, some kids make it more likely they'll act out violently. What we do know is that being exposed to a lot of particularly grotesque violence is likely to make a child more anxious, more aggressive, it will affect them in some way or another. it doesn't mean we have to shelter them from these things,” he added.
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Dr. Nydegger suggests parents be active in monitoring, supervising, and have some guidelines when it comes to social media intake as a way to help.
Parents across the Capital Region say the increased conversation does worry them for their own children but say keeping the conversation going is important.
"Our kids don't live in the sheltered lives we did in the 50s and 60s. it's everywhere, it's on social media, on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, it's just everywhere,” said Cory Seelye Dixon, a parent in Warren County. “So yeah, it's a possibility and we just have to deal with it and teach our kids right from wrong. "
Dr. Nydegger says while it can be daunting, there are positives in having these conversations.
"So, provide them appropriate information, but then one of the things I think is a good thing to do is here are the things that you can do to help yourself feel safer in these situations. there are things you can do that can be really helpful to others."
Palumbo adds, it can provide kids the tools they need when in an emergency. "Having a plan gives these kids a little bit of confidence in case something does happen, they don't freak out and they know what to do. i think that's in life, in general having a plan is probably just a good idea ."
MORE: Glens Falls meets to discuss school safety after second incident in a week