• What a week around here at Hoop Ball. We’ve been working around the clock for about three months and this week always reminds me of when a basketball or track coach says the finish line is ‘here’ only to tell you that it’s ‘there’ when you pushed to get to the former.

    That’s okay – we’ll make it. We’re really energized around here, actually. But I’ll definitely be catching up on sleep this weekend.

    But not tonight! It’s time to drop a Daily Dish so let’s get to it!

    SILENCE OF THE LAMB

    The Hornets ran away from the Magic in this one and, like much of what we’ll discuss, it’s a throwaway mid-October game so let’s not get too crazy here with the analysis. Cody Zeller (23 minutes, eight points, eight boards, one steal) has secured his typical low-20 minute role and Willy Hernangomez (six points, five boards, one steal, 17 minutes) is the backup so far.

    Jeremy Lamb (eight points, seven boards, one steal, one block, 25 minutes) had a low key good line and prior to Friday night he was an easy buy low target, so this line will help that along. Malik Monk (11 points, two assists, two threes) is not ready for most fantasy leagues.

    Miles Bridges (15 points, eight boards, one block, three treys) played 14 minutes and broke the pinball machine and that’s an outlier in a blowout environment, but he’s still a Shane Battier clone and worth watching in redraft leagues. Dynasty league owners can treat him like a future mid-round guy. Ignore MKG’s line (12 points, nine boards, five assists, two blocks, 22 minutes).

    DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?

    There is nothing of substance to be said about the Magic in this 32-point loss. Jonathan Isaac owners have to be panicking over his 14-minute outing with two points, five boards and one steal. This is not the game to do that. If you conservatively projected his numbers he’s going to have late-round value at a minimum and there is untold upside beyond that. The buzz surrounding his name probably makes a buy low deal pretty hard right now, but get those offers ready.

    THE OTHER GUYS

    Face it, you’re here for the Alonzo Trier analysis (eight points, three boards, one steal). He’s a deep league guy at best. But yeah, the Knicks heh.

    Enes Kanter (29 points, 10 boards, one steal) showed why we had him way up in the early rounds, and Tim Hardaway Jr. dropped 29 points with three steals, three treys and 6-of-7 FTs. THJ just needs to stay healthy and he’ll exceed his mid-to-(mostly)-late round ADP.

    Frank Ntilikina scored nine points with four assists, three steals and a three over 31 minutes, and I think he’s worth a look in 12-14 team leagues as a late-round guy. The consistency won’t be there but the money counting potential is. Trey Burke (eight points, five boards, four assists, one steal, two threes, 30 minutes) started to show the stat set fatigue that never hit him last year. Kevin Knox dropped in 17 points with six boards and three treys in 28 minutes, but had no other stats, which is why we didn’t have him rated highly in the ranks.  Mario Hezonja played just 13 minutes and that’s hilarious since the Kings relied on signing him as their plan this summer, and he seemingly eschewed them for playing time reasons.

    INTERNET BUZZ

    Take a spin around the Internet and you’ll be told you’re stupid if you didn’t draft Caris LeVert, or to pat yourself on the back if you drafted Caris LeVert, and all in the first week of action. If those aren’t conditions for a sell-high (in Week 1) then I don’t know what is.

    LeVert has always been an intriguing talent that hasn’t been quite able to put things together, hindered by a stat set that shows promise but has ultimately let him down.

    Expecting him to take a step forward this season was sort of Basketball 101, and as usual the operative question was where to slot him in. He’s probably a 10-25 percent chance at best to land in the top-50 and that would be if he stayed healthy all season.

    So that leaves him as a mid-to-late round guy with a bit of a logjam to work through. Factor in Spencer Dinwiddie (10 points, three boards, six assists, two threes, 31 minutes), who is good, and D’Angelo Russell (15 points, five boards, six assists, one steal, one block, two threes) – who is not – and there are a lot of mouths to feed.

    LeVert has gotten a lot of local hype and the early results suggest a top-100 finish with upside if he can truly emerge. Jarrett Allen (15 points, 11 boars, four blocks, 34 minutes) is off to a great start and if he gets this many minutes he will be an easy early round guy.

    OSMANIA

    The Cavs are bad and there are going to be nights where everybody struggles. George Hill (seven points, two assists), Collin Sexton (14 points, one assist) and Rodney Hood (10 points, two assists) all fit the bill here. Cedi Osman (22 points, three boards, eight assists, four treys, one steal, 35 minutes) has been great to start the year but efficiency is probably the thing owners can hang on to the most.

    The Cavs will be terrible and it would be extremely optimistic to think he can somehow carry on at high volume and not have the bottom fall out somewhere. It’s a sell high situation for sure, but keep in mind that he could plod his way to top-75 value pretty easily, assuming he’s truly getting starter’s minutes going forward.

    AWKWARD

    The Wolves are going to be a mess until there is finality to the Jimmy Butler situation and everybody is asking about KAT (12 points, nine boards, four blocks, two threes), who had a solid line that lacked pop so folks will still be on edge.

    After getting his lunch money and his chain taken from him it’s understandable that he might be a bit stunned. He’s still the same guy you drafted, but the speed bumps will etch away at his overall value. I’m not ruling out that they all sing Cumbaya but it could also be a long haul, which wouldn’t be ideal. Still, I’m assessing each of the guys the way I normally would.

    THE BOSTON BUNCH

    The Celtics lost in Toronto and I’d have loved to have watched the Eastern Conference Finals early. The box score was pretty indicative of what I thought the Celtics would be this season, though Jayson Tatum has gotten a bunch of Gordon Hayward’s minutes to start the year.

    Al Horford (14 points, 10 boards, nine assists, three treys, one steal, one block) went huge, Hayward was low-end serviceable (great podcast name) with 14 points, seven boards, one steal and one three, and Jaylen Brown showed why we weren’t all that high on him with 13 points, four rebounds, three treys and nothing else in 24 minutes. It’s a stat set issue not a talent issue.

    This is going to be a terribly boring fantasy situation.

    THE BENCH BUNCH

    The Raptors are going to mow teams down and B150 subs know how many Raptors bench guys I had highly ranked. Fred VanVleet turned in 11 points, six rebounds, seven assists and two threes, while Delon Wright (left adductor) has been out and that seems like a day-to-day thing.

    Pascal Siakam (four points, five boards, two assists) started and logged 18 minutes, which isn’t looking great right now but I’ve always viewed him in the aggregate. His minutes and production can only rise and I think he has a late-round floor with really good upside. Fluid league owners might not have the luxury, though.

    Serge Ibaka (21 points) and Kawhi Leonard (31 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two threes, 9-of-9 FTs) jumped off the page, and you’ll be glad to know I wasn’t gunshy grabbing Leonard this year after last year’s brutality (gumption!).

    Jonas Valanciunas saw just 14 minutes and barely produced (four points, five rebounds) and it’s an easy buy low moment before people understand this rotation will be fluid and that he’ll have plenty of solid games in his future.

    SHOCKER VETERANS NOT PLAYING IS A GOOD THING

    If only the Kings would just trot these small lineups out the rest of the year and forget they ever had veterans. If I had known they weren’t going to force bad vets into the lineup from the jump I’d have made some other team my six-star play in the over/unders article (I took the under on the Kings win totals).

    De’Aaron Fox (18 points, seven boards, six assists, no cash counters) has looked good with solid touches, and in general the absence of the vets means they aren’t laughably bad. They’re quick, athletic and they’ve made two good teams wake up mid-game and play.

    If Dave Joerger throws up the white flag on Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos, the entire lot of them get a 2-3 round boost because they could trend very uptempo, they’ll still have no defense and there will be a lot of shootouts.

    That means Buddy Hield (19 points, three treys) will be the mid-round asset we had him as and could be the almost early round asset that other ringers had him as. Still, it’s early and this is the Kings and this is Dave Joerger. Willie Cauley-Stein (20 points, seven boards, no defensive stats) can’t have nights like these if he wants to really push mid-round value, but he looks like he’ll get a nice contract this summer at this rate.

    Marvin Bagley was so brutal on defense that it’s hard to describe, but he was very good on offense and 19 points, eight boards, three assists, three steals and one block put him on the radar as a must-add guy, but I just don’t think folks should get used to that. He needs garbage time every night to have defensive numbers that help offset the inconsistency and probable foul shooting issues.

    TRAE DAY

    Alex Len managed just nine points, four rebounds, two assists and a three in 26 minutes, and he’s profiling as a late-round guy at best right now, which is unfortunate because a new address and Dewayne Dedmon’s injury gave him at least minimal intrigue. Even when Kent Bazemore sucks he gets you three points, eight rebounds, two steals and one block in 22 minutes.

    Trae Young scored 20 points on 7-of-18 shooting with two rebounds, nine assists, one steal, one block and three turnovers in 33 minutes, which would represent a huge win if that keeps up. Jeremy Lin (nine points, two assists, 17 minutes) is probably playing his way into shape and will eventually be a check on Young if he slips up, but so far the Young believers are winning in unimportant Week 1. You already knew Taurean Prince (28 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals, four treys) was good.

    TRIPLE-J IS THREE TIMES A REGULAR, SINGULAR J OR YOUR MONEY BACK

    Jaren Jackson Jr. has been everything folks would hope and then three times that original amount. He scored 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting with two threes, seven rebounds, one steal and two blocks in 28 minutes against the Hawks, which was helped a bit by low minutes totals for JaMychal Green (14 minutes), the opponent and the blowout nature of the game.

    Garrett Temple scored 30 points with five threes, four rebounds, one steal and one block in this one, and I can guarantee you that he’s not doing that again, nor do I think you should run out and pick him up. Kyle Anderson is probably in the last game of his buy low phase, as he logged just 20 minutes but had a classic three points, four rebounds, four assists, four steals and one block.

    NO QUID PRO QUO

    Victor Oladipo didn’t bust the box score but 25 points, five boards, one three and one block at least show he’s somewhat there, but the lack of defensive numbers so far affirm some folks’ concerns about regressions. My thoughts are that it’s way too early for that and he’s a bit of a buy low target, if that’s possible.

    Myles Turner (11 points, four rebounds, one block, 27 minutes) got the money and hasn’t done anything with it, while Domantas Sabonis (12 points, 13 rebounds, one steal, 22 minutes) is putting up the double-double stats already. I wanted to go big on Turner but ultimately couldn’t pull the trigger and had him low compared to everybody else, and I think the early hype just sort of grandfathered him into last year’s ADPs. Sabonis is a late-round guy at best.

    EVERYTHING IS COMING UP MILWAUKEE

    The Bucks’ box score is both bountiful and predictable so far. Giannis (26 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block) looks like he has taken another step forward and has been extremely active so far. Still, the added weight and uncertainty with his jumper get in the way of his fantasy value.

    Brook Lopez (eight points, three rebounds, one block, two threes) and John Henson (10 points, nine rebounds, three blocks) shared the center minutes, and if that holds up for Henson he might have late-round appeal in 9-cat formats.

    Khris Middleton (23 points, four rebounds, four assists, one steal, five threes) was one of my favorite picks of the year, as he’s got the consistency and the upside all wrapped up into a second to third round package. It’s been so far so good for an under the radar B150 guy in Malcolm Brogdon (15 points, four rebounds, seven assists, two threes, two steals).

    NERLY

    The Thunder struggled in the box score in their loss to the Clippers, so owners probably don’t want to read too much into the game as a whole. Dennis Schroder (eight points, eight assists, 2-of-15 FGs) will settle back into a mid-to-late round value in 8-cat leagues, and Russell Westbrook will return as soon as the next game to help normalize the squad.

    The most interesting fantasy stuff might be happening with Nerlens Noel, who is getting just pure backup minutes but as you know, has the upside. He scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting with five rebounds and a steal in 15 minutes.

    My thoughts here is that he should sit on a solid 16 minutes if Steven Adams stays healthy and so does the frontcourt for the most part. But as injuries inevitably strike he’ll creep up from there and once he gets to 20 mpg he’s the proverbial late-round guy with upside beyond that. Jerami Grant was low key good with four points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 28 minutes. Expect more of it.

    UNLEASH THE BOBAN?

    If you were getting riled up by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s first game this one should dampen the enthusiasm, as the rookie managed just two points with three rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes. He’s going to be tough to hold in standard leagues and owners should consider their options.

    Boban got on the floor again for 16 minutes and put up 13 points with five rebounds and no other counting stats. He’s a rest risk on any given night so it’s hard to put too much stock in picking him up in standard formats.

    It’s been a bit of a slow start for Montrezl Harrell (three points, four rebounds, two blocks, 13 minutes) and that was to be expected to some degree. I’m not moving on this early unless it’s a shallow or fluid league. There were some lopsided lines on the Clippers’ side in this one, so owners probably want to cut the strugglers some slack (Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley).

    FOR WHOM THE BELL TOILS

    Unless you want to talk about how Draymond Green (14 points, nine rebounds, six assists, one steal, two blocks, one three, five turnovers) slid to the fifth round in some drafts, the only story in Oakland is Jordan Bell. I thought he looked out of shape when I saw him in the preseason and I pushed him down in the ranks, but you try not to get too reactive to these small bits of information you’re getting in a jokey setting.

    Clearly, he’s on the outside looking in and Damian Jones (four points, four rebounds, two steals, two blocks) is the top center to own, though we can’t assume he’s going to become a golden god for defensive stats just because of this early performance. He’s just getting consistent minutes so for the time-being, that plays.

    Bell is a hold because the first week of the season isn’t reliable and he has tremendous upside, but that leash in a not extremely fluid or shallow league is probably in the 1-2 week range, tops. It really does look like he missed his window and DeMarcus Cousins’ eventual return mandated that Bell have a fast start and mark his 22-25 minute territory.

    Kevon Looney (four points, two boars, one steal) is actually the second ranked of the three in terms of short-term projections, at least for now.

    HIPSTER INGLES STUFF

    The stupidest thing I had tweeted to me in the at least three years after founding the Joe Ingles bandwagon was that he would have refused any amount of money to stay in Utah.

    Yes, he gave the proverbial ‘wouldn’t have left Utah’ quotes and surely he wanted to stay there, but if your team needed a small forward and didn’t offer in excess of $2-3 million per year over his current deal then they whiffed. And no I don’t want to hear about that he didn’t give teams a chance as a restricted free agent that ultimately signed with Utah.

    That’s what agents are for. The agent tells the player that there is a theoretical offer and (poof magic sound/cloud of magic dust), it magically changes their course of action. Or not. But at least you tried and showed competency targeting the right assets.

    So seeing him run Iso Joe en route to 27 points with four rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and seven treys against the Warriors was fun, and everybody will be three years late talking about how underrated or awesome he is because fantasy sports and gambling isn’t for everybody.

Fantasy News

  • Kobi Simmons
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    On Sunday, President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced Kobi Simmons' contract had been converted to a two-way deal.

    Simmons did enough during the preseason to secure a spot on the Hornets' roster. In four preseason games Simmons averaged 4.3 points, 2.0 assists and 1.5 rebounds, over an average of 12 minutes per game. Simmons is highly unlikely to have an active role in fantasy this season.

    Source: NBA

  • Kelly Olynyk
    C, Miami Heat

    Regarding Kelly Olynyk's (right knee bone bruise) role for the start of the season, head coach Erik Spoelstra stressed keeping him active but not forcing Olynyk into more minutes than he can handle.

    The Heat are going to take things slow with Olynyk and make sure the injury does not become a persistent issue. It is a pain for his owners to wait through, but Olynyk looked good in his limited preseason performances. He may not get his full compliment of minutes after being a full participant in practice for only the past five days. However, it should only be a matter of weeks until Olynyk is back to his normal workload.

    Source: Khobi Price on Twitter

  • Tyler Ulis
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    The Kings have waived Tyler Ulis and Hollis Thompson.

    Ulis has been injured during training camp, but had little chance of making the roster with Cory Jospeh and Yogi Ferrell in front of him. Other teams may want to see him healthy before taking a shot on him. Thompson should garner some interest around the league fairly quickly.

    Source: Jason Jones on Twitter

  • Vlatko Cancar
    SF, Denver Nuggets

    Vlatko Cancar (ankle) hurt his ankle during Sunday's practice.

    The ankle injury may put his availability in question for opening night. An update should be coming out with more information regarding the injury, but Cancar should not be on any draft boards regardless.

    Source: Harrison Wind on Twitter

  • Rodney McGruder
    SG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Rodney McGruder (high ankle sprain) is questionable to play in Tuesday's opening game versus the Lakers.

    McGruder is noted to be progressing well, but high ankle sprains tend to be tricky and if re-injured could shelve a player for several weeks. If McGruder is healthy enough to suit up, he figures absorb some of Paul George's allotted minutes.

    Source: Tomer Azarly on Twitter

  • Alen Smailagic
    PF, Golden State Warriors

    Alen Smailagic (right ankle sprain) has a chance to play in Thursday's season opener.

    Smailagic was expected to miss a decent amount of time, so him not being ruled out is somewhat shocking. There is no reason to look at Smailagic in any drafts, but him missing time could funnel more minutes to Jordan Poole.

    Source: Logan Murdock on Twitter

  • Willie Cauley-Stein
    C, Golden State Warriors

    Willie Cauley-Stein (left foot strain) will not play in Thursday's season opener.

    WCS has been cleared fr non-contact drills, but with Kevon Looney looking healthy it makes the call easier to take the cautious approach. WCS is looking like Looney's primary backup.

    Source: Logan Murdock on Twitter

  • Dennis Smith Jr.
    PG, New York Knicks

    The Knicks will not announce their starting point guard until Wednesday.

    Death, taxes and Knicks head coach David Fizdale doing Fizdale-like stuff. The battle has been between Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr., while Frank Ntilikina sits in the background. It appears that after a few more days of practice Fizdale will have the sample size he needs to make confirm his starter, but for now they both remain as late-round fliers.

    Source: Marc Berman on Twitter

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma (left foot stress reaction) has been ruled out of Tuesday's season opener.

    This isn't a shocker considering Kuzma has yet to be cleared for contact. He is still participating in non-contact half-court drills, but has no firm timetable to return.

    Source: Bill Oram on Twitter

  • Kevon Looney
    PF-C, Golden State Warriors

    Kevon Looney (right hamstring strain) will play in Thursday's game and possibly open as the starting center.

    Looney practiced on Sunday and looked good to go. Looney is the favorite to start, it just seems like his health will determine whether or not he does. Looney offers late-round appeal in standard leagues and remains a sleeper on most boards.

    Source: Monte Pool on Twitter