• It was an interesting Thursday night with yet another reshuffle, frustrating as they may be, of the Knicks’ starting lineup and a barn burner between the Warriors and the Blazers.

    Fear the Beard

    The Rockets are powering up once more and thanks to the recent addition of Austin Rivers, they’ve gained some of that guard depth that they lost in the absence of Chris Paul (hamstring). So far, Rivers has produced low-end production in fantasy but on Thursday his 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, two triples and one steal were actually worthy of 14 to 16-team deep leagues. His presence allowed James Harden to focus on what was important, winning the game. Win they did, thanks in part to his monster game of 45 points (nine 3s), two rebounds, six assists and one block. Clint Capela chipped in with a massive double-double performance, dropping 24 points, 18 boards and one block. And so, the Rockets burned out the Celtics, 127-113.

    On the Celtics side, Al Horford performed well considering his managed minutes limit of 20-24 minutes. He had a 15-4-4 line to his name. Unfortunately, Jason Tatum could not say the same and had a truly sub-par performance with four points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal. Kyrie Irving did Kyrie Irving things with a 23-point, 11-assist gem that was supplemented by a full stat line.

    When even Luke (Kornet) and the Force is not enough

    Poor Enes Kanter was on the wrong end of another David Fizdale tinkering session. He was relegated to a bench role in favor of Luke Kornet. While Kanter was limited to eight points in 14 minutes. It was not all for naught as we were all treated to a delightful explosion from the aforementioned Luke Kornet, who dropped a team-high 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting with seven, yes you read that right, seven triples with three rebounds and five assists. Noah Vonleh quietly impressed owners and wannabe owners alike with a solid 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Everyone and their barber’s cousin has now grabbed or put an FAAB bid for Kornet. He’s talented. There’s no question about it. But this kind of performance could be a glitch, a simple outlier given his potential season-long average. Adding him is still in the shade of an aggressive play. Bear in mind though, he’s still coached by David “fickle” Fizdale. Given this kind of ceiling performance, which likely it is, Kornet is worth such a gamble.

    Even with Kornet’s stunning and surprising game, the Knicks still fell to the Bucks 96-112. Why? Two words. Giannis. Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak had a field day against the Knicks with 31 points, 14 boards, eight dimes, one steal and four blocks. He and Khris Middleton were a lethal, well at least game-winning, one-two punch combo that rocked the socks out of the Knickerbockers. Middleton returned to his pre-season projected form with 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting, adding six rebounds, five assists and one triple. Eric Bledsoe was not feeling it and was limited to just eight points and a low-end line.

    Bogdan, the Hero, the King

    There was little meat in the Lakers-Kings game. Bogdan Bogdanovic sank a game-winning shot to lift the Kings from Sacramento to a 117-116 win over the King-less (LeBron) Lakers. The hero was not just about that one shot. He actually was the team’s top producer with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting (three 3s), adding two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. He made up for Buddy Hield’s off night. Hield was limited to scoring just six points with five rebounds and three steals. De’Aaron Fox had a sweet double-double with 15 points and 12 dimes.

    Without LeBron James,  the Lakers went to their young guns. Lonzo Ball flirted with a triple-double, while Kyle Kuzma erupted for 33 points on 12-of-24 shooting with nine boards and four assists. Brandon Ingram played one of his better games of the season with 22 points and full line.

    Redick. Set. Go. Win.

    J.J. Redick may not get triple-doubles like the one Ben Simmons got last night (13 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists) or dominate in the paint like Joel Embiid (23 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, five blocks), but what he does he does well and that’s shoot threes. Redick led the Sixers to a 114-97 victory over the Jazz with 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including six 3-pointers, five rebounds and one assist.

    Ricky Rubio could not buy a bucket (1-for-10 from the field) and Dante Exum scored a new career-high with 20 points, adding four rebounds, three triples, two assists and one steal. It was a good thing that Donovan Mitchell was there to do some of the heavy lifting on offense with 23 points (three 3s), four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Rudy Gober did some damage as well with his 17-point, 15-rebound outing.

    Blazed and Confused

    Damian Lillard sank the go-ahead bucket the got the Blazers over the edge and the 110-109 win over the Warriors in overtime. He ended the night with 21 points, three triples and five assists. Jusuf Nurkic chipped in with a double-double performance, dropping 27 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, while C.J. McCollum added 24 points and a full line. Ironically enough, from a fantasy perspective, Mo Harkless was the biggest surprise of this game as he contributed 11 points, eight assists, one triple, two steals and two blocks. He’s been sitting on the wire in leagues as deep as 20 teams. Could this finally be the game that kicks his value back into gear? Even if it is, we’d like to see him produce more consistency before we recommend an add.

    Yes, the Warriors lost, but not for a lack of trying. Seriously. They wanted to win this one. So much so in fact that Kevin Durant exploded for a triple-double that featured 26 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, two 3-pointers, one steal and one block. Stephen Curry splashed the hell out of that net, hitting six triples en route to his game-high 29 points on 11-of-26 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks.  Draymond Green is officially heating up now. He had a swell game with 15 points, 11 rebounds, seven dimes, one three, one steal and one block.

     

Fantasy News

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-time basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Daryl Macon
    PG, Miami Heat

    The Heat have signed Daryl Macon.

    Macon getting picked up by another NBA squad after a solid Summer League campaign is not a shocker. If he were to crack the rotation he would post a nice assist rate, but it is unlikely Macon will be getting playing time unless something goes terribly wrong for the Heat this season.

    Source: NBA

  • Tahjere McCall
    F, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Tahjere McCall from their Summer League team.

    This is just a depth signing for the Hawks. He shouldn't see much court time on the NBA floor if he makes the main roster out of camp

    Source: Kevin Chouinard on Twitter

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Marc Stein is reporting that the Rockets will sign Thabo Sefolosha.

    Sefolosha was among the names at a recent mini camp, and he should make for a nice fit as a defensive stopper off the bench. The Rockets have a pretty thin group of reserves so we'd expect Sefolosha to be a regular rotation player, which puts him on the board as a steals specialist in deep leagues.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Tyler Zeller
    C, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets have signed C Tyler Zeller to the training camp roster on Thursday.

    Zeller played all of six games last season with the Hawks and Grizzlies. Zeller will try to latch on as a third-string C for the Nuggets' deep frontcourt. Zeller is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Chris Dempsey on Twitter

  • Luke Kennard
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey said that he is not sure if he will start Luke Kennard or have him run a lot of the second-team offense.

    In addition, Casey mentioned that Kennard dealt with some knee tendinitis earlier this summer. Kennard is likely competing with Bruce Brown Jr. for the starting two-guard spot. We'll see how the rotation starts to shape in the preseason, but both players will get minutes either way.

    Source: NBA

  • Blake Griffin
    PF, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey revealed that although the team's training staff is easing him into things, Blake Griffin (knee) is back on the court and playing.

    Coach Casey added that the team expects Griffin to be at 100% with "no lingering effects." It looks like Griffin is progressing nicely in his return and should be all systems go for the start of the season. With Griffin's extensive injury history, the team may manage him more this year. Coming off a career year, he's expected to be an early middle-round selection.

    Source: NBA

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Coach Nate McMillan said that Victor Oladipo (knee) probably wouldn't play on opening night.

    Videos have surfaced this summer of Oladipo doing on-court work, and by all accounts, he is progressing well. Coach McMillan said that Oladipo isn't playing live yet and it would seem he still has hurdles to climb. Even when Oladipo does return, he will likely be facing minute restrictions and frequent days off, at least initially. Jeremy Lamb figures to be the biggest beneficiary of Oladipo's absence.

    Source: NBA