• I’m back with some breakdowns of Thursday night NBA action.  Five games on the docket last night kept me busy and entertained while I awaited the release of the newest Pokemon game (yes, I’m a grown man that still plays Pokemon).  The late game of the night actually took place in my town, Salt Lake City, and was airing on TNT for me to enjoy while I chatted it up with @VMCENTER on Fantasy NBA Tonight (a Hoop-ball premium content product).

    Let’s check out what went down last night.

    Knicks (112) @ Wizards (119)

    The Wizards grabbed a home win to help their very disappointing start to the season behind the efforts of John Wall (23 points, 11 assists, three 3-pointers, two rebounds and a steal) and Otto Porter Jr. (21 points, eight rebounds, four 4-pointers, two steals, one assist and one block.  After preseason worries about Porter’s value, he has been the wing to own for the Wizards.

    Markieff Morris had a slow night with just eight points (4-for-11 FG), eight rebounds, two assists and a steal.  He seems to be prone to these types of nights and its comes with owning him.  Bradley Beal added 18 points, five assists, three 3-pointers and two rebounds.  Marcin Gortat rounded out the starting five with 16 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one block.

    For the Knicks, Derrick Rose led the way in scoring with 27 points (8-for-18 FG, 8-for-8 FT), four assists, three 3-pointers, two rebounds and a steal.  Carmelo Anthony added 19 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer (on eight attempts).  Kristaps Porzingis had a solid night with 16 points (7-for-16 FG), seven rebounds, four steals, two 3-pointers and two assists.

    Courtney Lee had a quiet night and only played 23 minutes.  On the other hand, Brandon Jennings came off the bench for 24 minutes and posted a line of 17 points, 10 assists, three 3-pointers, five rebounds and one steal.  He is a name to keep an eye on, but his production may not be consistent as a bench player.

    Bucks (73) @ Heat (96)

    The Bucks got beat pretty bad tonight and had some odd stat lines outside of their usual suspects.  Matthew Dellavedova had zero points on seven attempts, nine assists, four rebounds and two steals.  Tony Snell had 14 points in 32 minutes, to go along with six rebounds and one assist.

    The most interesting situation revolves around the center position.  John Henson started and played 28 minutes, posting a box score of 12 points, five rebounds, one steal and three blocks.  Greg Monroe, on the other hand, was a DNP-Coach’s Decision.  Rumors have been swirling of a possible trade for the big man ever since he joined the Bucks, but his bench role and lack of playing time is really concerning.

    Goran Dragic returned tonight after missing three games due to injury.  He played well with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer and one steal, but was pretty inefficient in terms of shooting.  Hassan Whiteside went man-mode with 12 points, 17 rebounds, seven blocks and two steals.  There’s the first round value upside.

    Dion Waiters (23 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and Josh Richardson (18 points, three rebounds, one assist) started with Justise Winslow out due to an injured wrist.  Tyler Johnson got 23 minutes off the bench and added eight points, eight rebounds and five assists.

    Blazers (109) @ Rockets (126)

    The Blazers were led by, as usual, Damian Lillard (18 points, five rebounds, five assists) and C.J. McCollum (26 points, four assists, three rebounds).  Moe Harkless started tonight and added 19 points, six rebounds and three 3-pointers.  Mason Plumlee added four points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 30 minutes.  Evan Turner played 28 minutes off the bench with 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.  He seems to be finding his niche as the Blazers sixth man.

    Hassan Whiteside wasn’t the only player going off tonight, as Harden posted a line that has now become somewhat expected.  He triple-doubled with 26 points, 14 assists, 12 rebounds, three 3-pointers and three steals.

    Surprisingly, the entire starting lineup for the Rockets scored in double digits and Eric Gordon added 16 points, five rebounds and three assists off the bench.  Patrick Beverley played in his first game of the year tonight, starting and logging 25 minutes.  He didn’t show much rust with 11 points (5-for-8 FG, 1-2 3PT), three assists, three blocks and two rebounds.  He has a tendency to get under opposing point guards’ skin and Lillard is no exception.

    76ers (86) @ Timberwolves (110)

    This game was the first TNT game last night and the only reason these losing teams got a primetime slot was for the young center matchup.  Joel Emiid and (10 points, 10 rebounds, one block) Karl-Anthony Towns both double-doubled (25 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks) in the matchup, but were overshadowed by Andrew Wiggins.  Wiggins contributed for the Timberwolves beyond scoring for once with 35 points (14-for-20 FG, 4-for-4 FT), 10 rebounds, four assists, three 3-pointers and one steal.

    Zach LaVine added 11 points, two rebounds, one 3-pointer, one assist, one steal and one block.  Gorgui Dieng double-doubled with 12 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. Ricky Rubio rounded out the Minnesota starters with four points, five assists and four rebounds. Not much action off the bench for this squad tonight.

    For the 76ers, Ersan Ilyasova got the start at power forward tonight.  His stat line didn’t offer much with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes.  Rookie Dario Saric came off the bench and played 27 minutes with 16 points, four rebounds, one assist, two 3-pointers and two steals.  Saric is the power forward to own in Philly.  Jahlil Okafor played in the second night of a back-to-back but only played 22 minutes and did very little with seven points and two rebounds.  Nick Stauskas scored 13 points, five rebounds, three 3-pointers, two steals and one assists.  He has potential but has teased fantasy owners in the past and not much came of it.

    Game of the Night

    Bulls (85) @ Jazz (77)

    This game was very disappointing to say the least, as it ended being very low scoring as neither team looked great on offense.

    For the Bulls, Jimmy Butler led the way with 20 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Dwyane Wade added 18 points, two rebounds, one assist and one block.  Jerian Grant got the start for the injured Rajon Rondo and added six points, five rebounds, two steals and one assist.  Robin Lopez is looking for like the big man to trust in Chicago with 10 points and 12 rebounds over 38 minutes.

    The Jazz really struggled tonight.  Gordon Hayward came in to this game with a lot of value, but played 41 troubled minutes tonight.  He scored eight points (3-for-15 FG, 2-for-3 FT), 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals.  Rudy Gobert double-doubled with 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.  Rodney Hood added 12 points, six rebounds, one 3-pointers and one assist.

    George Hill missed another game due to a thumb injury and Dante Exum started and added 14 points, four rebounds, two 3-pointers, two assists and one steal.  Derrick Favors may be looking at an extended absence, so Boris Diaw and Trey Lyles are in a timeshare for his minutes.

Fantasy News

  • Tristan Thompson
    C, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Tristan Thompson will not play for Canada in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

    This seems like a situation where Thompson is not participating to prepare for the grind of the NBA season in the fall. There was always some uncertainty with his participation but he was among the invitees to Team Canada training camp.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Cameron Reynolds
    PG, Milwaukee Bucks

    The Bucks have signed Cameron Reynolds to a two-way deal.

    Reynolds played in 19 games with the Wolves as a rookie after playing for five years at Tulane University. As he moves to the Bucks, expect him to continue to compete for the opportunity to be a backup point guard in the NBA. With the Bucks entering next season as title contenders, there is no room for Reynolds in the fantasy landscape.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Javonte Green
    F, Boston Celtics

    Javonte Green will join the Celtics on a partially guaranteed contract.

    After a strong Summer League performance where he averaged 10.8 ppg on 50% shooting, Green will get an opportunity to fight for a roster spot for the Celtics. He most recently played overseas in Germany.

    Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter

  • Amida Brimah
    C, Indiana Pacers

    The Pacers have signed Amida Brimah to a one-year contract.

    The seven-foot big man, Bridah, has had a couple short stints with the Spurs but has yet to play in a game. Expect him to compete for a roster spot come training camp but there are no guarantees that he will make the final roster.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Daniel Theis
    PF, Boston Celtics

    The Celtics have officially re-signed Daniel Theis and Brad Wanamaker.

    The team rescinded their qualifying offer to Theis in a procedural move to maximize cap space, but he's back in Boston on a two-year, $10 million deal. He'll be battling for backup center minutes and his shooting ability (38.8 percent from deep last season on low volume) could set him apart from the rest of Boston's frontcourt options. As a player who can knock down threes and pick up some steals and blocks, there's deep-league potential for Theis should he end up pushing for something like 20 mpg. Wanamaker decided to pass on larger offers from European teams to return to the Celtics, where he may have a better shot at minutes with Terry Rozier out of the picture. Even so, he's not a fantasy target.

    Source: Boston Celtics

  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo
    SF, Milwaukee Bucks

    The Bucks have made their signing of Thanasis Antetokounmpo official.

    Antetokounmpo is believed to be on a two-year deal that is fully guaranteed for the veteran's minimum. Antetokounmpo has just two NBA appearances to his name, both coming back in 2016 with the Knicks. It's unlikely that he'll play much, if at all, though at least he'll get to hang with his MVP little brother.

    Source: Milwaukee Bucks

  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors have announced the signing of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

    Hollis-Jefferson had a tough season in Brooklyn, suffering an offseason adductor strain and then falling out of the rotation when he was ready to play. The Raptors will take a one-year flier on a player that can capably defend multiple positions while bringing great energy, and he'll fit in with the team's defensive identity. RHJ is only a year removed from being a top-100 fantasy player but it's unlikely that he holds standard-league value in a reserve role for Toronto. Deep-league managers can consider Hollis-Jefferson a late-round flier.

    Source: Toronto Raptors

  • Kelly Oubre Jr.
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    The Suns have officially re-signed Kelly Oubre.

    Oubre is headed back to Phoenix on a two-year, $30 million deal and lost out on a bigger payday as teams alternately gobbled up cap space or played a long waiting game in free agency, leaving one of the top RFAs on the board to settle for a deal that clocks in below expectations. Oubre missed the end of the season because of thumb surgery but blossomed in Phoenix, averaging 16.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.7 3s on .453 shooting. That was good for top-50 value, and while that might be too lofty to expect a repeat without some breaks (the efficiency is a definite question mark), it's clear that Oubre is finally on a team that will commit to his future and there will be enough playing time to make him a late-middle round option in fantasy drafts.

    Source: Phoenix Suns

  • David Nwaba
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    The Nets have announced the signing of David Nwaba.

    Nwaba will head to Brooklyn on a two-year deal after bouncing around over his first three NBA seasons. It's a nice pickup for the Nets, who will get a hard-nosed forward that's capable of defending and rebounding with tenacity. Nwaba's poor shooting might not do him favors in Brooklyn's system, but he's the type of hustle player that coaches tend to like. Expect him to play a part in Kenny Atkinson's deep rotation, though fantasy value is probably out of the question when everyone is healthy.

    Source: Brooklyn Nets

  • JR Smith
    SG, Cleveland Cavaliers

    J.R. Smith will meet with the Bucks on Thursday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

    This is the first team other than the Lakers, who have already been deemed an unlikely landing spot, to be connected to Smith. Milwaukee is looking for another wing shooter and Smith would fit the bill in a perfect world, though it's unlikely that he would play a major role for any team after sitting out since November.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter