• I know that this will be a very hectic weekend for all of us. My plate is full with a ton of fantasy basketball drafts. I’m sure a lot of you are in a similar boat and are excited, just like I am, to totally kill it.

    Last-Minute Advice:

    Remember to lock in your own pre-draft rankings. Freshen up on the last-minute news. Keep some key notes such as positional tiers, a hot list, and ADP reports within arms reach. Get a good night’s sleep before your draft. Being well rested helps keep a sharp and incisive mind on point. Lastly, relax. Have fun. Let the research take your team to the level it needs to be to annihilate the competition.

    Injury Alert:

    Nicolas Batum is officially out for 8 to 12 weeks with a torn ligament in his elbow. This development immediately provides a fantasy bump for Jeremy Lamb, Malik Monk, and to some extent even Michael Carter-Williams (once he’s 100 percent). Avoid Batum in re-draft leagues where teams don’t have IR slots and/or set rosters daily.

    Dion Waiters is still bothered by his nagging ankle injury and threw up a dud of a game (1-of-8 shooting) against the Nets. He’s a risky late-round play and it would be better to find an alternative instead.

    Jusuf Nurkic hurt his leg and headed to the locker room to have it looked at. It didn’t look too serious but be sure to check back at Hoop-Ball for the latest updates.

    Preseason Action

    There were four preseason games on tap. The Rockets were in China and were hosted by the Shanghai Sharks, with the NBA club coming away with the blowout win as expected. The Miami Heat fell to the Brooklyn Nets, 88-107. The Orlando Magic dropped the Nowitzki-less Mavericks, 89-112; and the Portland Trail Blazers edged out the Toronto Raptors 101-106.

    The Dallas-Orlando game gave us another sweet, sweet taste of the offerings we can expect to be served on the “Aaron Gordon Hype Train”, which by the way, has left the station and is gaining steam once again. Gordon dropped a 17-10 dub-dub on efficient shooting, a trey, and just one turnover. He did fail to give prospective owners a sampling of his defensive numbers, but at least the energy he brought was electrifying. This finally could very well be the breakout year we’ve been waiting for him to deliver. As long as you keep those expectations in check, hope for the best, and not grab him too early, Aaron should provide some nice returns of value.

    Speaking of forwards, Dwight Powell showed us that he may just be ready to contribute. Dirk Nowitzki missed this game due to rest and Powell joined the starters in this one. He finished the night with 11 points, six boards, and two treys in 24 minutes.

    Those storylines are nice and all but no forward has made more noise this preseason than Portland rookie Caleb Swanigan. The athletic Purdue product cleaned up on the glass again their game against the Raptors. In his 18 minutes on the hardwood, “Swagnigan” (coined here first) scored six points, hauled in eight boards, and handed out three assists. Talk about him making a case to start for the Blazers this season is gaining serious traction. Even if he doesn’t start right out of the gate, he will get many opportunities to showcase his gifts. For now, he’s worth a standard league flier pick if you’re feeling aggressively speculative. Caleb is already on the radar and is being drafted and/or being picked up, post-draft in many of my deep leagues. He will face some competition from fellow rookie Zach Collins, so keep an eye on that guy as well.

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a solid game against the Heat, dropping 10 points, eight rebounds, four dimes, and two steals. RHJ is not going to wow you in the scoring department, but as a late-round pick, he should be able to provide a boost to your team’s rebounds and steals.

    Houston’s favorite “3 and D” forward, Trevor Ariza rained down treys on the Shanghai Sharks. He nailed four 3-pointers en route to his 18-point, 10-rebound game. He’s been scorching hot lately and is already primed to outperform his underrated ADP yet again. You hear “sleeper” thrown around every season, sometimes for the wrong players. Ariza is someone who is slept on year in and year out. Don’t be that guy who takes Andrew Wiggins over Ariza. You’re just not doing it right.

    Have a great weekend and may you kill it in your drafts!

    Remember, you can always reach me on Twitter: @FantasyHoopla, if you want to chat about fantasy hoops!


Fantasy News

  • Emmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks

    Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) returned from a 12-game absence on Friday and showed no signs of rust as he delivered 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting and a full line.

    The .375 shooting clip from the field was nasty but that's par for the course with Mudiay. It was a pleasant surprise to see him fill up the box score as he added six rebounds, one assist, two 3-pointers, three steals and a block to his line for the night. The Knicks' rotations have been a hot mess all season, so don't bank on Mudiay to deliver this kind of spread in the next one.

  • Jonathan Isaac - F - Orlando Magic

    Jonathan Isaac had a game to forget in Friday's loss to the Bulls, scoring only four points (on 1-of-6 from the field) to go with a trey, three rebounds and two steals.

    The money counters salvaged a bad night and despite this dud, Isaac has still been a top-35 play in 9-cat over his last five games. He played 31 minutes in this one so hopefully he can get back on track his next time out.

  • Dorian Finney-Smith - F - Dallas Mavericks

    Dorian Finney-Smith chipped in 13 points (4-of-9 shooting), nine rebounds, one assist and two steals in Friday's 104-114 loss to the Nuggets.

    DFS has been a top-140 play over the last couple of weeks and is a viable end-of-bench guy in standard leagues for the rest of the season. He's more of a plodder, albeit a reliable one, so don't expect too many explosive games on the horizon.

  • Avery Bradley - G - Memphis Grizzlies

    Avery Bradley scored 17 points and added a trey and two steals in 33 minutes during Friday's 112-106 loss to the visiting Clippers.

    We have no idea where this Bradley has been for the last two years, but in four games as a Grizzly, he's been a top-80 value in 9-cat. With Kyle Anderson (shoulder) not there to compete for minutes, Bradley might actually hold standard-league value the rest of the way, though his playoff schedule in H2H leaves much to be desired.

  • Dwight Powell - F/C - Dallas Mavericks

    Dwight Powell played well in 25 minutes off the Mavs' bench on Friday, delivering 20 points (6-of-12 shooting), six rebounds, one assist and one triple.

    Powell likes to trudge along but remains consistent in his low-end style. He outplayed Maxi Kleber who put up a stinker of a line with zero points (0-for-5 shooting), three rebounds and one assist in 18 minutes. Powell's your man in deep leagues. He's paid his dues and has an extensive resume to make his production more reliable.

  • Jaren Jackson Jr. - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies

    ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Jaren Jackson Jr., who is dealing with a sore right quad, will be out for the foreseeable future.

    Welp, that doesn’t sound good. While we don’t know exactly what “foreseeable future” means that doesn’t sound good for a Grizzlies team that has embraced the tank. We’re hoping we’ll get a more specific update soon but it looks as if Ivan Rabb and maybe the ancient Joakim Noah have an open path to minutes, at least for the foreseeable future.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Jalen Brunson - G - Dallas Mavericks

    Jalen Brunson started for an injured Luka Doncic (sore right ankle) and did not disappoint as he tallied 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting with two rebounds, five assists, three triples, one steal and one block in 31 minutes.

    He was DFS gold tonight and should be worth owning for another game or two while Doncic is on the mend. He will drop like a bad guy in a John Wick 3 trailer once Luka returns though, so don't get too attached.

  • Chandler Parsons - F - Memphis Grizzlies

    Chandler Parsons played 20 minutes in his first game since October and had a three and a steal in Friday's loss to the Clippers.

    We're not expecting Parsons to be rosterable but considering the tank-job in Memphis, anything is possible to quote Kevin Garnett.

  • Nikola Jokic - C - Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets to victory on Friday against the Mavs with 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting while adding 13 rebounds, eight dimes, one trey and one steal.

    This was a relatively quiet outing coming from Jokic. It's not a concern though, as he's a proven stud when it comes to second-half-of-season performances.

  • Ivan Rabb - F - Memphis Grizzlies

    Ivan Rabb had a nice game in Friday’s home loss to the Clippers, scoring 15 points (one 3) to go with nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in 25 minutes as a starter.

    Rabb certainly has the talent but as a young player, he hasn’t yet established the consistency that would make him a must-add player. Joakim Noah had 22 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench but he won’t be getting anywhere near that much run when Jaren Jackson Jr. (sore quad) returns.