• 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!


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