• It’s so late in the season that I can almost smell the playoffs.  The real playoffs…not fantasy.  Maybe that’s because I lost my matchup last week to essentially put an end to my fantasy season.  In the event that you are having better luck than me, let’s take a look at last night’s games.

    Nets (89) @ Pistons (90)

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was solid with 14 points, nine rebounds, one assist, one block.  Brook Lopez was a bit off tonight with 11 points (4-for-17 FG), nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.  Jeremy Lin had 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal.  Sean Kilpatrick led the Nets with 15 points in 23 minutes off the bench.

    Ish Smith continues to start for the Pistons and posted 21 points, six rebounds, fix assists and one block.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal.  Tobias Harris has been on a cold streak lately and that continued with eight points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block tonight.  Andre Drummond posted one of his weirdest lines of the season with two points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks.  The big man just didn’t feel like shooting tonight.  It was Marcus Morris that picked up the scoring slack with 28 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks.

    Lakers (104) @ Timberwolves (119)

    The Lakers were led by Jordan Clarkson’s 18 points, seven assists, three rebounds and four 3-pointers. D’Angelo Russell contributed 14 points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals.  Ivaca Zubac started but only played two minutes after suffering an ankle injury and might be out awhile.  Julius Randle double-doubled with 12 points, 13 rebounds, one assist and one block.  Tarick Black came off the bench for 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

    Ricky Rubio continues to thrive with 33 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, four 3-pointers and two steals.  Karl-Anthony Towns added 32 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals, two 3-pointers and one block.  Andrew Wiggins rounded out the trio with 27 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal.  Gorgui Dieng continues to contribute in other ways with 11 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and three blocks.

    Cavaliers (93) @ Bulls (99)

    The Cavs are gonna catch some media heat with 3 losses in a row.  They have fallen to the two seed and King James cannot be happy.  He posted 26 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, one steal and one block tonight.  Kyrie Irving added 20 points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal.  Tristan Thompson just missed a double-double with 15 points, nine rebounds and one steal.  Kevin Love is still working his way back in to form with eight points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 21 minutes tonight.

    The Bulls were led by Nikola Mirotic, who is hot right now, with 28 points, 10 rebounds, six 3-pointers, one assist and one block.  Jimmy Butler added 25 points, six rebounds, fix assists, two 3-pointers and two steals. Robin Lopez double-doubled with 10 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and one block.

    Clippers (124) @ Suns (118)

    This high-scoring affair was closer than expected.  Blake Griffin led with 31 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two 3-pointers and two steals.  Chris Paul double-doubled with 29 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and one steal.  Deandre Jordan added seven points, 17 rebounds, two assists and three blocks.

    The Suns continue to focus on youth development with 33 points, nine assists, four 3-pointers, two rebounds and one steal from Devin Booker.  Tyler Ulis double-doubled with 16 points, 13 assists, three rebounds and one steal.  T.J. Warren also double-doubled with 14 points, 10 rebounds, one steal and one block.  Marquesse Chriss continues to look good with 20 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal.

    Rockets (107) @ Blazers (117)

    James Harden looked great as usual with 30 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two 3-pointers and one steal.  Eric Gordon started tonight and added 13 points, three 3-pointers and one assist.  Trevor Ariza added 17 points, five rebounds, six steals and two assists.  Patrick Beverley posted nine points, eight rebounds, three assists.

    Damian Lillard is driven to make the playoffs with 31 points, 11 assists, four 3-pointers, four rebounds and two steals.  Jusuf Nurkic continues to be nasty with 19 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and one steal.  C.J. McCollum was off tonight with 12 points (4-for-15 FG), three assists and one rebound.  Maurice Harkless added 17 points, six rebounds and two steals.

Fantasy News

  • Furkan Korkmaz
    SG, Philadelphia Sixers

    After an injury-plagued sophomore campaign for the Sixers, Furkan Korkmaz knows this season will be crucial for his future and he is hoping to make big strides this year.

    The one thing Korkmaz has going for him is his shooting ability and that is something the Sixers could surely utilize on this roster. It did not click last season, but Korkmaz will get another chance to prove his worth at some point this season. Still, it is hard to picture him coming out of the gate with a big role on opening night.

    Source: Sixers.com

  • Nikola Mirotic
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    On Sunday, Nikola Mirotic dropped 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting for Barcelona.

    Mirotic's opening appearance for his new EuroLeague club, Barcelona, resulted in a victory, and he did not have to work too hard for most of his buckets at the Supercopa Endesa versus Valencia. Mirotic should find quick success during his return to European basketball, but NBA fantasy players will surely be missing his presence stateside.

    Source: Eurohoops

  • Bruce Brown
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey spoke highly of Bruce Brown’s defensive play, calling him an ‘elite defender.’

    Brown remains in contention for a starting spot with the Pistons, but he is not a high-usage player, and the Pistons have stocked up with offensive threats such as Derrick Rose and the immortal Joe Johnson. It will be tough for Brown to rack up enough touches or minutes this season.

    Source: Pistons.com

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    There is some optimism in league circles about Kevin Durant's (Achilles) chances of playing this season, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

    Looking back on Durant's decision to return during the Finals, the Nets may want to exude caution when considering KD's return to action. However, Durant is pursuing his rehab with a sense of purpose, and it would be great to see him get back on the court this season. We'll keep you posted when a real timeline on Durant's rehab emerges. This news does not make him a target on draft day for standard leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. is the presumed favorite to start at PF heading into training camp according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

    Fedor went on to speculate that Nance Jr. could see a lot of time at the four while Kevin Love starts at center and Tristan Thompson and John Henson compete for back up minutes behind those two. Any uptick in playing time would be a huge boost to the per-minute dynamo that Nance Jr is, and a starting role with a new coaching staff bodes well for that. He's trending in the right direction.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • 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-game 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