• Hello Hoop Ballers and welcome to our mini-update on the ongoing FIBA World Championship taking place in China. With the games starting early for most of our readers here in the United States, I know that not many people had a chance to watch many, or any, games so far, so I’m here to let you know about what happened in the last few days in a World Cup that has been pretty exciting with a couple favorites emerging.

    Starting in Group A, China suffered devastating losses to Poland and Venezuela and got eliminated from what was the easiest pool of teams playing for two tickets that led to the next round.

    Argentina and Russia (as expected) advanced from Group B, even though Nigeria and Josh Okogie tried to challenge both of them.

    Spain looked vulnerable but survived a thriller against Iran to move to the next round along with a Puerto Rico side that is being led by former Knick Renaldo Balkman.

    Serbia and Italy had no trouble getting out of Group D while Team USA needed Turkey to miss on four consecutive free throws in order to survive what looked like their first tournament loss since 2006.

    Czech Republic meanwhile, took advantage of Turkey’s Herculean effort against team USA and beat them in the last game of the tournament by completing the upset and advancing to the Round of 16.

    Brazil and Greece came out of Group F and will now face Team USA, while the Dominican Republic (my favorite underdog of the tournament) beat Germany and sent the Panzers home, while France had no trouble against either.

    Finally, Australia and Lithuania came out of the “group of death” with Canada getting eliminated even after Cory Joseph joined them before the start of the tournament.

    Here is how the Round of 16 looks after Thursday’s games:

    First Round Standouts

    Josh Okogie, Nigeria

    14.0 points, 4.7 assists, 2.7 triples, 2.7 steals and 1.3 steals on 46.2 percent from the floor and 53.3 from behind the arc

    Okogie probably looked like the best two-way player in the first round of the tournament, locking down opponents (as expected) but making great strides with his shooting and his passing, balancing the need for clutch shots with some great distribution to his teammates.

    He lacks the size to compete with elite guards in the NBA but his toughness and athleticism is what made the difference in this tournament. Nigeria felt short but the young guard looked like the leader of this squad and Wolves fans should be excited about his development in the immediate future.

    Bogdan Bogdanovic, Team Serbia

    24.0 points, 5.0 triples, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals on 61.5 percent from the floor and 65.2 from behind the arc

    Serbia has been unstoppable in the World Cup and the difference hasn’t been Nikola Jokic but BB8, who has shot the ball great from all over the floor, forcing opponents to double team him occasionally. Bogdanovic seems to be healthier than ever with his lateral quickness and his looking to be on another level. He missed about a month at the beginning of the NBA season last year but hopefully he will be able to translate his performance at this tournament to a great start with the Kings.

    Tomas Satoransky, Czech Republic

    14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.0 triple and 1.0 steal on 38.2 percent from the floor and 37.5 from behind the arc

    Czech Republic came into the tournament as an underdog while missing former Wizards first round pick Jan Vesely but Satoransky has shown tremendous leadership, guiding his team to an upset over Turkey that led them to the top-16.

    Sato has struggled from the floor but this is expected as teams are zeroing in on him while his 6.3 assists make the difference and I believe he is poised to persuade everyone and especially the Bulls, who signed him, that he is the clear starter.

    Patty Mills and the entire Australian Team

    Mills is averaging 20.0 points while Joe Ingles is leading the tournament in assists with 8.3 in an offense that looks beautiful and is clearly unstoppable, even when opponents play zone defense. The Boomers seem determined to make a deep run, fueled by their exhibition victory against Team USA that has given them tremendous confidence.

    Evan Fournier, France

    16.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 triples on 44.7 percent from the floor and 50.0 from behind the arc

    Fournier seems like another player that is taking his game to next level by becoming the leader of this French team. The Magic guard is not forcing his shots and his 3.7 assists illustrate his ability to read defenses and make the extra pass but he has also been clutch in the tournament as a key figure in late-game situations.

    Frank Ntilikina, France

    9.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 triples on 47.1 percent from the floor and 54.5 from behind the arc

    Ntilikina’s numbers haven’t really been anything spectacular, other than the hot shooting, but he has looked confident while impacting plays on both ends of the floor. His performance is really not a surprise as Ntilikina grew up learning how to play within a system, which is the opposite of what the Knicks do under David Fizdale.

    New York is not very high on him but I could absolutely see another NBA team taking a shot at him after a successful World Cup.

    Must-watch Games in Round 2 (Sept. 6-9)

    Spain – Italy (9/6)

    Brazil – Czech Republic (9/7)

    France – Lithuania (9/7)

    USA – Greece (9/7)

    Puerto Rico – Italy (9/8)

    Czech Republic – Greece (9/9)

    France –  Australia (9/9)

    USA – Brazil (9/9)

    Thank you for reading our mini update and please make sure you stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.

    Stats are courtesy of FIBA.basketball and are accurate as of September 6th.

Fantasy News

  • Norman Powell
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Norman Powell (left hamstring tightness) is expected to be re-evaluated in one week.

    Powell will wind up missing the month of February, with an eye toward returning for the stretch run. He has provided top-60/70 per-game value in 9/8 cat leagues on the year and makes for a promising stash candidate for owners who can afford to wait for him. Continue to monitor his status.

    Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter

  • Brandon Clarke
    PF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Brandon Clarke (right hip soreness) is being listed as out for Wednesday's game against the Rockets.

    The injury is untimely as Jaren Jackson Jr. has been ruled out for the next two weeks. Without Clarke and Jackson, Josh Jackson may slide his way into the starting lineup while Gorgui Dieng and De'Anthony Melton should see additional minutes as well. Josh Jackson looks like the highest upside of the group while both of the team's top PF's are out.

    Source: Grizzlies PR on Twitter

  • Jonathan Isaac
    PF, Orlando Magic

    Jonathan Isaac (sprained left knee and bone bruise) did some on-court work, but the team will remain patient with his recovery.

    Isaac isn't expected to return this year, but crazier things have happened. We wouldn't stash him, but he is worth keeping an eye on in case he does manage to get back on the court at some point this year. His defensive upside is unparalleled.

    Source: MagicDaily

  • Brook Lopez
    C, Milwaukee Bucks

    Brook Lopez (sore back) will play in Tuesday's must-see matchup against the Raptors.

    Lopez missed the front end of the back-to-back set, but is good to go for this highly anticipated matchup pitting the top two teams in the Eastern Conference up against one another. Play Lopez as you usually would. Robin Lopez will return to a reserve role.

    Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter

  • Patrick McCaw
    SG, Toronto Raptors

    Patrick McCaw (illness) will not play against the Bucks on Tuesday.

    Terence Davis is in line for additional minutes when the Raptors take on the only team ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings.

    Source: Josh Lewenberg on Twitter

  • Willie Cauley-Stein
    C, Dallas Mavericks

    Willie Cauley-Stein (personal) is being listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Spurs.

    WCS hasn't seen much of a role since moving to the Mavs as the team has elected to move Kristaps Porzingis to C and play smaller. WCS should be considered day-to-day going forward.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Davis Bertans
    F, Washington Wizards

    Davis Bertans (sore right knee) is being listed as questionable for Tuesday's game against the Nets.

    Rui Hachimura would be in line for extended minutes if Bertans can't go. Keep an eye on the status of Bertans as we inch closer to tipoff.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Dante Exum
    PG, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Dante Exum (left ankle sprain) is being listed as out for Wednesday's game against the Sixers.

    Exum has been injured more than he has been healthy throughout his career, and this year has been no different. He has a decent role when he is healthy, but he can't be relied upon to play regularly for fantasy owners.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Alfonzo McKinnie
    SF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Alfonzo McKinnie (foot) is being listed as out for Wednesday's game against the Sixers.

    McKinnie sees minutes in the teens but doesn't do much to be on any fantasy radars. He can continue to be ignored.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Devonte' Graham
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    Coach James Borrego said that Devonte' Graham will be active but is unlikely to play against the Pacers on Tuesday.

    Borrego mentioned a career-high in minutes played as to why Graham isn't expected to play tonight despite being active. Fantasy owners will have to hope for the best, while DFS players should look for safer options. Malik Monk has already been named the starter in place of Graham.

    Source: Tony East on Twitter