• When I started playing fantasy hoops 10 years ago, I never expected that one day I would be writing a weekly article for a website entirety devoted to fantasy basketball, but here I am.

    Starting next week the Monday Dish will be a wrap up of Sunday’s action, and like the other Daily Dishes will discuss the news and its fantasy implications, but since this is the only downtime between preseason and regular season games I thought it would be a good time to briefly introduce myself to the HB community.

    My name is Jason, but everyone ends up calling me Jay.  I was born in Toronto, and as a kid I spent a couple years in Germany, a half dozen in Florida and one In Georgia before moving to Vancouver in 1994. I started following the NBA in the early 90’s and playing fantasy basketball in 2007.  I’ve been hooked ever since.

    The draft is my favourite part of fantasy hoops, and I’ve been in 24 hour draft mode since the beginning of October.  When the drafting is all said and done I’ll be in a total of 10 leagues: five on Yahoo, four on Fantrax (3 with HB) and acting as assistant GM in one on ESPN.   This season I’m also joining the Hoop-Ball team, and look forward to offering whatever help I can to players just starting out and vets who are just looking for another take.

    New kid on the bench

    The newest member of the Sixers, rookie Markelle Fultz, will be coming off the bench to start this NBA season, giving a short term bump in value to T.J. McConnell and Jerryd Bayless.  It’s safe to say that’s not what we expected for the number one pick, but that’s how things go sometimes.  I’m sure no one thought that new Celtic Kyrie Irving wouldn’t be facing old teammate LeBron James in their highly anticipated season debut, but as of this writing it’s still unclear if James’ ankle will be ready to go.  And to no one’s surprise, the Wolves exercised the fourth year team option on Karl-Anthony Towns, so it will be a couple more years until Towns is looking for a new contract.

    New team, old Millsap

    34 year old veteran Paul MIllsap is the new guy in town that I’d like to highlight for this first take.  He struggled playing next to Dwight Howard last season (shocking), and the move to the mountains should elevate his game back to the level it was at when he was playing next to another gifted passing big, Al Horford. In Atlanta, his best statistical season saw him average 17.1 PPG, 9.0 REB, 3.3AST, 1.8 STL and 1.7 BLK. He’s a great fit for this team, and could thrive playing next to the Joker in the front court and dropping dimes to Gary Harris and Jamal Murray on their back door cuts.  His preseason success is just a small sample of what should be a strong year in the mile high city.

    One Piece of advice

    If I could offer one nugget of wisdom in this first Dish it would be to be patient, especially if you think you nailed your draft.  Now this is admittedly not one of my strongest attributes, as I make a LOT of add/drops during the season, but it is important not to overreact early, especially with your studs.

    This game is a six month marathon, and it’s key not to panic if the guys you thought were going to carry your team start slowly.  Last season I had Nikola Jokic on my team in an NFBKC satellite league.  As most of you know, the first month was terrible.  He was struggling to get consistent minutes, he was struggling playing the four and I was struggling to justify using a fourth round pick on him.  We all know how his story ended, and that fourth round pick ended up being a big part of my championship team.

    That’ll do it for my first dish, and remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and fantasy basketball titles aren’t won in November.  So set your line ups, kick back, and enjoy what looks to be one of most entertaining NBA seasons in a long time.

Fantasy News

  • Ben Simmons - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers

    Ben Simmons paced Team World in Friday's loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge with 28 points on 14-of-17 shooting, five rebounds, six assists and three steals.

    Everyone knew that defense would not be one of the highlights of this game, but his .823 shooting from the field was just crazy good. He did miss his only shot from the line which was in a way, Simmons' artistic signature on his line for the night. Bulls' Fantastic Finn Lauri Markkanen chimed in with 21 points (9-of-17 shooting), six rebounds, two dimes and three triples.

  • Kyle Kuzma - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma led Team USA to a 161-144 victory over Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday with 35 points on 15-of-27 shooting and was named the game's MVP.

    Kuzma added six rebounds, two assists, three triples and a block to the box score in what was a for-fun yet still competitive game that ended Team USA's two-year drought. Special mentions go out to Jayson Tatum, who chipped in 30 points (12-of-24 shooting), nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and six 3-pointers, as well as rookie Trae Young who double-doubled with 25 points (six 3s), seven rebounds, 10 dimes and a block.

  • Rodions Kurucs - F - Brooklyn Nets

    After missing the Nets' last game with a left elbow strain, Rodions Kurucs took to the court in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday and posted 10 points (4-of-9 shooting), four boards, five dimes and two triples in 16 minutes for Team World.

    It's a once in a lifetime experience and it was good to see Kurucs healthy enough to make an appearance. He's been a low-end asset in fantasy thanks to his lack of consistent production but is one to watch especially if you're in deep keeper or dynasty leagues as he's shown some flashes of upside when he's had the chance to shine.

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) is "very, very close" to a return and the Celtics would not be opposed to him playing in Sunday's All-Star game.

    Irving made the trip to Charlotte with his personal trainer a the team's physical therapist. Although he's missed the last two games, the Celtics wouldn't mind him participating in Sunday's game and Danny Ainge things that an exhibition contest might actually function as a good workout. Brad Stevens speculated that Irving would've been able to play on Friday or Saturday had the Celtics had a regular game, so it sounds like he won't miss much more time.

    Source: Boston Herald

  • Emmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks

    Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) is unsure of how he'll fit into the rotation when he returns from his injury.

    Mudiay was locked in as the starting point guard but Dennis Smith Jr. has since joined the team. Beyond that, Mudiay is also an impending free agent whose cap hold will be renounced if the Knicks do deliver on their wildest dreams and land two max free agents. He's not going to be a priority for the rest of the season, and a timeshare seems like the best-case scenario here. Mudiay isn't worth holding onto outside of very deep leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have fired GM Dell Demps.

    Since this news broke it's come out that Demps had been on thin ice in New Orleans for a while now, so it's not as though the Anthony Davis trade discussions — which certainly play a role here — were the root cause. It's more likely that the failure to surround Davis with enough talent that he'd want to stay, at least up until the last season and a half or so, was the bulk of the problem. The Pelicans want a new GM to take the helm and make the call on a final Davis trade, which will change the course of the franchise for years to come.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    Anthony Davis has been diagnosed with a muscle contusion in his left shoulder after undergoing an MRI.

    Davis' injury is reportedly "not too bad" but he didn't return to Thursday's game and the Pelicans might milk any chance they get to rest their star. His participation in Sunday's All-Star game is up in the air and he'll receive treatment over the next couple of days before determining if he can play. To add some fuel to the fire here, Davis reportedly left the building after he got hurt, which is likely to rub his teammates the wrong way considering they picked up a big win over a hot Thunder team. The saga will continue to unfold until the offseason.

    Source: Ramona Shelburne on Twitter

  • Jrue Holiday - G - New Orleans Pelicans

    Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans in their 131-122 win over the Thunder on Thursday with 32 points on 12-of-27 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists, two steals, three blocks and three 3-pointers.

    Holiday crushed the box score tonight and he's going to continue to do so as long as he's on the court. He's the best player on a Pelicans team that might shelve Anthony Davis (shoulder) so an early-round value with some top-15 upside is well within reason.

  • Kenrich Williams - G/F - New Orleans Pelicans

    Kenrich Williams scored nine points while corralling a team-high 12 rebounds to go with four assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on Thursday.

    Williams went 4-for-7 from the floor and saw 34 minutes of action on Thursday and is also going to benefit from Anthony Davis (shoulder) missing time. His rebounding numbers are most of his value, but he also has the potential to give you a triple-one like tonight. It's baffling that he didn't get drafted as he has the talent to play in the NBA and is a standard-league player as of now.

  • Julius Randle - F - New Orleans Pelicans

    Julius Randle led the Pelicans in scoring on Thursday with 33 points on 11-of-21 shooting while adding 11 boards, six assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers.

    Randle's been playing well with Anthony Davis (shoulder) out of the lineup and it looks like that run might continue. Keep him out there as he's now an integral part of the Pelicans offense.