January 12, 2019, 7:15 am
Hey guys, it’s a massive 18-team Bruski Breakdown style Daily Dish. As you all know I wear many hats around here and we have a lot going on, so along with the flu and the holidays there was a two-week gap in my articles.
I’ll keep doing my best to drop a Dish but they may end up going to an old format that I used, which is still good but not as comprehensive as this will be. There could be weeks that the business takes precedence.
We have a vision for quality content that requires a lot of moving pieces to get put into place across multiple channels and I am the orchestrator for that, but as we grow it gets a lot easier to devote more time to content, which I love and it also allows me to get the strategic thoughts to you guys, so it’s a balance.
With that little spiel out of the way, crack out your beverage of choice, and on a lazy weekend day I’d recommend some Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee, not just because they’re a kickass sponsor but also because the coffee is legitimately amazing.
HANGIN ON HUERTER
The Hawks caught a reeling Sixers team and beat them in Philly, and with the perfect amount of injuries we really saw their box score sing. Each of the starters played 32-41 minutes each and all of the production was condensed into some byoots.
Kevin Huerter was at the top of the list with a career-night, scoring 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting (including five threes) with three rebounds, three assists and two steals over 39 minutes.
We’ve been on everybody to grab Huerter and just see how this plays out, knowing that Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince would be returning from their respective ankle injuries. Huerter has shown a nice stat set for a rookie and had brought back late-round value through much of the feeling out phase owners were going through, and this has always been a no-risk, *something* to gain situation.
His season-long numbers do show a bit of a cap to his upside, as he has brought back top 175-200 value (8/9 cat) in 26.3 mpg. There’s a reasonable expectation that he continues to improve as the year goes on and get more touches as the year goes on, too. Looking at his college shooting line of 50.3/41.7/75.8 and the 3PAs at 5.5 per game I’m fairly confident he can improve upon his NBA line of 40.3/36.7/74.2.
Over the last month with the increased playing time he has moved into a top 125-160 position (8/9 cat) in 34.2 mpg and the stat set in that sample doesn’t really change too much, so the question becomes what can we hope for as guys like Bazemore and Prince return. If I had to guess, he goes back to his season-long workload of about 26 mpg but that ROI on that is more in the top 125-150 range.
None of this is moving the needle too much but if you get a situation where the Hawks get really thin and they really force the action Huerter’s way, then he can have some upside beyond that. It’s not the highest upside play you’ll make all year, but the math is pretty nice that he can help you down the stretch. Just know that things could get lean toward the end of January and into the All Star break before getting good again.
Dewayne Dedmon was great with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, three treys, eight boards, seven assists and a steal over 33 minutes, as he continues on a top-50 push throughout the last month. Not bad for a guy you thought you were getting late round value out of.
The curious case of John Collins’ (25 points, nine boards, two assists, one steal, one three) defensive stats has swung more toward his blocks, as he has moved toward career averages in steals over the last two weeks but the blocks are just terrible. He’s averaging 0.4 per game in 29.8 mpg compared to 1.1 in just 24.1 mpg last year.
It makes sense that you don’t want to fly around after dealing with so many ankle issues, and one has to think that this number is highly regressable. What’s crazy is that he’s bringing back top-40 value in the last two weeks without those block numbers, and his other numbers aren’t too far out of place.
It’s probably hard to buy into him but if the current owner has doubt that he can keep up some of the popcorn stats you might be able to get him for a bigger name top 50-60 guy.
Hold on DeAndre Bembry’ (14 points, six boards, five assists, one steal, 6-of-11 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs) in those formats where you can deal with the bad percentages, but like Huerter things could get hairy in the next 30 days and start to look like late-round value with some upside after the All Star break. I’m not breaking my back to buy in but it’s nice at the end of your 12-14 team bench.
The Sixers have looked like a team that hates each other for the last few games. Do I know that they hate each other? No. Are they in the media for drama issues? Yes. Do they look like a team that hates each other? Yes. So without Joel Embiid (more on that in a second) they couldn’t beat a not toothless, but mostly bad Hawks team also without players.
The usage flowed right to Ben Simmons (23 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, two steals, one block, 10-of-13 FGs, 3-of-7 FTs) and Jimmy Butler (30 points, four rebounds, five assists, three steals, 12-of-14 FTs). If I had to guess it’s Butler that goes if anybody goes but the Sixers would have to get a deal that blows their hair back to justify the original deal to get him.
So look for a lot of painful games and the value erosion could be in rest nights that double as ways to blow off steam. They’ll still have plenty of value in their normal ranges, but instability is never good for fantasy value.
As for Embiid, in Wednesday’s game I noted that he was grimacing after a play and he went to his left knee and was rubbing it, and then he adjusted the brace and sock area as he walked off the injury. Then he misses last night’s game with a left ankle injury. I’ve broken and rolled my ankles enough times to know that an ankle injury can actually shoot the pain right up into the knee area, so maybe he was loosening the brace because his knee already deals with inflammation and it felt better with less pressure.
Or the Sixers, known for weirdness in the injury department, don’t want anybody to think it’s the left knee. It doesn’t appear to be serious but after he missed the end of the 2016-17 season with surgery for a torn meniscus in that left knee, you’re always looking for signs that something isn’t right. Am I trying to offload Embiid because of this?
Not really, maybe for equal or just below equal deals if I want to mitigate the risk. But if a few more fishy things happen, then I’ve got the rationale for my exit strategy already thought-through.
J.J. Redick (20 points) returned from his absence due to a sore back and there’s nothing really to see there. Mike Muscala scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting with four treys, three boards, two steals and one block in his start for Embiid, highlighting why we think he has a sneaky stat set but he hasn’t been able to get it done with Embiid healthy, so stash accordingly.
T.J. McConnell hit the radar with 16 points, three rebounds, six assists, two steals and one trey over 34 minutes, and he could be the next fantasy pickup if any of the Big 3 go down or away.
SOMETHING SEEMS DIFFERENT
With no Giannis (hip/quad) there’s not much to assess when half the box score isn’t playing and they indeed lost to the new look Wizards last night. Khris Middleton got loose for 25 points, eight boards, three assists, three treys and a steal, and he has hopped up into the third round range for the last two weeks, a round above where he has been most of the year. In other words, the positive regression has begun.
So much for any fears about Malcolm Brogdon getting hurt by the arrival of George Hill, and Brogdon ripped off a nice one here with 15 points, six boards, eight assists, one block and one three. He has been a top-40 guy over the last month in just 28.6 mpg, which is definitely a sell-high moment but I’m not sure anybody knows he has been this good.
I feel great. I went hard on the Thomas Bryant and Tomas Satoransky angles a few weeks early and have them all over the place. The Wizards are a fairly easy read now, though it seems there is a bunch of confusion out there about Bryant and that could be a chance to get in on him at a low price. His recent slow stretch has seen analysis around the net go from an enthusiastic pick him up to a firm but cautious hold.
This is crazy talk — be excited peoples. He’s sitting on a top 45-75 stretch (9/8 cat) over the last month in just 23.6 mpg. What’s happening with his minutes is that he’s starting and getting a shorter shift in both the first and second quarters, foul trouble notwithstanding, and then he has to earn his fourth quarter minutes after a short third quarter stint. It’s Scott Brooks and by now everybody should know that he’s going to lean toward vets, so he might not even be entertaining the idea of playing Bryant much in crunch time.
Ian Mahinmi got just five minutes in this one after playing so many minutes against the big centers in Miami, OKC and twice against Philly. He’s always had upside and he has always been injured. No math change there.
But it does impact Bryant if Mahinmi plays so that will be a foil for Brooks to use, as will be Jeff Green (20 points, five boards, four threes, three assists, must-own) and Sam Dekker (13 minutes). Regardless, Bryant is the only durable PF/C option they have and he also fills a niche, so he’s not going lower than 20 mpg the rest of the season. He’s probably a lock to play the 23.6 mpg the rest of the way, and his stat set is easily sweet enough to hold value, so realistically there’s more room than owners need to make this deal happen. I’m good calling him a top 40-75 player the rest of the way as long as nothing too outlierish happens.
Satoransky had a huge night with 18 points, 12 boards, 10 assists, two steals and two threes, and yes that is the arbitrary threshold of a triple-double. Collect your two free tacos at Crap in a Box on your way out.
It’s fair to be skeptical about Satoransky’s value with returns of just top 100-120 (8/9 cat) over the last month in 30.1 mpg. The shift that I think we’ll see is two-fold. He’s going to continue to get more involved as Bradley Beal wears down (and also gives him some leash), but his mpg should continue to increase as well. Over the last two weeks we’ve already seen that as he has brought back top 70-90 returns in 31.3 mpg, with stronger numbers mostly across the board.
There probably isn’t a market to buy Satoransky low anymore, but I’m certainly not selling him high.
The Pacers are a boring fantasy team and there’s rarely new ground to cover, and they easily dispatched the Knicks in New York so, hey, even more boringness. Myles Turner continues to miss time with a sore right shoulder and we can just add it to the list of general concerns, but it doesn’t appear to be serious at this time. I wasn’t on the Turner turning the corner hype train to begin with.
Victor Oladipo (19 points, 8-of-13 FGs, 3-of-5 3PTs, four rebounds, six assists, one steal, five turnovers, 28 minutes) is the only one I gravitate to when looking at the box score.
He has been playing in the top 30-40 range all year and rather than his shot attempts going up after his breakout season (17.9, 16.7), they have gone down, along with his minutes (34.0, 32.5) and with that the defensive numbers have also taken a dive.
Last year’s steals rate everybody was so concerned about as an outlier, has shown to be an outlier so far and whether it’s injuries or a pattern of year-to-year inconsistency it’s killing owners that drafted him in the late first round.
It seems like it’s the injuries as well as the clogged rotation (hey Tyreke) all wrapped up into one, but splitting the difference between this and last year doesn’t seem to be a heavy lift at all. He’s plenty capable of turning on the afterburners and being the guy you drafted, too, so this is by the book buy low territory.
Any top-36 guy should be considered as long as the trade winds surrounding him at the time of the deal don’t seem bad.
WHERE’S THE BEEF
The Knicks are going to be a mess all year but at least we’re getting some clarity (read: not consistency) about what is going on.
I’ll spare you the Enes Kanter hamburger joke and just let you know that he’s not long for New York, as all signs point to him being traded. It’s not good for his fantasy value but he has been able to hold top-75ish numbers in low minutes in the past, so just hang on and the market might be so bad for him that you could even swoop in with a top-125 guy and maybe get somebody to bite.
Tim Hardaway Jr. left the game with a hamstring issue and he hasn’t looked right for a while. I’m not concerned about whether he wants to play, as he clearly does, but it’s tank city there and they might want to start auditioning Courtney Lee at some point. Regardless, it’s not great.
Luke Kornet is a huge name and he hasn’t been great lately. Last night he hit just 1-of-7 shots (1-of-6 3PTs) for three points, three rebounds, three assists and one block in 21 minutes. There will be stretches like this and stretches like you saw when he jumped on the scene.
When you look at his last month, he has brought back top 125-150 value in just 19.4 mpg. It’s going to be Kornet and Mitchell Robinson the rest of the way, barring unforeseeable circumstances, and Robinson hasn’t been able to stay on the court.
Kornet is plenty skilled enough to make things interesting in a position battle with Robinson, and realistically they can both play 24 mpg and it’s on the higher end of what they should be playing at this level right now. Both have easy mid-round upside and that’s why I have them both as must-own players in standard formats.
And it wouldn’t be the Knicks without Mario Hezonja (10 points, six boards, two assists, five steals, one block, one three, 30 minutes) showing up in what might appear to be his patented mid-season, 1-2 month run of value.
Actually, that only happened once, but it happened and if there’s an environment for him to do it in New York could be it. It’s a classic risk-reward pickup but he might be able to bring back top 70-80 value if everything broke correctly, so give him added consideration in deeper 12-14 team formats. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether he can keep it up.
Damyean Dotson left the game with a left calf contusion and that doesn’t sound serious but maybe it opens a few things up for the bit players in deeper leagues.
I’ll miss out on all the Luka Doncic (29 points, eight boards, 12 assists, two steals, 10-of-23 FGs, 2-of-9 3PTs, 7-of-10 FTs) fun this year because I faded him, and I also didn’t expect Dennis Smith Jr. to totally disappear the way he has.
Smith missed his 14th game last night and this one was for mid-back tightness, which didn’t stop the Mavs from digging out a win on the road. Rumors of his trade market have kind of died down and been shot down, but clearly this is Doncic’s show to run and Smith and Co. might be trying to find a landing spot for him. We’ll see.
Until then it’s Doncic sitting on a top 50-80 (8/9 cat) season making the highlight reels, but if you squint you can see some slight erosion to his game as he has slid to the top 60-100 range over the last two weeks, with a glaring 66.7 percent mark from the line on 7.1 attempts per game. There’s all sorts of hidden value if Doncic can figure out the foul line, where his season-long 73.5 percent mark on 6.2 attempts could swing his value way up when he figures it out. That probably happens in leaps over the summers, though, and the name might be bigger than the fantasy game at this moment in time.
I want to throw a quick shout out to Maxi Kleber for finally getting some love in fantasyland, but don’t worry it’s not too much love. He scored 13 points with three rebounds, two blocks and 4-of-4 hits from the foul line in 30 minutes, which isn’t enough to send folks running to the wire by any means.
As we’ve said in these spaces many times he’s currently a top 160-180 guy with upside if he can ever break free of his typical 19-23 mpg role.
What’s nice about Kleber is that he can hit the three and get you money counting stats in general, aided by his 1.3 blocks per game that non-degenerate, non-Mavs fans have no chance of knowing about. He has good percentages and nowhere to go but up, but it’s the way he’s playing in reality ball that’s turning heads.
He is a sneaky stash for competitive 12-14 team leagues of varying player pool depths. It’s hard to see how he doesn’t get hurt by the Dirk farewell tour, but the cream usually rises to the top with this stuff.
J.J. Barea sounds like he tore his Achilles and that’s just sad to hear about, and his minutes in the low 20s go to both Jalen Brunson and Devin Harris. Neither have any fantasy appeal right now but the loss of Barea will spray some extra shots and assists around the rotation, but it’s hard to assign any real value because of it.
The Ryan Saunders show rolled into Night 2 but this time they lost at home and Karl-Anthony Towns (30 points, 11 boards, four blocks, one three, 5-of-5 FTs) rolled an ankle, but in general everybody was productive except for poor Dario Saric (zero points, four rebounds, one assist, 19 minutes).
I said on Fantasy NBA Today that Saric was a must-own guy for me and much of that was based on his past history producing at a mid-round level, which is hard to find and thus the impetus to make that call, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad.
It’s a sign that Saunders isn’t changing the way he and Taj Gibson (10 points, 15 boards, one steal, 30 minutes) have been deployed, or at best for Saric speculators that Saunders doesn’t want to shake things up too fast. The rationale is still there for a hold because reacting to one game isn’t typically wise, but it knocked at least two legs out from underneath the chair.
Derrick Rose (ankle) returned and was productive, scoring 21 points with a full stat line, so he didn’t take some extraordinary hit because Thibs is no longer there, which also wasn’t expected. You just never know with the Thibs stuff how far it goes.
The story here again, though, was that everybody was good (except for Dario Kart) in this one. Andrew Wiggins kept it up with 17 points, six boards, three assists, one steal, two blocks and a three in 39 minutes, and Jeff Teague went for 12 & 6 with two steals and two blocks.
Josh Okogie got on the board with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, four threes, two boards and a steal in 23 minutes, and you wonder about whether he got a green light from Saunders as that would be a pretty new school thing to do.
Saunders, after all, is just 32 years old and though he spent most of that time around the game, with this team needing to fill space it makes sense to get Okogie shooting confidently sooner rather than later even if it hurts early on. He’s still not playing well enough to add him because the numbers and splits truly are horrific, but the role and the potential keep it interesting enough to track.
Gorgui Dieng has now seen 22 and 17 minutes in the last two games and Towns has had five fouls in both of those games. Dieng hasn’t done anything in the box score to warrant a pickup, but if Towns misses time you know he can put up a nice stat line, and if he somehow ferrets 20 mpg out of this situation he has a chance at the late-round floor and upside play I’m always talking about.
There haven’t been any Tyus Jones (three points, 1-of-3 FGs, two boards, seven assists, 19 minutes) breakouts just yet, but he’s hanging around enough for 14-16 team owners to keep paying attention. He’s a top-200ish guy already in just 20 mpg this year.
RUNNING OUT OF GAS
The Lakers played their sixth game in 10 days and they couldn’t match the energy of the Jazz in Utah, a stretch in which they’ve gone 4-6 without LeBron James, who will miss another week and go when he’s 100 percent ready to go. Groin injuries are tricky and you don’t mess around with them if you’re LeBron James.
The entire Lakers box score was so jacked up that nothing should be evaluated based on this game at all. Michael Beasley (17 points, three boards, two steals, one block, 18 minutes) was the productive one and left with a hand injury that doesn’t appear to be too serious.
Just get ready for LeBron’s eventual return and if you’re a Lakers fan or Lonzo Ball owner, and just hope they keep Rajon Rondo’s role to a minimum when he returns.
Teams have turning points and though the Lakers were weary and didn’t have LeBron around, the Jazz had a nice little run at the end of the first half where they might have gotten some mojo back.
The game was on ESPN, the crowd was going nuts and they looked like a team that wanted to send a message to their fans, who had been booing lately, and also to the rest of the league that they might be a bit of a handful.
The other interesting aspect of this was Donovan Mitchell’s nice line, as he scored 33 points on 14-of-24 shooting with four rebounds, a career-high nine assists, one steal, two blocks and four triples. Mitchell has really hurt owners as a second round pick giving you just top 60-85 value (8/9 cat) on the year, driven by a dip in field goal percentage, an increase in shots and mild erosion everywhere.
Things were supposed to go in the other direction, with more improvements rather than ‘losses’ on the stat sheet. But injuries have sapped his explosion in my opinion, and even on his dunk over JaVale McGee I don’t quite think he was at peak Mitchell from last season.
The good news is that he can still get his legs back, especially over the All Star break, if he doesn’t get too crazy in the rookie-sophomore game, which he won’t. Rest on the other hand? All All-Star Weekend participants are susceptible to a lack of that.
Still, his recent play might be a sign that he’s starting to get it on track. He has returned top-30 value over the last two weeks, with numbers that are in the ballpark of what you could expect going forward.
There is a lot of frustration being felt by owners out there and some are probably willing to part ways for a top 50-60 value. Maybe less if they believe the recent play is more related to point guard absences than a true step forward. There’s some margin to be made and there’s a reasonable enough floor here to make it a worthwhile risk.
Royce O’Neale had a nice night with 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting (5-of-12 3PTs), seven boards and two steals over 40 minutes in his start, which of course comes because of the aforementioned point guard issues. O’Neale is a de facto point guard when the Jazz get shorthanded so he’s on the radar in streaming situations and in deeper formats.
The guy who has flown a bit under the radar for a slow start to the season is Hoop Ball’s own alumni, Smokin’ Joe Ingles. He’s sitting in the top 80-100 (8/9 cat) so far this season and like Mitchell, he hasn’t taken the step forward that he’s capable of taking.
My take on their whole team is that they’re reliant on Mitchell for his athleticism because the rest of them lack in that area, and when he’s not sharp it can become fatal for the offense.
Ingles’ inconsistency and crazy home/away splits are just weird for a guy that has been very consistent in his short fantasy career. He’s also looking at a fairly predictable positive shooting regression and a fairly predictable improvement on the road, so it’s a buy the book buy low here.
TWO SHIPS PASSING IN THE NIGHT
The Nets tried to win four straight but that would have required winning in Toronto and it was a fold for Brooklyn last night.
I might need to eat a little bit of crow for D’Angelo Russell, since I’ve been a detractor for a while and he’s riding a solid top 35-60 run over the last month, with shooting that either represents an improvement over past seasons or the apex which is soon to fall.
The 45.5 percent from the field and 100 percent from the line (1.6 FTAs/gm) in that sample are much too rich, and his numbers are high in general, so he’s probably more like a top 60-70 guy in 8-cat and top 80-100 guy in 9-cat, and how you’re factoring Caris LeVert’s eventual return into that is sort of at one’s own discretion.
There’s also the elephant in the room about carrying three ballhandlers, including Spencer Dinwiddie, who just got paid. The math is pretty simple here and it’s a pretty obvious and by the book sell high situation for Russell.
Dinwiddie has hit just 41.5 percent of his shots over the last month, and aside from last season the year before he was a 44.4 percent shooter and this year he has hit 45.5 percent of his looks. It’s almost a lock that he’s on the upswing but the presence of LeVert’s return and no real news on the Russell situation have created a nice corresponding buy low chance.
THE WRIGHT DIRECTION
I could tell you that Danny Green returned from his day off and that could easily sum up the Raptors beat. Kyle Lowry (four points, eight assists, 1-of-3 FGs, 23 minutes) wasn’t needed and he’s about a week or two of healthy play away from really getting after it.
Delon Wright hasn’t been a non-factor lately, and he put up 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting with one three, five boards, two assists and three steals in 23 minutes. He has trended more toward the top 160-180 over the last few weeks and in 9-cat leagues he has a top-120 split in 9-cat formats.
Things don’t seem to be getting any easier with the rotation, but if he plays well he starts to move toward that possible late-round with upside guy he was drafted to be.
I could just write that the Cavs suck and … you get the point. Alec Burks had another versatile showing in their blowout loss to the Rockets, scoring 13 points with seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, two blocks and a trey in 27 minutes.
Burks is giving you top 50-80 (9/8 cat) numbers over the last two weeks but everything prior to that had shown the typical deficient stat set that has been the book on him. It’s pretty hard to bet on him turning a page, but at least you know what’s going on in case it continues. I play in some deep leagues and I’m not reaching for any of these guys.
I’m sure glad I had James Harden (43 points, 10 boards, 12 assists, two steals, two blocks, eight threes, 12-of-24 FGs, 11-of-11 FTs) as the No. 1 overall pick in 8-cat leagues because that was enough to get him rostered on a few squads.
He and Clint Capela (19 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal, two blocks, 7-of-8 FGs, 5-of-7 FTs) are the foundation of one big money entry, and of course that team is doing great.
Even during this historic run he hasn’t been able to tackle Anthony Davis in 9-cat leagues, which is what happens when you average seven turnovers in the last seven games. Capela has moved into the second round on the season, and fortunes shifted for folks that pounced when he was merely in the top-75 early in the year.
Ignore the Brandon Knight (12 points, four rebounds, four assists, 18 minutes) and James Ennis (seven points, four rebounds, four cash counters, 20 minutes) lines in their blowout win over the Cavs, but Danuel House Jr. (14 points, three treys, five boards, two assists, one steal, two blocks) has gone on a mid-round run lately that’s worth a quick look.
The numbers are certainly unsustainable and one would have to know that Eric Gordon’s (knee) return could wipe him out, but continued successful play lines him up to be a possible late-round guy and a potential beneficiary after that.
Austin Rivers (12 points, two threes, two boards, three assists, 24 minutes) isn’t producing enough to offset the overall lack of versatility in his production. He’s definitely a better points guy and he’s more for the 14-16 team crowd, probably with or without Gordon back.
The Hornets went into Portland and got shellacked and like a few teams we’ve discussed tonight, there just isn’t a lot going on with the Hornets in fantasy leagues.
Kemba Walker (18 points, four treys, three assists) has slid from the first round to the second, Jeremy Lamb (15 points, five boards, one steal) is back from his hamstring injury and looking to bounceback from a tough shooting month in December.
Lamb has been a top 70-100 value (9/8 cat) when on the floor this season in 29.2 mpg and the best way to sum it up for him is to say he hasn’t taken the step forward this season that we expected, but he looks like he still can as long as he stays healthy.
There’s some wiggle room to buy low since it’s been a few weeks since he was a nightly cruiser in the box score. The replacement centers aren’t worth the ink and everybody else is who we thought they were.
Similarly the Blazers have their fantasy guys and it’s been that way for a while. Jusuf Nurkic’s explosion is fun to talk about, and he had another monster last night with 11 points, 11 boards, eight assists, one steal and six blocks. He’s sitting on a top-40 season after getting selected on the late side of the middle rounds in drafts.
Damian Lillard also posted a monster with a career-high four blocks, three steals and then a 20-4-5 line from there. C.J. McCollum got into the act as his Vote for Damian video put him into the spotlight, so good timing there, and he put up 30 points with five treys, six boards and a steal. He’s still sitting in the top-75 with some positive regression potential but not a lot, and more question marks about his explosion than answers. He needs to get to the line more.
What are you going to learn in a 35-point game between the Bulls and the Warriors? Not much. Chandler Hutchison (six points, six rebounds, one steal) still isn’t on the radar, everybody not named Zach LaVine (29 points, 10-of-16 FGs) didn’t do anything, and Bobby Portis (16 points, 17 minutes, four rebounds, two steals, one three, 7-of-8 FTs) managed to rack up a bunch of stats before they called him off due to the blowout. Knibb High School Football Rules!
FORM BLAZING SWORD
I can’t wait to watch DeMarcus Cousins with this Warriors team. What an experiment. Alas, there was a game against the Bulls that was hard to sit through. Klay Thompson scored 30 points with seven treys as he sits near ADP, and Stephen Curry scored 28 points with a typically fat line as he keeps turning in top-3 value in standard leagues.
That’s it for this week – good luck
May 24, 2019, 9:48 pmMike DAntoni - Coach - Houston Rockets
Despite Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta stating his intention to bring back coach Mike D’Antoni, recent departures of key staff may indicate that the team is trying to nudge MDA out according to NYT’s Marc Stein.
Large parts of D’Antoni’s staff including assistant coach Roy Rogers, assistant Mitch Vanya, video coordinator John Cho and player development coach Irv Roland (noted for his work with James Harden) will not be returning next season for the Rockets. There’s some speculation that despite Fertitta’s comments, GM Daryl Morey isn’t fully on board and might be the primary reason behind the recent firings. D’Antoni has one more season on his contract and it’s looking increasingly likely that there will be another shoe to drop.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
May 24, 2019, 4:32 pmKevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant (calf strain) still hasn’t progressed to on-court work.
Durant has already been declared “unlikely” for Thursday’s Game 1 of the Finals and considering DeMarcus Cousins has practiced in full and scrimmaged with the team, it’s looking like he might return to action before Durant. There’s almost a week until the Finals start so we’ll have an update before then.
Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter
May 24, 2019, 4:10 pmDeMarcus Cousins - C - Golden State Warriors
DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quad) scrimmaged on Friday with coach Steve Kerr adding that he looked good.
It's still unclear what the timetable is for Cousins but he hasn't yet been ruled out for Game 1 of the Finals. We'll have an update as we draw closer to the start of the Finals next Thursday.
Source: Nick Friedell on Twitter
May 24, 2019, 3:52 pmAdam Silver - Commissioner - Free Agent
The NBA has moved the start time of free agency to 6 p.m. ET on June 30.
Previously, free agency officially kicked off at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 but the league is moving it up by six hours to accommodate an extra evening in the news cycle. Additionally, teams have permission to set up free agent meetings starting at 6 p.m. ET on June 29.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
May 24, 2019, 3:44 pmNeil Olshey - President - Trail Blazers
The Blazers have extended the contract of President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey through 2024.
Olshey was being courted by the Wizards but will stay in Portland along with coach Terry Stotts. They’ll look to run it back next season, hopefully with a full roster intact.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
May 24, 2019, 3:41 pmPatrick McCaw - G - Toronto Raptors
Patrick McCaw (personal) has been ruled out for Saturday’s Game 6 vs. the Bucks.
McCaw hasn’t played all series and has pretty much been a non-factor all playoffs.
Source: NBA Injury Report
May 24, 2019, 3:37 pmAndre Iguodala - G/F - Golden State Warriors
Andre Iguodala (left calf tightness) did not participate in Friday’s practice session.
Iguodala sat out Game 4 of the Conference Finals with the tight calf but the Warriors aren’t worried about him missing Game 1 of the Finals.
Source: Connor Letourneau on Twitter
May 24, 2019, 11:45 amNeil Olshey - Team - Trail Blazers
According to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington, the Wizards have shown interest in Blazers’ President Neil Olshey becoming the new President of Basketball Operations for the Wizards.
Ted Leonsis has yet to request permission to interview Olshey, who has spent the last seven years with the Blazers and is under contract through the 2020-21 season. Masai Ujiri’s name has also been thrown around as a possible candidate and the Wizards would obviously be willing to wait until the end of playoffs before rushing to a decision.
May 24, 2019, 11:32 amNikola Jokic - C - Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic said he plans to play for his home country Serbia during the 2019 FIBA World Cup this Summer.
“I am very pleased with everything I did in the NBA this season, I had a great year in which I performed at the All-Star Game and was selected in the NBA All-Star Five. For me, the cherry on top of this whole season would be a medal with the national team. I am fully prepared to do my best to achieve this goal”, said Jokic, confirming his participation. He will have a little bit of time to rest up, but Serbia is expected to compete against Angola, the Philippines and Italy starting on August 31. The miles will be a test for the big man, but one he has aced before.
May 23, 2019, 11:49 pmKhris Middleton - F - Milwaukee Bucks
Khris Middleton really struggled in Thursday's Game 5, scoring six points (2-of-9 shooting) and pulling down 10 boards as the Bucks fell 105-99 at home.
Middleton's disappearing act offensively was the difference for the Bucks who really need their second best offensive option to demand the ball and produce more. The airball late in the game was a microcosm of the outing for Middleton. He'll need to take more than nine shots (less than any other Bucks starter) for the team to have a good shot at a Game 6 win in Toronto.