• Welcome, Hoop Ball, readers another edition of The Week Ahead!

    As this is a shortened week due to the All-Star break, here are my predictions for every game and event throughout All-Star weekend:

    Rising Stars Game

    Team U.S beats Team World- 167-155

    Rising Stars MVP: Trae Young (38 points, 10 3-pointers)

    This game has potential to be more competitive than the All-Star game as the rosters for the All-Star game seem so one-sided to me.  It will be interesting to see Trae Young, Ja Morant and Zion Williamson play on the same team against Luka Doncic, Deandre Ayton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.  Ultimately, I believe Trae Young and the U.S team pull out the win.

    Saturday Night Festivities

    Skills Competition- Jayson Tatum (He will repeat!!!!)

    3-Point Contest- Predicted it in an earlier article and sticking with it, Duncan Robinson

    Dunk Contest- Aaron Gordon

    I believe this will be one of the least entertaining Saturday nights that we have had in quite some time as I am not a fan of the choices for the dunk contest at all.  I believe that a 1-on-1 competition is exactly what the NBA needs to shake things up and bring the fun back to All-Star weekend.

    All-Star Game

    Team LeBron beats Team Giannis- 159-142 (new format created lower score)

    All-Star Game MVP– Damian Lillard (34 points, 8 3-pointers)

    In my opinion, the new All-Star game format is very interesting and could make the game more competitive than we have ever seen.  Also, LeBron James absolutely dominated Giannis Antetokounmpo on draft night.

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    2 games: Bucks, Celtics, Clippers, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Magic, Mavs, Nets, Nuggets, Pacers, Pelicans, Pistons, Raptors, Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Warriors, Wizards, Wolves

    1 game: 76ers, Bulls, Cavs, Grizzlies, Knicks, Rockets

    Best Schedule: Magic (Hawks, Pistons)

    The Magic are playing two home games prior to the All-Star break against two of the worst teams in the East in the Hawks and Pistons.  They should be able to win their last two games before the All-Star break as the further cement themselves into the seventh seed.

    Worst Schedule: Rockets (Celtics)

    The Rockets only have one game and it is against the Celtics, who are on a seven-game winning streak and are finally fully healthy.  The Celtics also match up well against their small-ball tactics and should give that lineup trouble.  The Rockets will have issues dealing with the balanced attack of the Celtics, which is why they have the worst schedule of the shortened week.

    Game of the Week: Clippers at Celtics on Thursday at 8 PM ET

    The Celtics are hot and the Clippers are trying to prove that they can beat the best teams in the league.  This game should be competitive as the week winds down and heads to All-Star weekend.  Tune in on Thursday night for a matchup between two of the top teams in the NBA that finally appear to be fully healthy.

    Waiver Wire Watch

    Malik Beasley-  As the Wolves gutted half of their roster, Beasley is likely the second-best player that they acquired behind D’Angelo Russell.  Beasley should be starting, but even if he comes off the bench he should have a large enough role where he warrants standard league attention.  He should be picked up in all formats with the hopes that his first performance in a Wolves uniform was a sign of things to come.  We could see a similar second-half to what Beasley produced for the Nuggets last season.  Give him a look.

    Danuel House Jr.– The Rockets are playing small-ball and House remains in the starting lineup, so there are rebounds and statistics overall to go around.  This no-center lineup that will rotate between six players will ensure that all of them have sufficient fantasy value for standard formats (except maybe Eric Gordon). He will provide triples and steals at a solid clip, but there are still some worries that the introduction of Robert Covington will overshadow his play and limit his value.  However, he is still worth picking up as he is a lock for 30-plus minutes per night.

    Thon Maker- This is purely a speculative add.  Opportunities will be there since the Pistons got rid of Drummond.  There is a chance that Maker will finally be unleashed.  I believe that his max value for this season is top-50, while his minimum value is top-200.  Therefore, he is a no-brainer to pick up for deeper leagues, but standard formats should keep an eye on him as well. Obviously Christian Wood is already rostered in every league.

    Injury Report

    There were actually no serious injuries this week for the first time since I have started writing this article, which was the beginning of last season.  It is enlightening to see a state of competition and health restored to the NBA that we have not seen in quite some time.  Hopefully, players remain healthy and the players that are currently injured recover and return to the court as soon as possible.

    Here is a list of guys who are day-to-day:

    Clint Capela, Cam Reddish, Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic, Michael Porter Jr., Will Barton, Markieff Morris, Derrick Rose, Svi Mykhailiuk, Eric Gordon, Patrick Beverley, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Giannis Antetokounmpo, D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Allonzo Trier, Deandre Ayton, Aron Baynes, Richaun Holmes, Kyle Lowry

    Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.

    Thanks for reading this week’s edition of The Week Ahead!

Fantasy News

  • Damion Lee
    SG, Golden State Warriors

    Damion Lee went 4-for-12 from the field and 4-for-4 at the line to finish Thursday's game with 13 points, one 3-pointer, four rebounds, three assists and one steal.

    Lee has been one of the hotter pickups since D'Angelo Russell was sent to the Wolves. However, some buyer's remorse might be setting in as Lee's .413 shooting from the field can dip thanks to the variance that comes along with him being a streaky shooter, making more suiting for FG-punting builds.

  • Juan Toscano-Anderson
    PF, Golden State Warriors

    Juan Toscano-Anderson was a beneficiary of lengthy garbage time in Thursday's loss to the Rockets, recording a career-high 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting with seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block.

    JTA played well, but as mentioned this game was long over even before the fans could form their conga line leading out of the arena. He's worth a watch list spot if you're playing in an 18-teamer or deeper, but expect him to fall off when Stephen Curry eventually returns.

  • Andrew Wiggins
    SF, Golden State Warriors

    Andrew Wiggins recorded a team-high 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting with three rebounds, two 3s, one steal and two blocks in a loss to the Rockets on Thursday.

    There's not much more to add regarding Wiggins and the Warriors' sad state. On a positive note, Wiggins has managed to keep the peripherals going since joining the Dubs, something he should be able to sustain ROS.

  • DeMarre Carroll
    SF, Houston Rockets

    DeMarre Carroll debuted for the Rockets on Thursday vs. the Warriors but was quiet in his 13 minutes off the bench with just two points (2-of-2 FTs), three rebounds and four assists.

    Carroll was added more for playoff depth as a veteran shooter. He's not going to make noise in fantasy, so leave him on the wire.

  • Jeff Green
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Jeff Green made his debut for the Rockets on Thursday and looked surprisingly spry given that he's 33 years young, chiming in with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting with four 3s, four rebounds and one steal in 24 minutes.

    Before you go rushing off to grab Green, note that there was so much garbage time in this one, you could have built a landfill. He was likely seeing extra run to get acclimated with his new team and system. Leave him on the wire for now. Green's extra time on the floor came at the expense of Danuel House, who played just 19 minutes and was able to tally 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting (three 3s) with three rebounds and one assist. House remains a standard-league hold at this time.

  • James Harden
    PG, Houston Rockets

    Coming out of the All-Star break, a refreshed and rested James Harden was back in tip-top form, leading the Rockets to a 135-105 stomping of the Warriors with 29 points (6-of-16 FGs, 14-of-15 FTs), 10 dimes and a fat stat line.

    Harden was in full beast mode (beard mode?) in this one, handily dispatching with the Dubs with three rebounds, three treys, three steals and two blocks, while committing just one turnover. 2019-20 has been rockier than usual for Harden as he saw some unfamiliar territory with ups and downs. He's back and killing it, so clearly the ASB-rest may have been exactly what the doctor ordered.

  • Kent Bazemore
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Kent Bazemore saw some quality run in Thursday's win over the Grizzlies, logging 23 minutes off the bench and dropping 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting with three rebounds, two 3s and one steal.

    Bazemore is not an efficient scorer, so his .600 clip from the field tonight should be taken with a hefty grain of salt. He's been widely inconsistent for most of the season but is worth keeping an eye on in case he makes it a habit of playing well.

  • Jabari Parker
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    Jabari Parker (right shoulder impingement) debuted for the Kings on Thursday but was unremarkable in his 15 minutes off the bench, tallying just four points, four rebounds and two assists.

    While Parker is not a high-impact player in fantasy, we should expect to see those minutes rise as he gets his legs back. And given that Marvin Bagley III's timetable is in weeks, Parker may be worth a streamer once he's closer to 100 percent.

  • Harrison Barnes
    SF, Sacramento Kings

    Harrison Barnes was unconscious as he went 7-for-11 from deep en route to his game-high 32 points in Thursday's 129-125 win over the Grizzlies.

    Barnes was hot as hell, making 11-of-17 shots from the field, but chipped with just a sprinkling of peripherals outside of the 3-pointers, adding one rebound, one assist and one steal to the box. Even when he's on a tear, Barnes still is just a score-first (only) guy, who doesn't really diversify into the other categories. Still, it was a good night overall. Just don't expect him to be THIS good every night moving forward.

  • Tyus Jones
    PG, Memphis Grizzlies

    Tyus Jones made his 18 minutes on the floor count on Thursday, chipping in 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting with three rebounds, two 3s and six assists.

    Jones is flying under the radar lately and should be on the radars of managers looking for a quality guard to stream. While he's not averaging 20 minutes per game, his per-36 minute numbers of 13.2 points, 8.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per game on .468 shooting from the field should be enough to convince you that he's worth the grab.