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

    The 2020 All-Star weekend was one of the more entertaining ones that we have had in quite some time.  The weekend started off with the U.S. team defeating the World team in the Rising Stars Game with Miles Bridges taking home the MVP award.  Before that game, Common won the Celebrity Game MVP as he took down Stephen A. Smith’s squad.

    On Saturday night, Bam Adebayo surprised everyone and won the skills competition.  The 3-point contest was down to the wire as it took Buddy Hield’s last shot to win it over Devin Booker.  The Mountain Dew Zone shot that is worth 3 points added an interesting flair to the competition.  To be honest, I do not really care to say much about the dunk contest since Aaron Gordon should have won, but the judges decided to crown Derrick Jones Jr. the champion.  Although Jones had a great dunk contest, Gordon jumped over Tacko Fall…. Enough said.

    Sunday night was the most entertaining All-Star game that I have ever watched. Although the first three quarters seemed pretty lackadaisical, the fourth quarter was insanely competitive.  There were fouls, defense, arguing calls and even people taking charges, which are all things that you never really see in an All-Star game.  Kawhi Leonard was awarded the first ever Kobe Bryant MVP award as he scored 30 points with eight 3-pointers.  Team LeBron was able to defeat Team Giannis 157-155 on an Anthony Davis game-winning free throw after getting fouled by Kyle Lowry.

    Overall, the 2020 All-Star weekend was very exciting and we can now shift our focus to the remainder of the regular season.

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    3 games: Bulls

    2 games: 76ers, Bucks, Cavs, Celtics, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Mavs, Nets, Nuggets, Pacers, Pelicans, Pistons, Raptors, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Warriors, Wizards, Wolves

    1 game: Clippers, Knicks, Magic

    Best Schedule: Wizards (Cavs, at Bulls)

    The Wizards are playing two of the teams that are below them in the Eastern Conference standings, which could help them inch closer to the Magic.  Bradley Beal will have to lead a surprisingly solid Wizards offense past two of the lesser teams in the NBA.  Beal, Davis Bertans, Ish Smith and Rui Hachimura should be inserted into all lineups.

    Worst Schedule: Wolves (Celtics, at Nuggets)

    The Wolves now have the dynamic duo of D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns and will try to see if that is a compatible fit as we wind down the second half of the season.  However, playing against the Celtics and Nuggets is a rough week regardless of how good of a team you are, so the Wolves will likely walk away from this week with an 0-2 record.

    Game of the Week: Celtics at Lakers on Sunday at 3:30 PM ET

    The Celtics ended the break on a high note with a win over the Clippers and will look to make a statement with a win over the Lakers on Sunday.  The Lakers are sitting at the first seed in the West, while the Celtics are fighting for the second seed with the Raptors.  This should be an entertaining matchup, but you never know as the Celtics destroyed the Lakers the last time these teams met.  Tune in on Sunday afternoon for what should be an exciting game.

    Injury Report

    Kris Dunn (knee) could miss the remainder of the season due to his right MCL sprain.  The Bulls have been battling injuries all season, so this is nothing new for them.  Tomas Satoransky will likely see the biggest boost in value with Dunn out, though he was already playing well beforehand.

    Aside from his injury, all of the day-to day guys should be ready to go post All-Star break.  Hopefully, this section of the article can be this short every week, but we know how harsh the injury bug is.

    Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.

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

Fantasy News

  • Clint Capela
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    According to Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlantic Journal Constitution, Clint Capela had been progressing towards participating in half-court workouts prior to the season being suspended.

    There was some uncertainty surrounding Capela's potential return this season, but now he will have a much better shot at getting a few games below his belt before the conclusion of the season. If Capela does indeed find himself on the court for a few games, we'd have to imagine that he will be on a strict minutes limit as Lloyd Pierce alluded to last month.

    Source: Atlantic Journal Constitution

  • Cameron Johnson
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Cameron Johnson is fully cleared from mononucleosis that he has been battling for the past few weeks.

    Johnson missed the final three games before the league was suspended due to mononucleosis, but will be ready to go when the season starts up again. Johnson was looking at an expanded role with Kelly Oubre Jr. injured, but there is now a chance that Oubre Jr. will be ready a situation to monitor when the season gets ready to resume.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Joe Harris
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    Joe Harris said that he would like to re-sign with the Nets this summer.

    When Harris was asked if he would like to play with the Nets next season, he replied, “Yeah, definitely! Why wouldn’t you?" The Nets will have Harris' Bird Rights and will certainly like to bring him back, but Harris will be a highly-coveted free agent this summer and will be looking to cash in on what is seen as a weaker free agent class.

    Source: New York Post

  • Jonathan Isaac
    PF, Orlando Magic

    Jonathan Isaac has been continuing his rehab work from a severe knee sprain amid the NBA hiatus.

    Isaac has been out since early in the calendar year after suffering a left knee sprain and bone bruise. The NBA denied the Magic a Disabled Player Exception earlier in the year, as doctors believed that Isaac wouldn't be out until mid June. Isaac was a long shot to return by the playoffs, but the hiatus has given him a better chance to return and potentially be ready for the start of the playoffs. This is an interesting watch as we continue to wait for the NBA, and life in general, to resume as normal.

    Source: The Athletic

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The New York Post's Marc Berman reports that the NBA's best-case scenario is looking like a late June to early July brief regular season restart with a one-site, 16-team playoff, possibly with each series a best-of-three.

    He mentions that a league official said that nothing is off the table, so we're far away from anything definitive. There is still obviously a chance that the season gets cancelled, but the league is "very determined to have a champion". Don't expect anything to be determined for many weeks, if not months.

    Source: The New York Post

  • John Wall
    PG, Washington Wizards

    John Wall (Achilles) was participating in scrimmages with the Capital City Go-Go before the NBA suspended its season.

    Wall was scrimmaging every three days or thereabouts, depending on the schedule, and was a regular presence at the team's practices. There's even video of him throwing down a nasty jam on rookie Garrison Mathews at the link below. Despite this notable step forward in his recovery, the Wizards have maintained that Wall will not return this season, even with the hiatus giving Wall an extra few months of recovery time.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Tyler Bey
    SG, College

    University of Colorado shooting guard Tyler Bey declared for the 2020 NBA Draft on Sunday.

    The junior is being regarded as an early second-round draft prospect for this summer. Bey has some potential as a fantasy asset based upon his ability to accumulate steals and blocks, but it's unclear what kind of a role he would carry as a rookie in the NBA. His odds to become a defensive ace, who also develops consistent range from deep, is what NBA squads will be calculating when they look at him on draft day.

    Source: Tyler Bey on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Marcus Smart announced that he has been cleared of COVID-19 since Friday.

    It is good to see that Smart made a full recovery from the virus. Before this crisis hit the scene Smart was having a strong season with consistent mid-round value for the Celtics. With his secure role as a defensive anchor and his improved shooting from deep, he will continue to be a strong option whenever play resumes.

    Source: Marcus Smart on Twitter

  • Reggie Perry
    PF, College

    Mississippi State forward Reggie Perry declared for the 2020 NBA Draft on Sunday.

    Perry said he will not be going back to college in the fall, and unlike in 2019 when he declared for the draft before withdrawing to return to college, he intends to sign with an agent this time around. He is shaping up to be a second-round selection and made some strong strides during his Sophmore campaign at Missippi State last season, averaging 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds on .500 shooting from the field. He'll need to continue improving upon this year's free-throw percentage (.768) and prove he can shoot the NBA three-pointer (.324) to become a prospect for standard fantasy leagues next season.

    Source: Jeff Goodman on Twitter

  • Kris Dunn
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes that there have been multiple rumors connecting the Clippers with impending free agent Kris Dunn.

    Dunn would only add to the Clippers' collection of outstanding defensive talent, though he may be hunting for a role closer to the starting lineup in a perfect world. He's currently shelved by a right MCL sprain that was initially expected to sideline him for the entire season. No matter where Dunn ends up, it's going to take a perfect set of circumstances for him to produce worthwhile numbers outside of the steals category.

    Source: The Athletic