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

    The NBA is back and we are excited to cover the bubble games! It has been interesting to see what the players have been doing during quarantine and in the bubble, but it is great to be back to basketball!

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    4 games: 76ers, Celtics, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Magic, Nets, Nuggets, Pelicans, Pacers, Raptors, Spurs, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Wizards

    3 games: Bucks, Mavs, Rockets, Suns

    Best Schedule: Pelicans (Grizzlies, Kings, Wizards, Spurs)

    The Pelicans are fighting to make the playoffs, so it definitely helps that their next four games are against teams that are no higher than the eighth seed.  If they are able to give Zion Williamson some more minutes they could definitely jump into the playoffs, but if he remains limited they could have some difficulty.

    Worst Schedule: Nets (Bucks, Celtics, Kings, Clippers)

    The Nets are facing three of the top-5 teams in the NBA as well as the Kings this week, so it will be a rough week for them.  However, they are virtually locked into the playoffs so the worst that can happen is the Magic beat them out for the seventh seed and force them to play the Wizards in the play-in games.

    Game of the Week: Rockets vs Lakers on Thursday at 9 PM ET

    The Rockets and Lakers always have intense matchups and we could see a potential foreshadowing of a playoff series if this game is competitive. Both teams have star power and solid benches, so this could be an exciting game.  Tune in on Thursday night!

    Waiver Wire Watch 

    Here are five guys that should have a huge fantasy boost due to their increased role in the bubble:

    Tyler Johnson- Running with the starters and should maintain late-round value due to his scoring ability.  He has not gotten off to a hot start but he should be able to turn it around.

    Cameron Johnson– Johnson is a legitimate threat from beyond the arc, and now that he is starting he could pick up some traction as a top-100 option.

    Gary Trent Jr.– Another sharpshooter that has carved out a solid role on his team, but Trent remains on the bench and is more of a deeper-league shooting specialist.

    Ish Smith- Without Bradley Beal, the Wizards are desperate for offense and Ish Smith will be running with the starters to help out with the lack of scoring.

    Thomas Bryant- Bryant seems as healthy as ever and has played well over his first two games in the bubble.  He could easily provide top-50 value for the remainder of the season and should be owned in all formats. Hopefully you didn’t let a disappointing regular season dissuade you from picking him up in resumption drafts.

    Injury/Covid Report

    Jonathan Isaac (torn ACL) will be out for the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL on Sunday. Isaac just returned from injury and was looking to pick up where he had left off when he got hurt, but he will be forced to miss the rest of this season and likely some of next season as well.

    Dennis Schroder isn’t sick or hurt but he did leave the bubble for the birth of his child on Monday. He’ll miss a couple games for sure.

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

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