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

    As you probably saw throughout the weekend, the All-Star events were very exciting and full of new winners.  Prior to the All-Star Game, Anthony Davis was asked about his trade list and he said that he never said the Celtics were not on his list.  It is possible that he could just be fooling the media, but it is also possible that he is keeping his options open despite his father not wanting him to play for the Celtics.  We will see what happens with Davis when the offseason rolls around.

    The Rising Stars Game resulted in a 161-144 Team USA win over Team World.  Kyle Kuzma took home the MVP with 35 points and 6 rebounds.  Other notable performances included Jayson Tatum scoring 30 points, Trae Young putting up 25 points with 7 rebounds and 10 assists and Ben Simmons putting up 28 points with 5 rebounds and 6 assists.

    All-Star Saturday Night, which is personally my favorite part of the weekend, was full of unexpected results and constant entertainment.  Jayson Tatum won the Skills Competition on a half-court shot to beat Trae Young.  Joe Harris edged out Steph Curry to win the 3-Point Contest.  Hamidou Diallo of the Thunder took home the Slam Dunk title and his most notable dunk was jumping over Shaquille O’Neal and putting his elbow in the rim. Team LeBron beat Team Giannis 178-164 in the All-Star Game after late-game heroics from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and the rest of the talented roster.  Dirk Nowitzki played just 4 minutes in the game, but hit 3 deep threes and had his fellow NBA players and the fans going crazy.  Dwyane Wade played 10 minutes and had 7 points with 2 rebounds and 4 assists.  Kevin Durant took home the All-Star MVP with 31 points and 7 rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting.  Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 38 points with 11 rebounds and 5 assists on 17-of-23 shooting.  The All-Star weekend was as exciting as always.

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    2 games: All teams

    Best Schedule: Suns (at Cavs, at Hawks)

    The Suns play two games, like all other NBA teams, and are playing two of the worst teams in the NBA.  Although the two games are on the road, the Cavs and Hawks are not great defensive teams and the Suns are capable of putting up big scoring numbers.  These games could be high scoring and even though the Suns could lose, the fantasy numbers should be good to see.  Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Kelly Oubre Jr., and TJ Warren (if he is ready to return) should put up good numbers this week.

    Worst Schedule: Rockets (at Lakers, at Warriors)

    The Rockets come out of the break with two road games against the two best players in the NBA, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.  They are playing against a Lakers team that is struggling to find their footing, so they could win this game.  However, they are playing the Warriors at Oracle Arena after that and the Warriors are now looking like the team that won 3 out of the last 4 championships.  Aside from James Harden, no one on this roster is guaranteed a solid fantasy week except maybe Chris Paul.

    Game of the Week: Celtics at Bucks on Thursday, February 21st at 8 PM ET

    The Celtics and Bucks have some beef due to the tough playoff series last season, and the Bucks are looking good with the best record in the NBA while the Celtics are still trying to find their groove. Kyrie Irving should return for this game since he played in the All-Star Game, so this should be a very close matchup.  There is a good chance that these two teams will meet in the playoffs, so this game will likely be a preview of what we will see in May.  Tune in on Thursday night to see this exciting duel between two of the top teams in the East.

    Waiver Wire Watch 

    Robin Lopez – He should be a top-100 option with Wendell Carter Jr. likely out for the season as he was gifted the starting job and has played well in that role.  He is averaging 15.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 6 games over the past two weeks.  He should be owned in all formats going forward.

    Avery Bradley – Bradley is starting next to Mike Conley in the Grizzlies backcourt and has played his best basketball since he was on the Celtics in his short time with the team.  It is possible that he boasts late-round value going forward, with solid steals and points value.  He is a good speculative add in deeper leagues.

    Mitchell Robinson –  Robinson has shown potential of being a dominant fantasy presence due to his ability to rebound the ball and block shots.  Over the past month, he is boasting top-40 value in 9-cat formats.  He is playing 19.2 minutes per game in that span and is averaging 9.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game on 76.4% shooting.  He is a must-own asset in all formats as he is in the Knicks future plans and should begin to see more minutes.  Add him. 

    Injury Report

    Fred VanVleet (thumb) is out for at least five weeks after opting for surgery to repair ligament damage in his thumb.  The main beneficiary of this injury is Jeremy Lin, who is now the backup point guard since Delon Wright got shipped off to Memphis.

    Another week without a lot of significant injuries, so here is the list of guys who are day-to-day:

    Terry Rozier, Rodions Kurucs, Spencer Dinwiddie, Treveon Graham, Kris Dunn, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Gary Harris, Clint Capela, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Kyle Anderson, Nikola Mirotic, Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington, Anthony Davis, Elfrid Payton, Emmanuel Mudiay, Dennis Schroder, Jerami Grant, TJ Warren, De’Anthony Melton, Derrick White, Tomas Satoransky

    Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.

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

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