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

    The NBA has seen more injuries in the first 11 games of this season than I can remember in any season ever.  Big stars have gone down and have changed the landscape of the season, which is something that does not happen as frequently in basketball as it does in other sports.  However, we will have to live without seeing Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson among others hit the court for much of this season.

    There have been some bright spots that have stepped up in an increased role with their respective teams this season, such as Fred VanVleet, Devonte’ Graham, Brandon Ingram and Malcolm Brogdon.

    We are still at such an early stage in the season that we have to let some things settle in before we start making any claims about players or teams’ playoff chances.  However, it is worth noting that the Celtics and Lakers are atop their conference as they each have a 10-2 record. The Celtics’ 10-game win streak was snapped by the Kings on Sunday, but they have looked like a much better team than they were last season.This season is surely living up to to the preseason hype as the most competitive season since the pre-Warriors dynasty era.

    Here are some buy-low and sell-high trade options:

    Buy-Low

    DeMar DeRozan (19.8/4.8/4.8) – Could climb into top-50, especially if traded

    Lauri Markkanen (14.7/7.7/37.7%) – Efficiency is bound to improve

    Dennis Schroder (13.7/4.6/4.4) – Lack of opportunities thus far, stats should improve

    Jaren Jackson Jr. (13.8/5.4) – Competition with Brandon Clarke, but has come on as of late

    Draymond Green (9.0/7.3/4.9) – If he continues to play, he should be a top-50 asset

    Sell-High

    ANDREW WIGGINS (25.1/5.1/3.6/0.7/1.1)This will surely change and he will end outside of the top-50.  Trade him now.

    Hassan Whiteside (15.3/12.2/1.8 blocks) – He is a top-40 value right now while shooting 76.6% from the stripe.  Trade him before that number dips.

    Aron Baynes (15.0/5.5/2.9/2.0 triples) – Trade him before Ayton returns as his value will shrink.  If it is possible to acquire a top-100 player for him, make it happen.

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    5 games: Suns

    4 games: Bucks, Bulls, Cavs, Clippers, Hornets, Jazz, Knicks, Mavs, Nets, Pelicans, Rockets, Spurs, Trail Blazers

    3 games: 76ers, Celtics, Hawks, Heat, Kings, Lakers, Nuggets, Pistons, Raptors, Thunder, Warriors, Wizards, Wolves

    2 games: Grizzlies, Magic, Pacers

    Best Schedule: Clippers (Thunder, Celtics, Rockets, Pelicans)

    The Clippers play four games at home and have no back-to-backs this week.  Paul George is back and they are facing no serious injuries, so this could be the week that we see Kawhi Leonard and George hit the court at the same time.  They are playing two tough opponents in the Celtics and the Rockets.  However, play Leonard, George, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell with confidence.

    Worst Schedule: Thunder (at Clippers, at Lakers, Lakers)

    The Thunder are playing both Los Angeles teams for all three games this week, two of which are on the road.  They play the Clippers and Lakers at the Staples Center before coming home to play the Lakers again.  They are likely going to lose all three of these games.  Aside from Danilo Gallinari, Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, it will be difficult to start any Thunder players confidently.

    Game of the Week: Heat at 76ers on Saturday at 7:30 PM ET

    Jimmy Butler and the Heat will head to Philadelphia to play the 76ers as two of the best teams in the East will face off.  Butler is playing his old team, so this should be an exciting matchup.  The 76ers are a front-loaded team that is lacking bench depth.  The Heat are a deep team that is lacking star-power.  It would be interesting to see how these teams matchup with one another in a seven-game series.  For now, we will have to live with their exciting game on Saturday night.

    Waiver Wire Watch

    Jabari Parker– Parker has jumped onto the scene as a must-own fantasy asset while John Collins is suspended, which is still for 18 more games.  This season, Parker has averages of 17.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.2 triples on 54% shooting.  He starts in Collins’ place and is seeing over 30 minutes per game.  Pick him up if no one in your league has taken note of his dominance as he is a must-own player in all formats.

    Moritz Wagner– Seeing about 20 minutes per game as of now, Wagner’s upside is capped.  However, he has a real shot for an increased role as the season progresses if the Wizards continue to be as bad as they are. If he does get more minutes, he has the potential to be a top-60 value.  Over his last six games, he is averaging 13.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game on 62.5% shooting.  He is becoming a must-own in all formats and you should grab him if he is floating on the wire in your league.

    Alec Burks–  This one is due to the injuries that the Warriors are facing and lack of scoring on the Warriors’ roster.  Burks is poised for a huge role and should be owned in all formats until Steph Curry returns, if he does even return this season.  He is the only top-100 asset on the roster over the past two weeks aside from D’Angelo Russell, who is now out for at least two weeks.  Over his last seven contests, he is averaging 17.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 triples per game on 45% shooting.  Pick him up as the Warriors have no reason not to rely on the veteran guard to carry their offense.

    Injury Report

    D’Angelo Russell (thumb sprain) will be re-evaluated in two weeks after injuring his thumb against the Celtics on Friday.  The MRI came back positive for a sprain, so he is out at least two weeks.  The Warriors have battled injuries since the NBA Finals last season, so they are really not having any luck.  Alec Burks will likely get the biggest increase in minutes and volume due to the injury to Russell.

    Kevin Huerter (left rotator cuff strain) will be re-evaluated in two weeks after being diagnosed with a left rotator cuff strain.  Huerter just returned from injury and was on a minutes restriction to start the season, so he can’t catch a break.  Cam Reddish will likely see most of Huerter’s minutes.

    Caris LeVert (thumb) will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury.  He had surgery to repair ligaments in his right thumb.  LeVert was having a decent start to the season and this was the last thing the Nets needed as they are struggling as it is.  Garrett Temple will likely start in his place.  

    Otto Porter Jr. (strained left foot) will miss weeks after undergoing a slow recovery process in his strained left foot.  He has not looked like himself to start the season, so it is no surprise that he is playing through injury.  Chandler Hutchinson will likely start and see all of his minutes.

    Eric Gordon (knee surgery) will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and miss 4-6 weeks.  He was having a very slow start to the season, which could be because he was playing through injury. Ben Mclemore will likely see an increased role while Gordon is out.

    Avery Bradley (right leg) will be re-evaluated in a week or two after having a hairline fracture in his right leg.  He originally thought the injury was a bruise and was playing through it, but it turned out to be a hairline fracture.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will start while he is out. 

    Khris Middleton (quadriceps) will miss a few weeks with a left quad bruise.  His timetable is around 3-4 weeks.  During the time he is out, Donte DiVincenzo and Sterling Brown are due for an increased role.

    De’Aaron Fox (left ankle sprain) will be re-evaluated in 3-4 weeks after being diagnosed with a left ankle sprain.  He will be out until mid-December.  Cory Joseph will start and see most of his minutes.

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

    Kyrie Irving, Zach LaVine, Larry Nance Jr., Tony Snell, Danuel House Jr., Clint Capela, Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Domantas Sabonis, Landry Shamet, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley, Anthony Davis, Justise Winslow, Goran Dragic, Andrew Wiggins, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Derrick Favors, Mitchell Robinson, Elfrid Payton, Jonathan Isaac, Serge Ibaka

    Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.

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

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