May 19, 2019, 11:15 pm
Welcome, Hoop Ball readers, to another edition of The Week Ahead!
The Conference Finals have not been nearly as entertaining as the Semifinals, but the NBA Finals should be fun to watch. Although it is easy to jump the gun and say that the Warriors will easily win the NBA Finals, there is a real chance that the Bucks or Raptors could push them as far or farther than the Rockets did.
The Warriors currently have a 3-0 lead over the Blazers in the Western Conference Finals, so it is basically a sure thing that we will see the Warriors playing for the title for a 5th straight season. The Bucks currently lead the Raptors 2-1, so Game 4 will be a huge turning point in the series. Although both the Bucks or Raptors against the Warriors would be a solid matchup to watch, there is a great chance that the Warriors bring home their 4th championship in five seasons. Despite the fact that we will likely see another Warriors ring, hopefully we are going to see a competitive series in the NBA Finals.
Stephen Curry has returned to domination with Kevin Durant out, so many have speculated that this is the “nail in the coffin” for Durant in terms of leaving the Warriors in free agency. The Warriors will remain a great team without Durant, but the dynasty as we know it will end and they will have to be on top of their game at all times to remain in championship contention — if KD leaves, of course.
Durant’s looming free agency decision is the top of the list of league-changing moves that could potentially occur this offseason.
The NBA Draft Lottery occurred on Tuesday, and the Knicks were unfortunate to land the #3 pick in the draft. The Pelicans won the lottery, the Grizzlies got the #2 pick, and the Lakers are slotted at #4. This was the craziest draft lottery that we have seen in quite some time, so the new “no advantage for tanking” rules for the lottery worked out well.
Between the NBA Draft and free agency, the 2019 offseason will be one of the most thrilling that we have experienced in many years. However, we still have two rounds of basketball to watch before we start thinking about what will happen in the offseason.
Now here is an overview of the week ahead:
Weekly Schedule Breakdown
Monday, May 20th- Warriors at Blazers 9 PM ET (GAME 4)
Tuesday, May 21st- Bucks at Raptors 8:30 PM ET (GAME 4)
Wednesday, May 22nd- Blazers at Warriors at 9 PM ET (GAME 5)*
Thursday, May 23rd- Raptors at Bucks at 8:30 PM ET (GAME 5)
Friday, May 24th- Warriors at Blazers at 9 PM ET (GAME 6)*
Saturday, May 25th- Bucks at Raptors at 8:30 PM ET (GAME 6)*
Sunday, May 26th- Blazers at Warriors at 9 PM ET (GAME 7)*
* = if necessary
Andre Iguodala (calf) is questionable for Monday’s Game 4 against the Blazers with a left calf injury. He is a huge piece of their team, but it is possible he rests Game 4 since the Warriors are up 3-0 in the series. The Warriors need him to be healthy for the NBA Finals, so he will likely not suit up unless he is close to 100 percent. Check for updates prior to Game 4.
Kevin Durant (calf) did not travel to Portland for Game 3 or 4, so his next chance to return will be Game 5 if necessary. However, with the Warriors having a commanding 3-0 series lead it is very possible that we do not see Durant until the NBA Finals.
DeMarcus Cousins (quad) has returned to on-court workouts, but will likely not return in the Western Conference Finals. It is remarkable that Iguodala, Durant, and Cousins are all injured and the Warriors are potentially going to complete a sweep of the Blazers on Monday. Cousins could return for the NBA Finals, which would mean that the Warriors are fully healthy for the first time since the first round of the playoffs. Check for updates on Cousins as he is set to be re-evaluated in five days or so.
Thanks Hoopballers for reading another edition of The Week Ahead!
October 21, 2019, 9:09 pmRodney McGruderSG, Los Angeles Clippers
Rodney McGruder (right ankle sprain) has been listed as out for Tuesday's matchup with the Lakers.
McGruder has been out for a few weeks but might be close to returning based on the fact that he had been questionable for the opener until recently. With Paul George out for a while, McGruder could see regular minutes once he returns.
October 21, 2019, 8:54 pmDevontae CacokPF, Los Angeles Lakers
Devontae Cacok and Demetrius Jackson have been waived by the Lakers.
Cacok had some nice summer league and preseason games, but it'll be tough for him to crack an NBA rotation. Demetrius Jackson has played in just 26 NBA games since being drafted in the second round three years ago.
October 21, 2019, 8:44 pmDerrick Walton Jr.PG, Los Angeles Clippers
Derrick Walton Jr. made the final Clippers' roster and has signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal.
Walton has bounced around for quite a while, having played overseas last year. He's unlikely to get many minutes, but he could potentially get a championship ring if he sticks around.
Source: Andrew Greif on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 8:01 pmShamorie PondsPG, Toronto Raptors
Shamorie Ponds will join the Raptors on two-way deal after being waived by the Rockets on Saturday.
The rookie out of St. John's will get a shot with the Raptors, or more likely their G League affiliate. In fantasy, there's no need to keep an eye on Ponds unless the Raptors find themselves in tear-down mode. He had some amazing college numbers, so there's a chance he finds success in the league.
Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 7:16 pmJoe InglesSF, Utah Jazz
Joe Ingles has signed a one-year extension worth $14 million to remain with the Jazz through 2021-22.
Ingles has thrived as a member of the starting lineup the two last seasons. Last campaign he averaged 12.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 39 percent on threes. He should have top-90 value going forward.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 6:56 pmAnthony DavisPF-C, Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis will not have his minutes restricted to begin the season, according to Lakers head coach Frank Vogel.
Expect a fluid situation as the season goes along, but the Lakers plan to unleash their big acquisition. Davis should be the top pick in many leagues this season. His production has always been elite, but it will be interesting to see how Davis meshes with new teammates in games that count.
Source: Bill Oram on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 6:51 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers coach Frank Vogel stated that LeBron James will not face a minutes restriction to begin the season.
This is good news for LeBron owners, but the situation may change as the season progresses. King James won't even be the first Laker taken in most fantasy drafts, but he is still a worthy pick within the top 10-12 selections.
Source: Bill Oram on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 6:40 pmWenyen GabrielPF, Sacramento Kings
Wenyen Gabriel has made the roster for the Kings and has been given a regular NBA contract.
Gabriel was on a two-way deal last season but the Kings clearly like his potential. He is unlikely to be fantasy relevant this season.
Source: James Ham on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 6:31 pmTyler LydonPF, Sacramento Kings
The Kings have waived Tyler Lydon.
Lydon signed a two-year deal in July, but very little of it was guaranteed. The Syracuse product was drafted in 2017 by the Nuggets but has played very sparingly in the NBA.
Source: James Ham on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 6:21 pmDaquan JeffriesSG, Sacramento Kings
DaQuan Jeffries has signed a two-way contract with the Kings.
Jeffries was recently waived by the Magic. He averaged 13.0 points and 5.6 rebounds in his senior year at the University of Tulsa. He is unlikely to have a fantasy impact.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter