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

    As always, there is no shortage of drama in the NBA and this week it is surrounding the Wizards as well as Markelle Fultz. The Wizards have made it public (allegedly, at least) that they are willing to trade John Wall or Bradley Beal for the right price, and there was a heated practice shortly after that news came out. This practice involved multiple players cursing at the coaches and blaming them for issues as well as multiple players getting into verbal scuffles. After this practice, the Wizards had a great comeback win and Otto Porter Jr. was seemingly revived into the basketball player he was last season. It has yet to be seen if the Wizards are actually going to trade someone or if they were just trying to light a fire under them so they can get back to winning basketball games.

    In other news, Markelle Fultz is out with a wrist injury and it has come out that he is no longer in the Sixers’ future plans — or at least he would rather not be. They are finally willing to give him a change of scenery and a fresh start and it is only a matter of time before he is moved elsewhere. Also, the Warriors have not been playing well without Steph Curry and Draymond Green and are 4-6 in their last 10 games.  However, they still lead the Western Conference and should have Steph Curry back within the next week. There is all of the NBA drama from the past week.

    Moving on to the fantasy side of things. Clint Capela has been an absolute monster this week and easily holds the No. 1 value spot in 8-cat and 9-cat leagues. Montrezl Harrell and Otto Porter Jr. are also inside the top-10 for the past week in value. Justin Holiday, JaVale McGee, and Pascal Siakam continue to be pleasant surprises as well as they all boast top-30 value over the past week and top-40 on the season. Looking at the negative side of things, Taurean Prince, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Kyle Anderson continue to disappoint with their underperforming value. John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic have returned and are easing their way into things, but they should hold middle-round value when they get back to 100 percent.

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    4 games: Bulls, Cavs, Hornets, Jazz, Lakers, Pacers, Pelicans, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Wizards

    3 games: 76ers, Bucks, Celtics, Clippers, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Knicks, Magic, Mavs, Nets, Pistons, Raptors, Trail Blazers, Warriors, Wolves

    2 games: Kings, Nuggets, Thunder

    Best Schedule: Rockets (at Wizards, Mavs, at Spurs, Bulls)

    Typically, a team that plays two road games and two home games should not get the best schedule of the week, but the Rockets are an exception here. They play a crumbling Wizards team on the road and a struggling Spurs team on the road. Then, they have the luxury of playing the bad Mavs and the worse Bulls at home. The Rockets need wins this week to boost their 9-9 record back to something that puts them in the playoff picture. Expect a huge week from Clint Capela and the usual Rockets stars if they suit up for every game of the week.

    Worst Schedule: Nuggets (Lakers, at Trail Blazers)

    The Nuggets only have two games this week, so that is the first issue with their schedule. Next, they have to play LeBron James and the Lakers at home. Even though that is a very winnable game, no one wants to have their easiest game of the week be against LeBron James. They also have to play the Trail Blazers on the road, which is a tough matchup since the Blazers are right at the top of the West with the Nuggets. Expect the guards on the Nuggets to struggle and Nikola Jokic to easily dominate both games this week.

    Game of the Week: Warriors at Raptors – Thursday, November 29th at 8 PM ET

    Hopefully the Warriors will have Steph Curry and Draymond Green back by this game to make it more exciting. However, even if they are out this could be a good matchup as the top teams of each conference are facing off. Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard have been at the top of their game and should be fun to watch in this matchup with Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. It could easily be a blowout if the Warriors do not have both Curry and Green as the Warriors have underperformed without them, but it should be a good game either way on paper at least. This could be a defense-focused game, so it could be a frustrating game for fantasy owners of guys like Danny Green, Quinn Cook, or Fred VanVleet in this one. Tune in on Thursday to see the exciting matchup!

    Waiver Wire Watch

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – Despite the fact that he is outside the top-230 in value on the week and on the season, I have decided to make him a player to watch on the wire due to his new promotion to the starting power forward position. Many people anticipated this move happening a lot sooner than it did, but it is finally here and plenty of minutes should be headed his way. He was just outside the top-100 in value last season and has the potential to top that now that he is in the starting lineup on a struggling Nets team that is missing Caris LeVert. Pick him up and hope he hits his stride as the starting power forward as soon as you add him.

    Bojan Bogdanovic – Over the past week, Bogdanovic has stepped up in the absence of Victor Oladipo and averaged 20.7 points on 65.8% shooting with 2.3 threes per game.  Although Oladipo will return soon and Bogdanovic could not possibly maintain those numbers, he is still a great add as a source of points and 3-pointers. On top of that, he does not hurt efficiency numbers and adds decent value in steals, rebounds and assists as well  He is top-85 on the season and should be able to maintain that value, which is a step up from his top-110 value from last season. Pick him up if he is still available in your league.

    Collin Sexton – This is solely a pick up based off of potential. He is now the starting point guard and has the keys to the offense of the absolute worst team in the NBA. He will be given so many opportunities to make plays that he has the potential to put up huge numbers. Over the past week, he is averaging 20.5 points on 53% shooting with minimal value in other categories. If he is able to shoot the ball well, the pickup will be worth it as the points will be there and he has the potential to bring the assist numbers up a bit. Pick him up and be patient with the rookie guard.

    Injury Report

    Steph Curry (groin) is going to practice this week with the hopes of returning at some point during the five-game road trip. He is definitely out at least two more games, but he could return as soon as their matchup with the Raptors on Thursday. Look out for updates prior to that game.

    Draymond Green (toe sprain) is out on Monday against the Magic and updates will be given on a game-to-game basis regarding whether or not he can suit up. The Warriors have been struggling without him and Steph Curry, so their return is imminent as the lead they have in the Western Conference is wearing thin.

    Lauri Markkanen (right elbow) played some light 2-on-2 on Saturday and he is coming along as expected. He should be cleared for contact soon and his target date remains early December. The Bulls will not rush him back as they essentially have nothing to play for and are in a tank mode season with Markkanen, Kris Dunn, Denzel Valentine, and Bobby Portis all down with injuries.

    Jusuf Nurkic (right shoulder contusion) had to leave Sunday’s game against the Clippers. He did not come back to the bench for the second half and Meyers Leonard started in his place. Leonard and Zach Collins will get the biggest boost if Nurkic is forced to miss time. Updates on Nurkic’s injury will likely be available on Monday.

    Hamidou Diallo and Terrance Ferguson (sprained ankles) will both be re-evaluated in about 10 days after spraining their ankles during the same game. Ferguson’s sprain turned out to be slightly worse than Diallo’s, but both will likely miss two or more weeks of action. This leaves a hole at shooting guard for the Thunder that can only be filled by Alex Abrines and more minutes to Dennis Schroder.

    Donovan Mitchell (rib contusion) missed Saturday’s game and is considered day-to-day. Alec Burks and Royce O’Neale see the biggest minutes boost when Mitchell is out so look for updates prior to the next Jazz game.

    Gary Harris (ankle) missed Saturday’s game against the Thunder with an ankle injury and is considered day-to-day. He might miss another game or two, but look out for updates prior to the next few Nuggets games. Monte Morris and Torrey Craig get the extra minutes and have their value boosted when Harris is out.

    Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) missed the game against the Celtics on Saturday and is considered day-to-day. The Mavs are not worried about this injury, but they will give him as much time he needs to get back to full health. Check for updates prior to the next Mavs game on his status.

    Markelle Fultz (wrist and shoulder) would like a fresh start with a new team and the Sixers have come out and said that Fultz is no longer in the plans for their future. He is working with specialists to improve his injuries, but he wants to move locations and focus on being healthy and playing basketball for a new team.

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