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

    Carmelo Anthony has finally been signed!!!! Melo is a member of the Portland Trail Blazers and is their starting small forward until further notice.  He has not played all that well thus far, but he is granted a period to shake off the rust after missing a year of NBA action.  He is averaging 13 points and 4.3 rebounds on 34.1 percent shooting in 29.1 minutes per game in his first three games. He will likely not hold any fantasy relevance, so leave him on the wire.  However, it is great to see Melo back on the court!

    Ja Morant is looking more and more like a lock to win Rookie of the Year, but it is not over until the season is over. Morant is averaging 19.1 points and 6 assists on 47.2 percent shooting.  If Zion Williamson comes back and dominates in the same way that Luka Doncic did last season, we could see the race change drastically.  However, it is Morant’s to lose as he is looking like a great NBA point guard for years to come.

    On another note, Luka Doncic looks like a potential MVP candidate as he is 0.2 assists away from averaging 30-10-10.  He is taking over the league a lot faster than many had expected, which could lead to him taking home the MVP award in just his second season.  Also, he is leading the Mavs to a top-5 seed in the Western Conference currently, which is something that no one could have predicted.  Doncic is truly taking over and will be undoubtedly one of the best players in the league during the 2020’s.

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    4 games: 76ers, Bucks, Celtics, Clippers, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Jazz, Lakers, Magic, Nets, Pacers, Pistons, Raptors, Spurs, Thunder, Warriors, Wizards

    3 games: Bulls, Cavs, Kings, Knicks, Mavs, Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Wolves

    2 games: Nuggets, Rockets, Suns

    Best Schedule: Pistons (Magic, at Hornets, Hornets, Spurs)

    The Pistons are playing four games this week that are all very winnable.  They have the chance to jump back into the playoff race after getting off to a dreadful 5-11 start.  They are playing a Magic team without Vucevic before playing the Hornets on a back-to-back set.  After those three games, they play the Spurs at home, who just came off an eight-game losing streak.  Start Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard, Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin with confidence.

    Worst Schedule: Mavericks (Clippers, at Suns, at Lakers)

    The Mavericks are playing two of the toughest teams in the West and a team that is in the playoff picture.  They host the Clippers, which is never an easy matchup especially with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard both healthy.  Then, they head on the road to face the Suns, who have been surprisingly solid this season.  Lastly, they go to the Staples Center to play LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers.  However, is there is anyone to prove that the Mavs can handle this schedule it is Luka Doncic.  This will likely be a rough week for the Mavs, but start Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis as always.

    Game of the Week: 76ers at Raptors on Monday at 7:30 PM ET

    The current 4th and 5th seeds in the East will be facing off on Monday night in a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals.  Although this is an improved 76ers team and a depleted Raptors team, it should still be a fun and competitive matchup to watch.  The matchup to look out for is Marc Gasol vs. Joel Embiid, which was a defensive battle in the 2019 ECF.  However, Al Horford against Pascal Siakam should also be a duel. The key to this game will be how the role players on both sides play, which are Norman Powell, OG Anunoby and Furkan Korkmaz.  Powell and Anunoby are supplementary players that could bring the Raptors to victory.  However, we know the 76ers’ starting five will show up, but will their sixth man in Korkmaz bring his scoring ability.  Tune in on Monday night!

    Waiver Wire Watch 

    Coby White- For the season, White has been the worst fantasy option of the three points guards that the Bulls use, which is himself, Tomas Satoransky and Kris Dunn. However, he has been the best fantasy asset on the entire team over the past two weeks and has asserted himself into must-own territory.  He is just outside top-50 value over his last seven contests and has looked like the explosive player that we saw at UNC.  Over those seven contests, he is averaging 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 3.7 triples per game on 43.6 percent shooting.  He is seeing minutes in the upper 20’s and is a must-own player in all formats going forward.  

    Aaron Holiday- Similar to White, Holiday’s entire body of work for the season is not all that impressive.  However, since Malcolm Brogdon went down he has become a must-start player.  Over his last five games, he is averaging 15.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 2 triples per game on 43.7 percent shooting.  When Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and Victor Oladipo are all playing, he is not going to be worth owning in any formats.  With Brogdon and Lamb in and out of the lineup and Oladipo still not all that close to a return, he is worth picking up right now.

    Donte DiVincenzo- Since Khris Middleton went down, DiVincenzo has been a top-70 value and is worth picking up in all formats.  Over his last six games, he has averages of 11 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.5 triples on 48.2 percent shooting. Also, he is averaging 25.4 minutes and is starting at shooting guard.  The former Villanova standout is proving why he was worthy of a first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.  He is worth owning in all formats until Middleton returns, so go grab him if he is available in your league.

    Injury Report 

    Nikola Vucevic (right ankle) will be re-evaluated in a week, but he will likely be out for multiple weeks.  Khem Birch and Mo Bamba are splitting minutes in his absence, but the Magic will be anxiously awaiting his return and will struggle without him.  

    Kyle Lowry (thumb) is targeting a return on December 1st against the Jazz. Fred VanVleet will continue to lead the backcourt in his absence.  Expect to be without Lowry for the entirety of the week and potentially some of next week.

    Kyrie Irving (shoulder) is out until at least November 29th when the Celtics match up with the Nets.  He will likely not return for that game, but should be back shortly after that.  Dinwiddie will continue to dominate while Irving is out.  Check for his status throughout the week.

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

    Cam Reddish, Kemba Walker, Kevin Love, Tony Snell, Draymond Green, Treveon Graham, Josh Okogie, Josh Hart, Derrick Favors, R.J. Barrett, Nerlens Noel, Aaron Gordon, Aron Baynes, Ricky Rubio, Hassan Whiteside, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Serge Ibaka, Rudy Gobert

    Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.

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

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