• Week 1 was truly brutal for injuries and a lot of the add/drop action has already taken place.  We have a deep waivers article that runs mid-week and the idea here is to capture a snapshot of what is out there.  This article will run on Sundays and then I shift into the Waiver Wire Show for premium members later tonight at 5:30 p.m. PT.

    Editor’s Note: You can get the Hoop Ball Premium Membership for FREE (normally $29.99) by signing up as a new user with DraftKings.  Check this page to see how the promotion works

    GUARDS

    This grouping is a bit light but for intermediate 12-team leagues and beyond there is actually some pretty good value.

    De’Aaron Fox: He was added in a lot of drafts but it’s possible he was skipped over in yours.  The Kings are already relying on him when they need playmakers and it has only been three games.  If anything happens to George Hill he has mid-round potential and he might just bring late-round numbers right out the chute.

    Status: Must-own in almost any format

    Evan Turner: The departure of Allen Crabbe really clears things up for Turner as he fits a need on offense and the Blazers benefit greatly from his defense.  He’s a lock to bring back late-round numbers this year.

    Status: Must-own in competitive 12-team formats

    Spencer Dinwiddie: I cleaned up in DraftMasters leagues with Dinwiddie basically wherever I wanted to take him, usually after Round 20 in 12-team formats.  He looks like a high-end backup PG with starter potential and he’s going to wiggle his way to the front of the line in Brooklyn, made easier by the injury to Jeremy Lin.

    Status: Must-own in competitive 14-team formats and solid grab in 12-team formats

    Danny Green: Green has enjoyed life without Kawhi Leonard a bit and he’ll settle in once Leonard returns.  Passed over in drafts for a lack of upside, he could be leaned upon just a little bit more and be a solid late-round guy for owners this season.

    Status: Must-own in 12-team, 9-cat formats

    THE REST

    J.J. Barea will be productive for however long Dennis Smith is out and might keep it up to a lesser degree after Smith returns.  Terry Rozier and Delon Wright are great deep league targets.  Dejounte Murray will be unbalanced and has issue in money counting stat categories but he’ll be fun for the next month.

    FORWARDS

    Joe Ingles: Because there are leagues out there that don’t read Hoop Ball and you might have just found us.

    Status: Must-start player

    Gorgui Dieng: He always has a slow start for whatever reason and then figures out his role and gets down to business.  A top-40 player when he’s getting 30 mpg, and very serviceable if he’s getting 22-25 mpg, there’s no reason to be jumping ship in Week 1.  Pick him up if he was dropped.

    Status: Must-own player

    Lauri Markkanen: There are going to be issues with his stat set as a stretch big that won’t produce gobs of defensive numbers, will hit a low percentage of shots and possibly struggle rebounding.  He’s getting his run of the yard with Bobby Portis punching Nikola Mirotic (and himself) out of the rotation.  When his minutes dip he might struggle for late-round value but it’s also possible the Bulls push the issue there so they can promote not being terrible.

    Status: Worth a short-term add in 12-team formats

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: RHJ might have been overlooked in smaller, more beginner leagues and he’s setting up to enjoy the Nets’ frantic, up-tempo box scores.  Can he keep it up?  We’ll see.  He’s always sort of regulated himself on that front.  He looks like a strong bet to finish with early late-round value and upside beyond that.

    Status: Must-own player

    Dillon Brooks: He was a post-draft pickup for me in 30-DEEP after I autodrafted my way out of a backup small forward.  Knowing the Grizzlies were planning for the future and with Brooks profiling as one of their better young players, I was sort of happy to see him there among the three other remaining free agents in a league with 400 rostered players.  He has shot off like a cannon early on and I don’t see why he can’t stay in a 25-minute role with upside beyond that.

    Status: Worth a look in 12-team standard leagues, must-own in 14-team formats

    THE REST

    Al-Farouq Aminu is probably going to be an easy 12-team guy with consistency issues this year. Trevor Booker is well worth a look for his regular first few months of the season surge.  DeMarre Carroll fits the same description.

    CENTERS

    Kelly Olynyk: Just like with Joe Ingles, if you weren’t sure how the Hoop Ballers were rolling now you know.  Olynyk will be a late-round guy whenever Hassan Whiteside is healthy and he’s a guy that gets injured somewhat frequently.  The Heat are trying to manufacture Olynyk minutes, too.

    Status: Must-own player in standard formats

    Willy Hernangomez: This one is so Knicksy but it’s hard to see him getting less than 22 mpg this season.  It’s hard to see him not getting 25 mpg and there is obviously upside beyond that if Scott Perry can start getting any say around there.  It’s going to be a bit hard to stomach for the next few weeks but this is a top-100 asset in the waiting and he can climb higher than that.

    Status: Must-own player in leagues that aren’t overly prohibitive to stashing

    Skal Labissiere: Skal has looked very good to start the year in relation to where he needs to be and he has been productive when getting the minutes, too.  He has serious upside so it makes sense to have him on rosters while the going is good early on.  Still, expect speed bumps for the foreseeable future.

    Status: Must-own player in competitive 12-team standard leagues

    THE REST

    Lucas Nogueira could jump back on the scene quickly if anything happens with Jonas Valanciunas. Larry Nance is the early winner in the Lakers frontcourt and owners can probably plan on that until he gets hurt.

Fantasy News

  • Brook Lopez - C - Milwaukee Bucks

    The Bucks have multiple decisions to make when free agency starts but re-signing Brook Lopez is a priority, according to Malika Andrews.

    The Bucks will likely lock up Khris Middleton first and then will have to decide on Malcolm Brogdon. He is a restricted free agent, but keeping him may vault Milwaukee into the luxury tax. After those two, Lopez is a priority over the other pending free agents such as Nikola Mirotic and George Hill. The Bucks won't have Bird Rights on Brook Lopez meaning they'd only have the mid-level exception to offer him, and if they go into the luxury tax, the mid-level exception drops from about $9 million to about $5 million. He'd almost certainly be taking a discount to stay in Milwaukee, but it's still possible he remains a Buck.

    Source: Malika Andrews on ESPN

  • Nick Nurse - Team - Toronto Raptors

    According to Peter Yannopoulos, Nick Nurse will be the coach of Team Canada this summer at the World Championships in China.

    Nurse will be succeeding Hornets assistant coach Jay Triano, and will be in a similar position that Gregg Popovich has with Team USA. Nurse has had a meteoric rise since being the innovator of the Raptors new offense in 2017-18 as an assistant, to being promoted to head coach, to making the NBA Finals and now being named Team Canada's head coach.

    Source: Peter Yannopoulos on Twitter

  • OG Anunoby - F - Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors are expressing optimism that OG Anunoby will be able to see the floor for their NBA Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors.

    Anunoby's size and defensive versatility could make for a very valuable weapon against the Warriors' small-ball lineups. That being said, he has been out for nearly a month and a half, and the Raptors' eight man rotation has hit its stride in the crux of this playoff run. It remains to be seen if he will make it back, but in the event that he can, there is no guarantee that he will be able to crack meaningful minutes in Toronto's tight rotation.

    Source: Ryan Wolstat on Twitter

  • Michael Porter Jr. - F - Denver Nuggets

    As a symptom from his back surgeries, Michael Porter Jr. developed drop foot, and will wear to a leg brace to help stabilize it when he makes his professional debut in Summer League according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

    Drop foot makes it hard for one to lift the front part of their foot and is a common symptom of back related ailments, of which Porter Jr. has had two surgeries to address over the last year and a half. Porter Jr. remains an unknown commodity with a laundry list of health concerns as an NBA player. There has been some recent success with young guys being able to bounce back in big ways after suffering year-long injuries, but Porter Jr. will remain a mystery until we see him on the court for his inaugural season.

    Source: The Denver Post

  • Jonas Valanciunas - C - Memphis Grizzlies

    Jonas Valanciunas said that he wants to see who the Memphis Grizzlies hire as their next head coach before deciding on his $17.6 million player option.

    Valanciunas saw his role increase in Memphis after being traded from Toronto, and actually played to compete with the Grizz trying to win enough games to convert their, at the time, low-end lottery pick to Boston. Valanciunas made it clear that he doesn't want to return to Memphis if their plans are to pivot to a rebuild and not compete again next year, saying, "I want to know, how we gonna look in 82 games. I don't want to be a tourist. I want to win.". The Hoop Ball favorite will be hard pressed to find a situation that will give him as much run, and fantasy value, as Memphis did, making this a decision fantasy owners everywhere should monitor.

    Source: Dontas Urbonas on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard held Giannis Antetekounmpo to just .353 shooting from the floor with an offensive rating of 89.4 when guarding him in the Eastern Conference Finals.

    This is needed to emphasize just how dominant of a defensive player Leonard really is. For reference, Giannis shot .578 from the floor with an offensive rating of 121 through the regular season. A total swing of nearly 23 percent and 32 less points per 100 possessions is preposterous for any player, especially an MVP caliber offensive juggernaut in Antetokounmpo. Keep these numbers in mind as the debate over Leonard being the league's best player continues to heat up.

    Source: Micha Adams on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard posted a monster line in Saturday's 100-94 Game 6 win, scoring 27 points with 17 rebounds, seven assist, two steals, two blocks and six turnovers.

    Leonard put the Raptors on his back and carried them into their first NBA Finals appearance. After losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals the Raptors stormed back to take the next four to seal the series. Kawhi has been simply marvelous for this team and found a way to crank it up another notch, averaging almost 30 points per game this series. He was all over the court this game and dominated the Bucks from inside the paint. A 4th quarter dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo punctuated this dominance and sent the hometown crowd in a frenzy. The Raptors will try to keep their hot streak going as they face the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    While Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible for a five-year supermax contract worth over $247 million, ESPN's Malika Andrews is reporting that the 2020 playoff run could swing whether or not Antetokounmpo stays with the Bucks long-term.

    The Bucks have three of their starters and two key bench pieces heading into free agency this summer, so they might have to make some bold choices to keep the necessary parts around while also improving the team on a budget. It's possible that this is the Antetokounmpo camp's way of encouraging Milwaukee to empty the wallet and keep the current group together, but it goes against what Giannis has said publicly about the team and city from day one. The Bucks were eliminated mere hours ago but we're already having this conversation. The NBA news cycle is perpetual.

    Source: ESPN

  • Kyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors

    Kyle Lowry posted a solid line in Saturday's Game 6 win scoring 17 points while adding five rebounds, eight assists, three 3-pointers, one steal and only one turnover.

    After a pedestrian series against the 76ers, Lowry stepped it up against the Bucks, averaging almost 20 points per game in the Eastern Conference Finals. He did a great job making smart plays for the Raptors and they will need him to continue to operate at this high level as they head off into the NBA Finals next week.

  • Marc Gasol - C - Toronto Raptors

    Marc Gasol scored six points, all from behind the arc, in Saturday's Game 6 win, adding three rebounds, two assists and a block/steal in 26 minutes.

    Gasol continues to do what the Raptors ask of him though the years of grinding in the paint for Memphis are long gone. He has adjusted his game play and now acts as a facilitator for the rest of the team. Gasol continues to split time in the post with Serge Ibaka (25 minutes, nine points) and will see his minutes fluctuate based on the Raptor's offensive scheme heading into the NBA Finals.