• Welcome to This Week This Morning! Normally it’s This Week Tonight but I’m doing this up for Monday morning so we can have the greatest and latest news on the injury front and can sit down and examine what’s likely the final week for many out there in fantasy land. We’re going to go over the games played this week, matchups, back-to-backs, pickups for the week, a tough play, and then we’ll finish up with some of the important injuries to watch.

    This is the it guys, the final few weeks of the NBA regular season are upon us. If you’re still riding with us for the playoffs then you probably followed Hoo-Ball a lot this year and I hope you enjoyed reading some This Week Tonight.

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    3 Games: BOS, CHI, DEN, LAC, MIN, POR

    The Sixers and Hawks both set up well with weak schedules this weak. The Sixers take on the Nets, Hawks, Cavs, and Raptors in what should be a solid week for the likes of Richaun Holmes and other low end guys. Meanwhile the Hawks take on the aforementioned Sixers, the Suns, Bulls, and the Nets in what will be an extremely positive fantasy week for all of their relevant players.

    The Knicks on the other hand get a really bad week, they take on the Pistons, the Heat twice, and finish with the Celtics. Carmelo Anthony is looking iffy this week but even if he’s missing time I’d probably take a pass on Mindaugas Kuzminskas even with the extra opportunity and recent solid play.

    Back-to-Back Watch:

    The Pistons go back-to-back on Monday/Tuesday but they’re extremely unlikely to rest players with their playoff position still at risk.

    The Sixers, Hawks, Heat, Bucks, Warriors, Pacers, and Wizards all play Tuesday/Wednesday. Obviously the Warriors are at risk to rest though hopefully with one of those contests being against the Spurs they’ll actually keep everyone on the court. The Hawks will likely use caution with Paul Millsap even if he does end up returning.

    The Clippers play Wednesday/Thursday and I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of their guys get a rest after coming off of a five game week.

    The Pistons again, the Rockets, and the Cavs all play Thursday/Friday. The Cavs are going to be a constant threat to bench stars coming down the stretch.

    The Magic and Kings play Friday/Saturday, but I doubt you’re playing in the playoffs if you’re worried about any of those players sitting.

    The Hawks, Nets, Suns, Lakers, and Bulls all play Saturday/Sunday. That’s a second back-to-back set for the Hawks this week which is really bad news for Paul Millsap owners. The Nets could end up giving Brook Lopez a rest day and the Suns will obviously be playing their NCAA lineup with no veterans in sight.

    Pickups to Win Your Week:

    Taurean Prince – Keep in mind that Thabo Sefolosha sat out Sunday with a groin injury, though it wasn’t the same one that sidelined him previously he still may miss time. I like both of them, even if Sefolosha does play, for their rather easy week that will be sure to lend itself to a bundle of blocks, steals, and 3-pointers, but I also like them both because they’re relatively available and play two of the three light days during the week. That’s massive for those of us in finals matchups trying to squeeze every game out of our tight rosters.

    Vince Carter – He’s been having a nice two week run as the primary small forward now that Chandler Parsons is out of the picture. He’s averaged 9.4 points with 1.9 3-pointers, 2.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 steals on 46% field goals in his last seven games. Again he’s not going to wow you with scoring but he’s going to be a consistent source of 3-pointers and steals, and every little bit counts during the playoffs.

    Patty Mills – Mills playing time has picked up in his last eight games to go from a season average of 22.1 mpg to 26.3 mpg. During those eight games he’s averaged 11.0 points, 2.4 3-pointers, 1.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.0 steals on 43% field goal and 89% free throws. He’s the hottest point guard you can add right now that’s still widely available.

    Buddy Hield – There’s a good chance he’s been dropped in your league as his fantasy game can be rather limited. However he’s recently experienced a surge of good play as he’s shot 46% over his last seven games which has led to him scoring 15.9 points per game along with 2.3 3-pointers and 1.1 steals. If his shot stops dropping it’ll get ugly fast but championship weeks are often won by high variance players that owners were willing to take a risk on.

    Tough Play of the Week: 

    Paul Millsap – You probably could’ve seen this one coming. If you’re in a weekly lineup league I can’t see how you could possibly start Millsap as he’s too much of a risk to sit with two back-to-backs this week on top of being questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Suns already. Millsap had an MRI that came back “clean” but is experiencing tightness in his knee and also some swelling. Swelling definitely means something is wrong and as long as that’s the case it makes him an impossible start.

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    Significant Injuries: 

    Thabo Sefolosha (groin) missed Sunday’s game against the Nets and should be considered questionable for the upcoming week.

    Paul Millsap (knee) is still experiencing tightness and some minor swelling but is considered questionable Tuesday against the Suns.

    Kent Bazemore is still in the midst of his 7-10 timeline for his knee prognosis and will likely be receiving an update early this week, he should be considered questionable to play at all this week.

    Sean Kilpatrick (hamstring) was out Sunday against the Hawks and the Nets haven’t really provided details on his return date after two weeks of missing time.

    James Harden (wrist) hurt himself in the final seconds of Sunday’s win over the Thunder and did not return. Harden said he had hurt it the previous Monday against the Nuggets and Mike D’Antoni said it’ll be something that effects him the rest of the season and that he would rest him if need be. Considering the Rockets play a back-to-back Thursday/Friday and Harden is questionable for Tuesday already it’s safe to say he’ll miss a game or more this week.

    Ryan Anderson (ankle) is expected to miss the next four games for the Rockets.

    J.J. Redick (ankle) was out Sunday against the Kings after he landed on a basketball. The Clippers will use caution with their sharpshooter down the stretch and he’ll likely be questionable most games this week.

    Brandon Ingram (knee tendinitis) was out Sunday against the Blazers, though he originally planned to play Sunday. He’ll likely be playing this week but check back nightly for updates.

    Marc Gasol (foot strain) was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Warriors though he was questionable entering it. Hopefully that means he’ll be able to get back on the court in the upcoming week.

    DeMarcus Counsins (ankle) is questionable for Monday’s game against the Jazz. It’s the second night of a back-to-back and Cousins did not play on Sunday so he may be a true game-time decision again.

    Carmelo Anthony (knee) has been sidelined two games with soreness in his troublesome knee. He’s looking like he could be a shutdown candidate but his status will need to be monitored. It’s a bad scheduling week for the Knicks as well.

    Jahlil Okafor (knee soreness) did not play on Sunday for the second straight game and is going to be highly questionable moving forward. Richaun Holmes should continue to be owned in the meantime.

    Danny Green (rest) is going to play Monday against the Cavs.

    Tony Parker (head) is expected to play against the Cavaliers.

    Ty Lawson (knee) was a late scratch against the Clippers on Sunday and is day-to-day.

    Gordon Hayward (bruised quad) is questionable Monday’s game against the Pelicans.

    Derrick Favors (bone bruise) has already been ruled out against the Pelicans.

    Bojan Bogdanovic (back) is day-to-day and was out last Saturday.

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Fantasy News

  • Furkan Korkmaz
    SG, Philadelphia Sixers

    After an injury-plagued sophomore campaign for the Sixers, Furkan Korkmaz knows this season will be crucial for his future and he is hoping to make big strides this year.

    The one thing Korkmaz has going for him is his shooting ability and that is something the Sixers could surely utilize on this roster. It did not click last season, but Korkmaz will get another chance to prove his worth at some point this season. Still, it is hard to picture him coming out of the gate with a big role on opening night.

    Source: Sixers.com

  • Nikola Mirotic
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    On Sunday, Nikola Mirotic dropped 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting for Barcelona.

    Mirotic's opening appearance for his new EuroLeague club, Barcelona, resulted in a victory, and he did not have to work too hard for most of his buckets at the Supercopa Endesa versus Valencia. Mirotic should find quick success during his return to European basketball, but NBA fantasy players will surely be missing his presence stateside.

    Source: Eurohoops

  • Bruce Brown
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey spoke highly of Bruce Brown’s defensive play, calling him an ‘elite defender.’

    Brown remains in contention for a starting spot with the Pistons, but he is not a high-usage player, and the Pistons have stocked up with offensive threats such as Derrick Rose and the immortal Joe Johnson. It will be tough for Brown to rack up enough touches or minutes this season.

    Source: Pistons.com

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    There is some optimism in league circles about Kevin Durant's (Achilles) chances of playing this season, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

    Looking back on Durant's decision to return during the Finals, the Nets may want to exude caution when considering KD's return to action. However, Durant is pursuing his rehab with a sense of purpose, and it would be great to see him get back on the court this season. We'll keep you posted when a real timeline on Durant's rehab emerges. This news does not make him a target on draft day for standard leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. is the presumed favorite to start at PF heading into training camp according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

    Fedor went on to speculate that Nance Jr. could see a lot of time at the four while Kevin Love starts at center and Tristan Thompson and John Henson compete for back up minutes behind those two. Any uptick in playing time would be a huge boost to the per-minute dynamo that Nance Jr is, and a starting role with a new coaching staff bodes well for that. He's trending in the right direction.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic