October 19, 2017, 9:52 am
No messing around – there were 11 games last night so let’s get to it.
Tobias Harris puts Pistons over Hornets
The Pistons got their season off to the right start with a 102-90 home win over the Hornets. Tobias Harris led the way with 27 points and 10 rebounds while teammates Avery Bradley and Langston Galloway, who appears to be fully healthy after health concerns (knee) post-practice, supported him with 15 points and 16 points respectively. Reggie Jackson appears to have a firm grasp on the starting point guard role despite comments from SVG earlier in the week that suggested he could be facing a timeshare with Ish Smith. Jackson posted 13 points with an impressive eight assists and zero turnovers in 27 minutes. Speaking of minutes, Stanley Johnson played a whopping 40 minutes of action on Wednesday, but shot an atrocious 0-from-13 from the field. Still, he was very effective on defense and should be on fantasy radars in deep leagues; or at least a solid cheap DFS target.
Meanwhile, the Hornets started Dwyane Bacon sans Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who should be back sooner rather than later resolving a personal matter. Dwight Howard double-doubled while Kemba Walker scored 24 points with six boards and four assists. The important starter to note though was Jeremy Lamb who scored 15 points in 28 minutes after being considered questionable following a groin injury during the preseason. He should be owned in all standard leagues going forward.
Lots of stats but the injuries keep coming
The highest scoring game of the season so far featured the Nets playing in Indiana against the new-look Pacers in what was a very fantasy friendly contest. Myles Turner proved those who doubted his rebounding wrong with a 21-14 performance along with four swats. Thaddeus Young joined in on the double-double fun while adding two steals, two blocks and a triple as they defeated the Nets 140-131. The Pacers backcourt were also in midseason form with Victor Oladipo scoring an efficient 22 points on just twelve shots while Darren Collison shot 9-of-12 from the field for 21 points paired with 11 assists.
D’Angelo Russell countered with 30 efficient points while Jeremy Lin scored 18 points in 25 minutes. Unfortunately, Lin went down badly injuring his knee on a non-contact landing and his status is highly doubtful at this stage. Updates are coming soon but at this stage we are expecting him to miss time with Caris LeVert and Allen Crabbe likely to pick up more minutes in the Nets backcourt. LeVert was productive in 27 minutes off the bench and is a good add in 12-team leagues in the interim.
20-20 not enough from Whiteside
Despite a stellar performance from Hassan Whiteside, who scored 26 points with 22 rebounds with a block and a triple (not a typo), it was the Magic who walked away with a 116-109 win on the back of their five starters who were all highly productive in over 30 minutes. Nikola Vucevic notched 19 points and 13 boards with two steals and two blocks, proving his days as a top-50 centre may not be over. Aaron Gordon did a lot of everything but shot a disappointing 4-of 13 from the field. It’s worth noting Terrence Ross’ performance who scored 15 points with six rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block, and three triples in 31 minutes. It seems his role as the starting small forward is not threatened by the emergence of Jonathon Simmons, who played 27 minutes off the bench.
The Heat started Josh Richardson as expected, but Kelly Olynyk also made the starting lineup in place of James Johnson. It’s unsure if this is a permanent move by Coach Spoelstra but Johnson was still able to post 11 points with eight assists, four boards, a steal and a block in just 18 minutes. We could be seeing a bit of a timeshare here but both Olynyk and Johnson are still worth owning in all leagues apart from the shallowest of the shallow.
Trust the Process, not the minutes restriction
While Joel Embiid notched 18 points and 13 rebounds with a block, the most surprising number was definitely the 26 minutes he played after Brett Brown announced his minutes would be held to the teens. It’s the best start possible for Embiid and fantasy owners will be thrilled with his current playing time; dare I say, he is looking like a top-20 asset going forward. However, this was one game and the real challenge will come when the Sixers face their first back-to-back set this weekend. Ben Simmons‘ first NBA game was equally exciting as he went for 18-10-5 with two steals and a block. But the best Sixer today was none other than Sir Robert Covington who scored 29 points with seven rebounds, a steal, two blocks while shooting 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. This is a much better start than his awful shooting early last season and he will flirt with early-mid round value on the season.
The Sixers did go down 115-120 to the Wizards with the Beal-Wall backcourt scoring 25 and 28 points respectively. Marcin Gortat showed he still has gas left in the tank with 16 points, 17 rebounds and a trio of blocks. Unfortunately for Jason Smith, he suffered a sprained shoulder after starting the opening seven minutes of the game. Kelly Oubre Jr. was very productive in 32 minutes while Otto Porter shifted to PF and should get more time there if Smith is forced to miss time.
Giannis starts MVP campaign flawlessly
After an encouraging message from Gordon Hayward to the fans in the Boston Garden following his horrific injury, the Bucks just had to go and ruin any good feelings Celtics fans are having about this season. Two days, two losses and one All-Star down, things are not going well at all. Kyrie Irving had an off shooting night going 7-for-25 in the 108-100 loss to the Bucks. Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum still look good in starting roles and should be picked up in most leagues following Hayward’s left tibia fracture. Terry Rozier scored 15 points with seven boards, six assists, two steals and a pair of triples in 27 minutes and could see a consistent increased role in the depleted Boston backcourt.
However, the night belonged to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was simply unstoppable, scoring 37 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Teammates Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon also helped the Bucks get over the line while playing a monstrous 43 and 41 minutes respectively. Jason Kidd likes his guys and we can expect extended run for these guys over the season. Greg Monroe left the game briefly after taking a shot to the face, but was able to return and should be fine going forward.
Boogie and Brow can’t handle the grind
The Grizzlies started their season with a 103-91 win over their conference rivals. Mike Conley scorched the Pelicans for 27 points on 15 shots while Marc Gasol added a double double for good measure. JaMychal Green went down with a sprained ankle and opened up an opportunity for rookie Dillon Brooks to get some good game time. He showed up with 19 points, five boards, two assists, four steals and two blocks in 29 minutes and should definitely be in the Grizzlies rotation and fantasy radars alike. James Ennis III was uninspiring in a starting role while Chandler Parsons scored six points off the bench and can be dropped in most leagues for a hot pickup.
Anthony Davis posted a huge 33-18 double double while DeMarcus Cousins scored 28 points with 10 rebounds and a ridiculous seven blocks. They didn’t have much help elsewhere though as E’Twauun Moore scored 11 points in 34 minutes and Jrue Holiday disappeared with just four points in 38 minutes. Holiday struggled in the second half of the season to be productive with both Cousins and Davis on the court and things will only get tougher for him when Rajon Rondo returns in several weeks. He’s obviously still a hold in every format.
Hawks win Battle of the Rebuilds
The Hawks defeated the Mavs 117-111 in Dallas behind 28 points and seven assists from Dennis Schroder. Taurean Prince chipped in 10-and-10 while Marco Belinelli scored 20 off the bench. All the Hawks started except Schroder played less than 27 minutes which is worth monitoring going forward.
Dennis Smith Jr. claimed a strong start to the Rookie of the Year race with 16 points and 10 assists in 29 minutes. The Mavs are more invested in his development than team wins and he should be owned universally. Wesley Matthews scored 15 purely on three-pointers with eight rebounds, five assists and a steal in 37 minutes. His versatility to play SG or SF should secure him a safe role for the Mavs as they may look to shuffle their lineups up throughout the season. Nerlens Noel may demand a starting role soon after posting a perfect shooting night good for 16 points, 11 rebounds, one steal and three blocks in just 19 minutes of action off the bench. He should be close to top-50 value on the season, but patience will be required for him to get adequate minutes.
Rudy wins Round One of Gobert vs Jokic
The two European centers faced off in Salt Lake City on Wednesday with the Jazz toppling the Nuggets 106-96. Rudy Gobert notched 18 points and 10 rebounds while Ricky Rubio handed out 10 assists. Donovan Mitchell scored 10 points in a starting role over Rodney Hood who managed just six points in 17 minutes. Hood may not be worth holding onto if this proves to be a permanent lineup (which we don’t expect, to be clear), while Mitchell can be picked up as a speculative add in larger leagues. Joe Ingles was a stud in 32 minutes, posting 11 points, six assists, five rebounds, two steals and three triples. He won’t score much often, but collects enough assists, steals and three’s to be one of Hoop-Ball’s favorite late round targets this year. Field a trade offer for him before others realize his value.
Speaking of Hoop-Ball favorites, Nikola Jokic was limited to just seven points but collected 12 boards and eight assists too. For what it’s worth, this was against Gobert and the Jazz and we can expect Jokic to be better in his next game as he looks to provide first round value this year. Jamal Murray started but scored just eight points in 19 minutes while backup Emmanuel Mudiay did virtually the same thing. Both point guards may be frustrating early on for owners until someone starts to play consistent minutes, with Murray still being the preferred player to own.
Different year, same story for the Spurs
The Spurs are right back to their winning ways, even without Kawhi Leonard, as they took down the new-look Wolves 107-99. LaMarcus Aldridge came up big with 25 points, 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks. Dejounte Murray started this one and went for 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in 25 minutes. He can be added to 12-team leagues while Tony Parker is out for his defensive upside at both guard positions. Did someone say defensive upside? If so, Danny Green scored 17 points on 7-of-16 shooting with three triples, two steals and two blocks and looks to continue an impressive preseason showing with some much needed offense while Leonard and Parker are still out. He can be added in most leagues, but be warned about his historical inconsistency.
Andrew Wiggins led the Wolves in scoring with 26, as Karl Anthony-Towns followed him with 18 points of his own along with 13 boards. Jeff Teague and Jimmy Butler were limited in scoring as this team starts to work out how to get everyone their shots in just 48 minutes of game time. Taj Gibson remains the starter while Gorgui Dieng had modest production as he saw just 13 minutes of the court. He will have frustrating games like this but is worth holding onto for tremendous upside if given sufficient time on the court.
Blazers scorch the Suns 124-76
No C.J? No problem. Damian Lillard said he was prepared to play 48 minutes in this one but that certainly wasn’t required as the Blazers handed the Suns their worst season-opener loss in history. The Blazers shot a blistering 48.9 percent from the field while the Suns could only manage 31.5 percent. Lillard shot 10-of-20 from the field on his way to 27 points, five assists and five boards in just 29 minutes. Jusuf Nurkic pulled down 11 boards with 11 points and Aminu grabbed 12 rebounds for himself too. Pat Connaughton scored 24 points with four triples in 32 minutes off the bench, but we are treating this game as an outlier as CJ McCollum will be back from his one-game suspension next time.
The Suns were woeful everywhere as Eric Bledsoe shot 5-of-18 to lead the team scoring with 15 points. Marquese Chriss played all of 12 minutes off the bench but this probably will change once Alex Len regains his health as Chriss was forced to play a backup center role. Let’s just forget about this one and treat the next game like the Suns opener.
Rockets currently first seed
That’s right. Day two of 177, and the Rockets are leading the NBA. Severely early predictions aside, the Rockets defeated the Kings 105-100 in their second road win in as many days. Chris Paul sat this one out nursing a knee injury, but could be back as early as the next game. James Harden played 37 minutes and churned out 27 points, nine assists and four triples in the narrow victory while fellow backcourt partner Eric Gordon added four triples of his own on the way to 25 points. However, the biggest eye opener for the Rockets was Clint Capela, who posted a monster line of 22 points and 17 rebounds in just 28 minutes of action. He shot 10-for-12 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line and everyone who drafted him must be feeling good going forward.
Willie Cauley-Stein on the other side was also terrific, going for 21-and-10 with three blocks. He started this one alongside Skal Labissiere, Buddy Hield and Justin Jackson as the youth movement in Sac-Town may be happening sooner rather than later. Zach Randolph did miss this one following oral surgery and was questionable before the game indicating a return sooner rather than later. However, the Kings are worth keeping an eye on as their younger guys are poised to get some good run early on. Labissiere is worth deploying if Randolph sits, Jackson can be left on the wire for the time being, and Cauley-Stein should be owned everywhere.