• We are hitting the ground running here at Hoop-Ball! Preseason is in full swing. After one of the most memorable NBA offseasons, it feels like there was no true offseason. It’s great to be back!

    A few studs popped up on new teams around the league on Tuesday night in preseason action. As we learn time and time again, chemistry takes a little while and kinks will be worked out. That is what the preseason is for. Let’s dive right in to what was ticking on a fun Tuesday night in the NBA.

    PAUL GEORGE, CHRIS PAUL DEBUT FOR NEW TEAMS

    A lot of first names in the headline there. Tuesday night was our first crack at watching superstars join perennial playoff teams. The Thunder weren’t at full strength, however, as Russell Westbrook (knee) sat this one out due to his PRP injections. No need to panic on the MVP, he will be just fine.

    The Rockets debuted their new look lineup and all eyes were on their guards. Chris Paul scored 11 points with two boards, seven assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes. He looked comfortable on the floor and his efficiency should continue in this system. Paul is a late-first/early-second rounder.

    The fantasy community was curious about how Paul’s signing would impact James Harden. It didn’t look too different, as Harden silenced doubters with a 16-5-10-3-2 line with three 3-pointers on 5-for-16 shooting. He had seven turnovers. It looks like the same old Harden. Treat him as you did last season.

    Eric Gordon took advantage of the spacing and kept up his old tricks. He got hot, shooting 7-for-12 for 21 points, one steal and six 3-pointers. Nothing has changed.

    Paul George shot 6-for-13 from the field for 15 points in his debut for the Thunder, adding five boards, two assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. Carmelo Anthony co-starred, shooting 7-for-13 from the field for 19 points with four boards, one steal and three 3-pointers. The two took 13 shots each, something that would likely take a dip when the MVP returns. The Thunder will likely try to get a game in with their starting lineup whole before the season begins. Treat Westbrook as a consensus first rounder and George as a second rounder for now.

    Steven Adams (back) left this one in the third quarter, showing discomfort in his lower back. It was just precautionary. Carry on.

    NEW-LOOK KNICKS DISPLAY FANTASY POTENTIAL

    Without the high usage of Carmelo Anthony for all those seasons, the New York Knicks took to the court and gave us a nice preview of what’s to come this season. Kristaps Porzingis was 6-for-14 from the floor for 15 points with five boards, one assist, one steal and two swats. He took the first three shots of the game, proving that he is the focal point on both ends of the floor moving forward. It’s a new day in the Big Apple.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. made the most of his volume, scoring 17 points with seven boards, two assists, two steals and five 3-pointers in 25 minutes. The opportunity is there. Roster him. Enes Kanter also picked up the scoring slack, pouring in 17 points in 17 minutes. He will remain an efficient center late in drafts.

    As for the Nets, while expectations may be low, they didn’t look half bad. D’Angelo Russell continues to develop before our eyes. He posted a 19-2-4-1-1 line with two 3-pointers in 20 minutes last night. The keys to the offense are his. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson helped out with his usual hustle line, scoring 13 points with two boards, two assists and two steals in 20 minutes. Consider him in the later rounds.

    BABY BULLS HANDLE PELICANS’ TWIN TOWERS

    It’s preseason, so anything goes. The muddled Bulls roster had eight guys score in double-figures. The wealth will probably be spread around all year, so get used to it. Bobby Portis has been #FREED, but he continues to disappoint in the time he is given. Portis shot 1-for-7 for three points, nine boards and three assists in 17 minutes. No need to draft him, for now.

    Jerian Grant dropped 11 points with nine dimes, one steal and two 3-pointers in 20 minutes. If he continues to outperform Kris Dunn (11-1-3-2) as he has so far, rise Grant up a few rounds on your list.

    Anthony Davis reminded the league that he is in his prime and continues to play on another planet. The Brow shot 6-for-15 from the field for 24 points with 10 boards, three assists, two blocks and one 3-pointer. He also nailed 11-for-14 from the charity stripe. He is easily a first rounder. Set and forget.

    AD’s running mate DeMarcus Cousins flexed his fantasy muscles as well, dropping a 20-10-5-6-1 line with one 3-pointer as well. Watching Boogie and AD dribble up the ball like guards was a sight to see. This will be a fun team to watch this year. Boogie is a fringe first-round fantasy talent.

    SUNS SKATE BY BLAZERS IN WESTERN SHOOTOUT

    Youth was at center stage as the Suns came back to beat the Blazers 114-112. T.J. Warren led the way with 24 points (9-for-15 FGs, 6-for-7 FTs), six boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 33 minutes. He could be sneaky good this year. Keep him on your radar in standard leagues.

    Alex Len double-doubled with 14 points and 13 boards, adding one steal and one block. Once Tyson Chandler leaves, his minutes will shoot up. I stand by it: this is the year!

    Devin Booker was 4-for-12 from the floor and 9-for-9 from the field, scoring 19 points with two rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers in 19 minutes. His efficiency still lacks. If he will make the leap remains to be seen.

    The Blazers took a look at 15 different guys, going at a heavy rotation at forward all night. Damian Lillard made the most of his 15 minutes, scoring 18 points with four assists, one board, two steals and one 3-pointer. He is worthy of early-second round consideration.

    Jusuf Nurkic also showed burst in just 16 minutes. shooting 8-for-13 for 16 points in 16 minutes. Health is always his concern, otherwise the production is there.

    Caleb Swanigan made headlines again, scoring 18 points with six boards in 17 minutes. The big rookie is on the radar but a clear path to playing time has yet to be established. Keep him on the watch list.

    That’ll do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish, preseason edition! As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @RiazD. Don’t forget to follow all of our breaking news and rumors @HoopBallTweets. We are less than two weeks from tipoff!!

Fantasy News

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski does not believe a Big Three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard with the Lakers is a likely scenario entering the 2019 offseason.

    Appearing on Tuesday morning on Get Up, Woj reported that Leonard's decision in free agency will probably come down to re-signing with the Raptors or joining the Clippers in Los Angeles. Steve Balmer and the Clippers are poised to lure him away from Toronto and this will likely be a Raptors-Clippers fight all the way down to the end. Woj also added that Kawhi may take meetings with more teams, but it's not even certain he'd even take a meeting with the Lakers right now.

    Source: ESPN

  • Dion Waiters - G - Miami Heat

    According to Kevin Pelton of ESPN, with All-Stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson likely to miss a big chunk, if not all, of next season, the Warriors will spend the summer on the lookout for help, and one of their targets may be Heat guard Dion Waiters.

    Durant, Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins could all be lost in free agency, but even if all three players re-sign, the Warriors will have no salary left under the cap to sign free agents and the only possible way to improve would be through a trade. Waiters has two years and around $27 million remaining on his contract while the Heat are very open to trading him. He could see a boost in his numbers if traded to the Warriors but his efficiency has always been an issue.

    Source: ESPN

  • Bradley Beal - G - Washington Wizards

    According to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington, the Pelicans have a “sincere interest” in exploring a trade for Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal.

    The Wizards seem to be determined to keep Beal, but they currently don’t have a general manager, and perhaps their stance could change. The basis for trading Beal centers on maximizing his asset value with two years and $56 million remaining on his original five-year contract signed in 2016. Washington will likely struggle next season with fellow guard John Wall out and an evolving roster that currently has only five players with guaranteed contract. Beal is coming off an outstanding season in which he averaged a career-highs of 25.6 points and 5.0 rebounds, and almost single-handedly kept the Wizards in a chase for a playoff spot until the season’s final weeks.

    Source: NBC Sports Washington

  • R.J. Barret - G - New Orleans Pelicans

    According to an NBA source, the Pelicans have explored moving back to gain more assets and also had internal talks about moving up to the second pick in order to draft R.J. Barrett who is Zion Williamson’s best friend.

    That trade-up maneuver, however unlikely, would allow Murray State’s Ja Morant to fall to the Knicks at No. 3. The Knicks had Morant higher on their board than Barrett at the Chicago combine, but that also was before Morant recently underwent knee surgery. For now, it seems that New York is locked in at keeping the third pick, contrary to a couple weeks earlier, when they were open to moving back. The Pelicans meanwhile continue to explore all possible avenues in order to better use the No. 4 pick which they have acquired from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade.

    Source: NY Post

  • Hassan Whiteside - C - Miami Heat

    According to Barry Jackson, Hassan Whiteside is expected to opt into the final year of his deal, which would pay him $27.1 million.

    This was obviously anticipated, but with Whiteside dissatisfied with his current role with the Heat, there was a sliver of doubt that he'd want to stay in Miami. Jackson mentions that there were talks regarding a Whiteside for Mike Conley deal that didn't get very far. The Heat will be looking at a luxury tax bill unless they can cut some salary, so Whiteside isn't a lock to remain on the roster. A change of scenery could help his fantasy outlook, as unlikely as a trade may be. We're likely to see him return in a backup center role that limits him to late-round fantasy production at best.

    Source: Miami Herald

  • Patrick Beverley - G - Los Angeles Clippers

    According to Sean Deveney, Patrick Beverley will be taking as many as five free agent meetings prior to meeting with the Clippers.

    The Clippers have bigger fish to fry, and Beverley might not want to wait around for them. He will rightfully be getting a lot of attention during free agency. While Beverley is not a great offensive player, he could fit in a variety of places with his defensive intensity and leadership. Anywhere from a rebuilding team like in his hometown of Chicago where they could use some veteran tenacity to a potential contending team like Lakers who just need a lockdown defender, Beverley would be a nice addition that shouldn't break the bank. No matter where he goes, he should continue to get enough minutes (he hasn't played less than 27 mpg since his rookies season) to be relevant in shallow leagues.

    Source: Sean Deveney on Twitter

  • Alvin Gentry - Team - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have picked up Alvin Gentry's team option through the 2020-21 season.

    It's encouraging to see David Griffin already showing faith in Gentry. The Pelicans' rebuild is off to what seems like a great start under Griffin. Winning the draft lottery and getting a great haul for Anthony Davis prior to the draft is just be the beginning of a franchise-defining offseason.

    Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter

  • Chris Paul - G - Houston Rockets

    The Rockets have had conversations about Clint Capela and "preliminary conversations" about Chris Paul, per Shams Charania.

    The Rockets reportedly want to discuss Paul trades with teams that can absorb his three years and $125 million. That's a pretty short list. That deal will be much harder to move than Capela's, though you can be sure that the Rockets probably won't move their young center unless it's a deal that improves both the on-court product and the cap sheet. That proposition is a lot weaker in any deal that includes Paul's monster salaries.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Ed Davis - C - Brooklyn Nets

    Ed Davis is expected to be a hot commodity in free agency and should be looking at multi-year offers, per Shams Charania.

    Davis is a machine on the glass and has drawn rave reviews as a quality teammate and person wherever he goes, so it's no surprise that he's drawing interest. A high-energy big who gobbles up rebounds still has a place on just about any roster, even with Davis' other offensive limitations. He'll remain a solid rebounding specialist for deep-league use next season.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Derrick Favors - F/C - Utah Jazz

    Tony Jones of The Athletic is reporting that the Jazz have yet to include Derrick Favors in trade talks for Mike Conley.

    Favors has been linked to the Lakers, though his landing spot is all contingent on the Jazz picking up his team option. He's due to be paid $17.65 million if that option is picked up, and the Grizzlies may have some interest in him if he can be had on an expiring deal. The Jazz don't look to have a ton that the Grizzlies would be interested in terms of roster players, so Utah might need to get creative if they really want Conley.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter