October 11, 2017, 10:08 am
We are less than a week away from all the action and it’s time to get pumped for the NBA season. After an offseason for the ages, real games are about to be played. We can hardly wait for tip-off on Tuesday. Before we get there, it’s time to read the tea leaves that we call preseason. Sure, the games might be meaningful but we are finally getting a true taste of the action which could tell you who could be risky/safe or a stud on draft night.
Let’s take a look at some of the headlines on a busy Tuesday night.
A MAN AMONGST BOYS: GOBERT TAKES OVER FOR JAZZ
Rudy Gobert was upset when Gordon Hayward ditched the Jazz for the Celtics. It was the right and honest reaction. Since then, he hasn’t batted an eyelash about it. That was evident on Tuesday, when he posted 29 points (10-for-12 FGs, 9-for-11 FTs) with 13 boards, two assists, one steal and two blocks in 33 minutes. He took Brook Lopez (7-4-1-1-1 in 22 minutes) to the woodshed all night. A star is being born.
His new running mate Ricky Rubio looked every bit the part as well, shooting 6-for-18 from the floor for 22 points with three boards, six assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes. This is going to be a fun team to watch and a true playoff team out west.
Donovan Mitchell continued to exude talent in his best game of the preseason, dropping 26 points with five boards, three assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes. His versatility is lacking so far, but he is making a case for a role on this team. Consider him near the end of your draft.
CAVS AND BULLS SURVIVE INJURY SCARES
LeBron James had a close call as well. After driving on Paul Zipser early in the game (excellent defense by Zipser by the way), LeBron came up lame under the basket and jumped around a bit on the same ankle giving him trouble before. He returned and finished with 17 points, five boards, three assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes. Draft LBJ with the same confidence.
Kevin Love left the game clutching his left shin and knee areas in the third quarter. He hobbled to the bench and was immediately attended to by Cavs trainer Steve Spiro. After the game, fantasy owners exhaled when Love said that he felt fine and that sitting was precautionary. Love finished the game shooting 1-for-12 from the field for three points, eight rebounds, one assist, two steals and one 3-pointer in 21 minutes. Working out the kinks is what preseason is for. Expect better during the season.
Mirotic’s injury was a bit scarier, as he limped off the court with a sprained ankle and was taken to the locker room early in the first quarter. He did not return. After the game, Mirotic said that he would have been able to finish the game if it was a playoff game. Nice try Mirotic! We all know the Bulls won’t be in that situation for a while.
THUNDER’S BIG THREE PLAY NICE, SHARE THE ROCK
Time to draw conclusions! We got a good glance at the Thunder’s big three together for significant amounts of time on Tuesday night. This much is clear: they can all co-exist.
The reigning MVP Russell Westbrook poured in 20 points with seven assists, one board, one steal and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. He looked well over his injections and ready to be a first-round fantasy talent. Treat him no different than you did before.
Paul George got the most run with 35 minutes with an impressive line. George shot 7-for-19 from the field for 19 points with 11 rebounds, four assists, five steals, one block and five 3-pointers. If you were doubting his value in the top-25, you may want to reconsider.
Carmelo Anthony rounded out the trio with 16 points (7-for-17 FGs), nine boards, one assist and two 3-pointers in just 16 minutes. He clearly has the green light to chunk up shots in this offense, which bodes well for his value. He is a mid-round talent with scoring upside in points leagues.
AIR GORDON LEADS THE MAGIC OVER THE SPURS
If you have been following Hoop Ball at all this season, you already know Aaron Gordon is a thing. It was never more true this preseason than on Tuesday night, when Gordon went off to lead the Magic to a 103-98 win over the Spurs.
Gordon double-doubled with 27 points (11-for-24 FGs, 3-for-4 FTs), 11 boards, one assist, one steal and two 3-pointers in 38 minutes. He is a solid choice in the mid-rounds of your draft with high upside.
Jonathan Simmons added 20 points with 10 assists, one board, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes. If he keeps the job over Jonathan Issac, keep him on your radar early in the season.
As for the Spurs, we got another glimpse of Rudy Gay, who put together his best preseason game thus far. Gay shot 3-for-6 from the field for 13 points with seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 20 minutes. The upside is always there with Gay and we have seen him be a star in this league, but the Spurs could limit his minutes all season which will stunt his upside. He will need 30 minutes per game to realize his true value.
That will 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 one week from tipoff!!
June 26, 2019, 2:10 pmDelon Wright - PG - Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies will extend a qualifying offer to Delon Wright, making him a restricted free agent.
Wright posted top-50 value over the last month of the season, and Mike Conley's departure should open up some playing time even with Ja Morant arriving. Wright is versatile enough to factor into the rotation at multiple positions and should be looking at quality minutes no matter what, even if he won't be looked at to handle the bulk of the point guard work. Assuming he does stay with Memphis, there's definite sleeper potential for a guy that figures to be overlooked because of Morant.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
June 26, 2019, 1:18 pmKawhi Leonard - SF - Toronto Raptors
According to Ian Begley of SNY, there are multiple teams expressing interest in pairing Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler this summer.
Leonard does not care about teaming up with other stars, but people around the league believe that he and Butler would get along and enjoy playing with one another. It makes some sense given their obsessive approaches to the game. The team with the best shot at it appears to be the Clippers — the other frontrunner for Kawhi, Toronto, does not have the space to absorb Butler, while the teams most interested in Butler do not have the space or pitches to attract Leonard. It's highly unlikely that the duo ends up together, but stranger things have happened.
June 26, 2019, 1:12 pmThomas Robinson - PF - San Antonio Spurs
Thomas Robinson will be joining the Spurs for Summer League.
The former 5th overall pick has bounced around the league and recently spent time with Maine in the G-League. Robinson last appeared in the NBA in 2016-17 and has stints with the Kings, Rockets, Blazers, Sixers, Nets and Lakers under his belt. Perhaps this will be the stint that establishes his place in the league.
Source: JD Shaw on Twitter
June 26, 2019, 1:08 pmOmer Asik - C - Chicago Bulls
The NBA has removed Omer Asik from Chicago’s salary books because of his career-ending injury/illness.
Asik missed eight months because of Crohn’s disease back in the 2016-17 season and has only played in 14 games since, missing all of last season. He was ruled out indefinitely because of inflammatory arthritis last summer and his NBA days are officially over. The Bulls add about $3 million in cap space as a result.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
June 26, 2019, 1:03 pmJosh Reaves - SG - Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs will add Josh Reaves to their Summer League roster and sign him to an Exhibit 10 contract.
The Exhibit 10 means that he’ll be paid at the minimum for one year with the Mavs having the option of converting his deal to a two-way contract before the season begins. If that were to happen, one of the team’s current two-way contract holders, Daryl Macon or Kostas Antetokounmpo, will need to be waived. Reaves spent four seasons at Penn State where he showcased top-flight defensive abilities and averaged 2.1 steals and 0.8 blocks for his career. If he can fix his jumper then the Mavs will have a solid 3-and-D prospect to work with.
Source: Brad Townsend on Twitter
June 26, 2019, 12:59 pmDanuel House - PF - Houston Rockets
The Rockets are expected to give Danuel House a qualifying offer in the coming days.
Houston played contract chicken with House last season after he used up the NBA days on his contract, but they did eventually bring him back for the postseason. House was a solid part of the rotation and figures to play a steady role for the Rockets this year given their lack of depth.
Source: Jonathan Feigen on Twitter
June 26, 2019, 12:39 pmTyus Jones - PG - Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves have extended a qualifying offer to Tyus Jones, per Adrian Wojnarowski, meaning he will be a restricted free agent.
Jones allegedly asked for a trade last offseason before Tom Thibodeau reassured him that a larger role was coming. Instead, the team added Derrick Rose. Jones is too good for the Wolves to let him go UFA without having the chance to match, but given their reported interest in players like D'Angelo Russell, it certainly doesn't look like Jones will play a serious role. There's standard-league potential with Jones if he ever gets the proper playing time, so fantasy players should be hoping that another team produces an offer that's too rich for Minnesota.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 26, 2019, 12:23 pmAllen Crabbe - SG - Atlanta Hawks
Allen Crabbe was arrested for DUI in California on Tuesday night, per a report from TMZ.
TMZ also adds that Crabbe blew the legal limit of .08, resulting in him being booked for a misdemeanor DUI. There could be some supplemental discipline headed his way, but it will not be anything major.
June 26, 2019, 12:17 pmKevin Durant - SF - Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant (torn Achilles) is headed for unrestricted free agency after deciding to decline his player option.
Durant's injury, which will take all of next season to heal, cast some doubt on whether he would pass up $31.5 million, but it's unlikely that teams would allow that to limit their offers to Durant. He's drawing interest from the Warriors, Knicks, Nets and surely other teams we haven't heard about, but word is that the Nets are prepared to offer KD a four-year max. His decision will be the first big domino in free agency.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 26, 2019, 12:13 pmBol Bol - C - Denver Nuggets
Bol Bol might not play in Summer League.
Bol is apparently fully recovered from a stress fracture in his left foot but the Nuggets will take things slow with their new center. It's possible that he does end up suiting up, but that depends on what the doctors decide is the best course of action. Bol will at least be in Vegas to get to know some of his teammates and learn the playbook a bit, but it would be a real shame if we didn't get to see him on the court.
Source: Katy Winge on Twitter