• Basketball is back!  Let’s get it – I know, Lawrence Parker is rolling in his grave now.

    Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo were a little too ready for war as both threw punches at each other and will catch multiple-game suspensions as will Brandon Ingram, who came flying in later with a punch of his own. It all supposedly started because Paul claimed Rondo spit on him. After the incident, Rondo’s girlfriend started some stuff with CP’s wife. Hahaha, nothing beats NBA drama. I feel like Guy Montag.

    And there go my two roto point guards. Oh well. And Lonzo and Hart should be owned everywhere. I’m finishing this up at 2:26 A.M. on Sunday the 21st and we’re all wondering how hard Kiki VanDeWeghe will drop the hammer. Crazy Eyes Portis got 8 games for breaking Niko’s face last year and Sheed, who already had a rep, only got 7 games for confronting and threatening disgraced referee Tim Donaghy in the parking lot following a game. It kind of feels like the League will want to send a message so we might see more games for some of the participants.

    Earlier Saturday Will Barton went down with a reported hip injury. He had to be wheeled off the court and he’s likely to miss a bunch of time too. I have him on most of my teams so that’s a real bummer. Trey Lyles will probably get the most usage bunch of the bench guys.

    Just the first week and why does it hurt so bad?

    Now that we’ve gotten some games in, we can start to see which mid-late round young guys look like scrubs and pigeons (Jon Isaac, Mario Hezonja, Kelly Olynyk, Harry Giles) and which ones look pretty good (JJJ, Trae Young, Caris LeVert, De’Aaron Fox).

    We can also see which established guys are playing poorly and might make for good trade targets (KAT, Jamal Murray, maybe Jrue who’s been playing well but not putting up gaudy scoring numbers, Kyle Anderson if you don’t need the points). The reverse of this is the under performing guys that may now look over-drafted, guys that you might want to trade when they pop off a few good games in a row (I’m looking at you Myles Turner).

    We can also see which NBA player broke the record for least amount of NBA games played before having a song named after him- that would be Mo Bamba with zero games. The only downside to this honor is I don’t know anybody outside of Harlem that actually likes the song – yeah I know it’s kinda old, but I’m kinda old so send all complaints here.

    Week 2 Schedule

    2 Games: ATL, DEN, HOU, MIA, OKC
    All other teams play 4 games.

    Monday has 9 games: Magic at Celts, Hornets at Raps, Knicks at Bucks, Pacers at Wolves, Bulls at Mavs, Grizz at Jazz, Wiz at Blazers, Suns at Dubs and Spurs at Lake-Show.

    Tuesday has 3: Sixers at Pistons, Clips at Pels and Kings at Nuggs.

    Wednesday has 11: Mavs at Hawks, Nets at Cavs, Knicks at Heat, Wolves at Raps, Hornets at Bulls, Jazz at Rockets, Pacs at Spurs, Sixers at Bucks, Lakers at Suns, Grizz at Kings and Wiz at Dubs.

    Thursday has 4: Cavs at Pistons, Blazers at Magic, Celtics at Thunder and Nuggets at Lakers.

    Friday has 7: Bulls at Hornets, Dubs at Knicks, Mavs at Raps, Clips at Rockets, Bucks at Wolves, Nets at Pels and Wiz and Kings.

    Saturday has 9: Celtics at Pistons, Jazz at Pels, Bulls at Hawks, Pacers at Cavs, Hornets at Sixers, Blazers at Heat, Suns at Grizz, Magic at Bucks and Lakers at Spurs.

    Sunday has 4: Dubs at Nets, Jazz at Mavs, Suns at Thunder and Wizards at Clippers.

    For My Streamers

    *light schedule days in bold

    ATL: 2= W, Sa
    BRK: 3= W, F, Su
    BOS: 3= M, Th, Sa
    CHA: 4= M, W, F, Sa
    CHI: 4= M, W, F, Sa
    CLE: 3= W, Th, Sa
    DAL: 4= M, W, F, Su
    DEN: 2= Tu, Th
    DET: 3= Tu, Th, Sa
    GSW: 4= M, W, F, Su
    HOU: 2= W, F
    IND: 3= M, W, Sa
    LAC: 3= Tu, Fri, Su
    LAL: 4= M, W, Th, Sa
    MEM: 3= M, W, Sa
    MIA: 2= W, Sa
    MIL: 4= M, W, F, Sa
    MIN: 3= M, W, F
    NOR: 3= Tu, F, Sa
    NYK: 3= M, W, F
    OKC: 2= Th, Su
    ORL: 3= M, Th, Sa
    PHI: 3= Tu, W, Sa
    PHO: 4= M, W, Sa, Su
    POR: 3= M, Th, Sa
    SAC: 3= Tu, W, F
    SAS: 3= M, W, Sa
    TOR: 3= M, W, F
    UTA: 4= M, W, Sa, Su
    WAS: 4= M, W, F, Su


    Sun (of Week 1)/Mon: GSW
    Mon/Tues: none
    Tues/Weds: PHI, SAC
    Weds/Thurs: LAL
    Thurs/Fri: none
    Fri/Sat: CHA, CHI, MIL
    Sat/Sun: PHO, UTA
    Sun/Mon (of Week 3): BKN, DAL, GSW

    3 Games in 4 Nights

    Tu/W/F- SAC

    W/F/Sa- CHA, CHI, MIL

    W/Th/Sa- CLE, LAL

    Working The Wire

    *For anyone who’s new to my style- beware that it might not fit your style or format. I’m primarily H2H and I stream very aggressively. Unless the fit is perfect for my build, I usually will not marry a guy with marginal value. That doesn’t mean I’ll only use them for a week (Wayne Ellington had several stretches last season where he was getting tons of 3s) but if their play falls off, they get the axe.

    Also generally I’m assuming guys with over 50% ownership are gone in 12-team competitive league, so I’m not mentioning guys like Cedi Osman, Josh Hart, JaVale McGee, Markieff Morris, etc. (unless I’m seeing them on at least one of my many wires) because I assume they’re already owned.

    Point Guards

    Fred Van Vleet is averaging 26.6 minutes per game and he’s getting some run alongside Lowry (though that’ll come down some when Delon Wright gets back). I didn’t expect that but love Steady Freddy’s game and can’t argue with the results: 12.7 points, 1.3 threes, 5.7 dimes and 4.0 rebounds. The Raptors hunt 3 times this week.

    Isaiah Canaan has 11.5 points, 2.5 threes, 4.2 assists and 0.5 steals in 2 games because somebody has to play the point in Phoenix. They’re still trying to upgrade via trade but Cannon is the guy now and Phoenix burns 4 times.

    Trey Burke continued the low-end stuff from last year with 11.3 points, 1.3 threes, 5.7 dimes and a steal. He’s starting and NY has 3 games.

    Burke’s teammate Frank Ntilikina has clearly worked on his game even if he’s still very raw and his scoring very low. In three games so far he’s averaging 2.3 steals and 1.0 treys and not much else. He’s also starting and needs lots of run to develop so he can be used as a steals specialist but not as a straight add.

    J.J. Barea is a hop, skip and a jump away from an injury but in 2 games he has 10.5 assists to go with 10.5 points and 1.5 triples and the Mavs ride 4 times if you are streaming.

    Dante Exum has 13.0 points, 1.0 treys, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 22.2 minutes a game over his first 2 contests. Looks sustainable? It does to me (generally). The only problem is that he doesn’t have a high steals rate or hit a lot of threes – though he has been working on his corner triple. Thus, he’s best suited for streaming or deeper leagues. Utah hits the quarter note this week (that’s 4 games for those who hate bad musical puns…I should have just went with 4 games, finger wag at myself).

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got almost 26 minutes in 2 games but is looking like a stash right now if you have a deep bench but otherwise not so much because 6.5 points, 4.0 assists and 1.0 combines stocks isn’t cuttin’ it. The Clippers set sail 3 times.

    George Hill’s averages through 2 games doesn’t look so bad – 11.0 points, a triple and 4.5 dimes- but he did well in game one and sucked the second. That looks suspiciously like last year’s George Hill which means standard league guys should ignore. I don’t know if it’s the declining athleticism or general disinterest, but Hill looks terribly passive. Cleveland rocks 3 times if you want to take the plunge.

    Shooting Guards

    Malik Monk looks like he might have started a bit of a time share with Jeremy Lamb, though Lamb will probably stick as a starter and has a more well-rounded fantasy game. In 3 games, Monk put up 14.7 points, 3.0 treys, and almost 1.5 stocks which is pretty damn good to me. We’ll see if he can keep it up next week. Charlotte honeycombs 4 times.

    Wes Matthews is back with his terrible field goal shooting (37.9) but the counting stats work – 17.0 points, 3.0 threes, 3.5 dimes and 3.0 rebounds. No steals yet and I realize he’s gotten older. Dallas has 4 games.

    Rodney McGruder: yeah, I know, I know the team is missing key rotational pieces, but this guy McGruder is simply getting the job done. In 3 games he’s bring back top-40 value with 15.7 points, 3.0 treys, 7.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. His numbers will dip when Miami gets its guys back but Spo loves him and he should stick in the rotation. At a minimum, ride him while he’s hot although Miami’s 2 games next week isn’t quite ideal.

    Terrence Ross gave you 11.0 points, 1.3 triples, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 blocks in 24.5 minutes over 3 games. The defensive numbers are so high but with as much garbage time the Magic will be playing he might keep low-end value in deeper leagues. The Magic go to Disneyland 3 times.

    With LeBron out of Cleveland, Jordan Clarkson looks more like the Lakers version we came to know. In a pair of games so far with 17.0 points, 0.5 threes, 3.5 rebounds and 0.5 steals in 23.4 minutes off the bench. That looks like empty points so welcome back Jordan! More of a points-boost in deeper formats or for the desperate or a stream if the schedule aligns. The Cavs duel 3 times this week.

    Super-deep league special – Antonio Blakeney has gotten 26.0 minutes in 2 games with 12.5 points, 4.5 boards and 0.5 in steals and threes. The Bulls seem content to let this fan favorite chuck his way into another loss at least until Denzel Valentine gets over his problematic ankles. The lack of threes and steals limit his appeal in even 14-16 deep but deeper leagues needing rare points might be able to use him. Chicago has 4 games.

    Small Forwards

    T.J. Warren has obviously been working on his 3-point shooting and I’m not even sure if I should believe it. Still, 16.5 points, 2.5 bombs, 1.0 steals and 0.5 blocks with his usual efficiency is usable. We’ll see if he can shine on that crowded bench in Phoenix. The Suns shine 4 times.

    PJ Tucker came back down to earth on Saturday and has 12.5 points, 3.0 treys, 5.5 boards and 1.0 stocks and there’s no Trevor Ariza in town so he still should be good for 3s and hustle stats but the Rockets only fly twice.

    Danny Green has 10.0 points, 2.7 trees, 4.3 boards, 1.3 steals and a block over 3 games. The problem is that he did it in true Danny Green fashion with a nice first two games followed by a real clunker. Hopefully he’ll be able to be more than just a tease. Toronto has 3 games.

    Dorian Finney-Smith is starting until the Black Falcon gets back as can give you a smattering of low-volume stats. How does 10.0 points, 2.0 treys, 5.0 boards, 1.5 blocks and 0.5 rebounds sound? Dallas goes 4 times.

    The story isn’t Garrett Temple’s 30 points on Friday, it’s that he’s starting and averaging 7.0 3-point attempts per game. He’s a career 36.1 percent shooter and better the last six years so he might slot in as a 3-point specialist that can also get you close to a steal a game, at least until Memphis falls out of the playoff hunt and sits their vets more.

    Joe Harris got 14.3 points and 3.0 threes in his first three games, but who know what that’ll look like when Allen Crabbe gets cleared for more minutes and rookie Rodions Kurucs also doing his best to crack the rotation. The Nyets go 3 times.

    Power Forwards

    Marvin Bagley III had a bit of an up-and-down first few games getting only six points and five boards in 12 minutes for the first one, then busting out for 19 points, eight boards, three assists, three steals and a block in 32 minutes for the second one. That’s the life of a rookie. Still, he’s the No. 2 pick, the Kangz ain’t going anywhere and he should get plenty of chances to produce. I wasn’t going to mention him, but he’s surprisingly still on the waivers in one of my 12-team leagues.

    Jae Crowder is back with 15.0 points, 2.0 threes, 6.0 boards, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals in his 2 games so far. The offensive numbers look a bit inflated but that’s pretty standard low-end stuff for Jae, same as last season. The Jazz play 4 times this week.

    Marcus Morris has a similar role as Crowder. In 3 games he’s gotten 13.3 points, 2.0 threes and 6.0 boards. The Celts make 3 trips to Stonehenge (although the structures themselves even predate the Celtic peoples).

    Paskal Siakam is still working on getting it all together, though it’s coming. In three games, he’s gotten 9.0 points, 0.7 steals, 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 stocks which places him off standard league radars. The Raps have 4 games.

    Kevon Looney is Kerr’s guy and helped many teams streaming him for defensive stats win last year. In 18.3 minutes over 2 games Looney’s averaged 7.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, a steal and a block. Looks like deep-league stuff to me. The Warriors battle 4 times this week.

    Jerami Grant did what I expected him to do – get some 3s and blocks and do athletic things while generally being a disappointment. In 2 games so far this week, he’s at 5.5 points, 0.5 threes, 5.0 boards and 2.5 blocks per game in 28.4 minutes a game. Aside from being a blocks specialist from a forward position, he’s not doing enough to be on standard league teams. It’s possible he settles in after Westbrook returns but The Thunder only strike 2 times next week so that’s not a good time to try.


    Damian Jones did a good job in his first start, rolling to the rim nicely and getting put-backs on offense (6-of-7) and blocking three shots on defense. On the broadcast Marv Albert said Kerr views him as a JaVale McGee type – he’s big, athletic and can defend the rim. Hopefully his head’s screwed on tighter than Pierre’s. He didn’t fare quite so well in his second game and so far, he he’s averaging 8.0 points on .800 from the field, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.0 steals in 22.3 minutes. Reports are he’s soon headed to the bench as Kerr plays with his rotations, but FWIW long-time Warriors insider Tim Kawakami thinks Jones has the best chance to hold down the starting gig long term. Starting or off the bench, Jones goes 4 games this week so can be used as a stream for defensive stats.

    Nerlens Noel – In two games so far Noel has looked strictly like a backup to Steven Adams. In 13.5 mins, he got 6.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.o steals and 0.5 blocks. Those are pretty low-end numbers that will only work in deeper leagues. If that helps, go for it, though next week isn’t idea for streaming with only 2 games for the Thunder.

    Quietly putting up better numbers than Noel is John Henson who is averaging 7.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and an amazing 1.0 threes in 17.2 minutes per game. He’s basically putting up Brook Lopez numbers and is a must-add in at least 16-team leagues. For streamers, the Bucks run 4 games next week.

    Bam Adebayo got 8.3 points, 7.7 boards and 0.7 blocks in 18.2 minutes over his first three games. He’s only at 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes so he just gives you some boards. His biggest impact is rendering Kelly Olynyk virtually worthless, but outside of that is pretty much a low-end rebound specialist but might be worth a look in deeper formats.  Miami only plays twice.

    Boban- no man! I know the giant from the Enchanted Forest is putting up gaudy per-minute popcorn stats with 15.5 points (on .714 from the floor) and 6.5 boards but he hasn’t blocked a shot and I don’t think he can keep it up. Watch Houston and New Orleans run him off the floor this week but if he still keeps getting garbage time cleanup duty, I’ll have to reconsider my stance.

    Random Observations

    – The answer to last week’s trivia question is Jrue Holiday and Iman Shumpert.

    Never heard of a girl named Jrue/Drew but I have heard of a woman named Iman. She was a famous model and if you’re old enough, you might have seen her in a broadcast-on-network TV Michael Jackson video – Magic & Eddie pulled cameos too.

    -High comedy in the Lakers opener when LeBron implored his teammates: “Anytime y’all fall, stay down; your brother’ll come pick you up.”  And then everyone proceeds to leave Rondo face down on the floor when he fell. Much laughter ensued. [And forget that, get your ass up and play ball!] That was compounded by LeBron walking with Banana Boat buddy Chris Paul with his arm around his shoulder as Paul departed the game following the Rondo fight. Not a good look.

    – While researching stats for the HB career leeg, I noticed that last season, Chris Paul passed Professor Andre Miller for 9th all-time with 8708 assists (Bron is No. 11 with 8208, and you might not think it, but he’s been in the L longer than CP).  Now, think about how long you’ve seen CP play – a long time.

    Now think about John Stockton’s 15,806 and how long Chris Paul would have to continue playing at a high level to exceed that? He’s already 33 years old and would need to almost double his career output to date. He’d have to play ‘til he’s 45-46 and at the same level he has been for the past 13 seasons. I’d take the under any day, when I’m woke or in my sleep, on crack or not.That was a joke; crack is wack.

    Big props to John Stockton; nobody whipped passes in the half-court better.

    – Now that everyone’s drafted and named their squads, it’s fun to see the creative, ambiguously personal and often funny names that have popped up. Lots of us have a standard name we use (Floppy Divac for me) but if you have additional leagues, honor the basketball gods with your puns and wordplay – this is also just about the only time bad puns are appropriate. Lonzo’s dad is old news so any references are played this year (but renaming your squad Chairman Mao after his son was arrested in China was fantastic last season). Pippen Ain’t Easy is about as hackneyed as it gets since it’s been around and consistently been used since Scottie was still playing. It’s a Big Daddy Kane reference so no beef if you an old head who loves Pip and Kane; if you’re a 19-year-old from California and have no idea who Big Daddy Kane is, you get the five fingers.

    Best name I’ve seen so far this season is in my home leeg with a Chi-Town reference- I Just Wanna Weeeen.  Cabrón James, Lil Uzi LeVert and I’m Trying Jennifer are also on point. Have some fun with it – and we have a thread for that.

    Not getting freaked out after Week 1,

    Ask me anything here but some of y’all be sliding in the DMs too easily. I keep thinking it’s something important or private but keep getting let down when it’s not some IG Model that loves basketball trying to hit me up so tag me on twitter like a regular person. I’ll respond and someone else can also be blessed with the discussion; I’m almost 100% sure your opponents aren’t gonna have a leg up so relax, take it easy.

    Follow Hoop-Ball Fantasy for up to the minute hoops related news and updates.

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