• The men’s games didn’t have nearly the same theater (not to disparage the late game between Serbia and Croatia) as the women’s bracket yesterday, and that’s okay. What we got instead was some tournament favorites rounding into form as well as a final farewell to one of the international basketball scene’s finest cores. On one hand, three of the games were basically two quarters long. On the other, it looks like the big boys are heating up at the right time.

    The semifinals are shaping up to be quite fun.

    Today’s Results

    Men’s

    Australia 90 vs. Lithuania 64
    Spain 92 vs. France 67
    USA 105 vs. Argentina 78
    Serbia 86 vs. Croatia 83

    Australia 90 vs. Lithuania 64

    Australia continued to look dominant today, dispatching Lithuania with ease in the first game of the afternoon. Australia got a three pointer from Matthew Dellavedova on their first possession and never relinquished the lead. Australia executed its offense to perfection with superb screens and backed it up with tenacious defense.

    Australia continued to put on an offensive clinic; they are expert at running Patty Mills all around the floor until he can get stuck in a mismatch or find an open lane. Joe Ingles, Andrew Bogut and Dellavedova can all dish nicely and they knew which players to target on the defensive end. It was another tremendous outing that only cements Australia’s reputation as at least the second best team in Rio. Their physical defense got Lithuania off their game early and allowed the Boomers to build up a big lead that turned most of the second half into garbage time. The lead was cut down to the mid-teens at times but it never felt as though Lithuania could come back.

    Mills had 24 points and 5 threes on 8-15 shooting, Dellavedova battled through a leg problem for 15 points, Aron Baynes shot 7-9 and put up 16 points of his own. The ball movement was once again brilliant as the Aussies worked to get Mindaugas Kuzminskas (#19) matched up on Mills and then stuck him on screens that led to open shots or over-rotations from the defense. Whenever Baynes flashed into open position, he got the ball. They absolutely carved up their opponents and look like a basketball cyborg headed into the semifinals.

    Lithuania’s tournament started so well but they have now had three bad games in a row. They totally unraveled today and looked frustrated by the game’s physicality from the jump. Jonas Valanciunas ranged from ‘bad’ to ‘pedestrian’ despite gathering in 8 rebounds, many of them in dogfights with Baynes and Bogut. He really needs to develop a jumper, as Bogut completely sagged off him outside the paint and paid no price; Valanciunas never even looked at the basket despite 10 feet of space between him and his defender.

    Mantas Kalnietis (#5; 12-3-5 today) had emerged as Lithuania’s go-to guy but was shut down by some terrific off-ball defense. That led to some bad passes and poor decisions as other players were forced to handle the ball; Lithuania had 17 turnovers and just 14 assists on the day. I watched this game on replay and was credited with a contact steal. It was a game where the Lithuanians looked frustrated at best and clueless at worst.

    Top Performers

    Australia Lithuania
    Points Mills 24
    Baynes 16
    Dellavedova 15
    Kalnietis / Kavaliauskas 12
    Seibutis 8
    Kuzminskas / Maciulis 6
    Rebounds Bogut 7
    Andersen 6
    Baynes 5
    Valanciunas 8
    Kuzminskas 6
    Sabonis 4
    Assists Bogut 6
    Ingles 5
    Broekhoff / Martin 4
    Kalnietis 5
    Seibutis 3
    Kuzminskas/Grigonis/Jeskevicius 2

    Stray Thoughts:

    • Ingles with great defense on Maciulis to start
    • Bogut just destroyed Kalnietis with a screen on the second play of the game; he was cheating to help in the paint and ran right into Bogut when Ingles’ skip pass got to the corner; beautiful execution by Australia
    • Tried a little clear out action to open up a driving lane for Maciulis but Mills didn’t bite at all; drew the charge for Maciulis’ 2nd foul in 90 seconds
    • Australia had 18 points off turnovers in the first quarter; Lithuania had no chance today
    • Some weak calls against Lithuania while Australia got lots of leeway early on, but really no excuse for the performance
    • Lithuanians are missing all kinds of rotations on defense; they were totally worn out by the physicality

Fantasy News

  • Mitchell Robinson
    C, New York Knicks

    Knicks owner James Dolan tested positive for Coronavirus on Saturday.

    Dolan is in self-isolation and fortunately has "little to no symptoms". The Knicks' press release said that Dolan "continues to oversee business operations" which is hopefully, a good indicator that Dolan is feeling well.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Paul Reed
    SF, College

    Paul Reed declared for the 2020 NBA Draft on Saturday.

    The junior small forward out of Depaul was named to the All-Big East Second Team this past season while averaging 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 2.6 blocks. Reed is likely to be drafted late in the first round. He was an efficient scorer in college (51.6 percent from the field in 2019-20) and if his shooting, rebounding and defensive stats translate to the NBA he could be a sneaky fantasy value. Keep an eye on Reed next season in case he is in a role where he can get minutes in the upper-20s.

    Source: Paul Reed on Twitter

  • Zeke Nnaji
    PF, College

    According to CBS' Jon Rothstein, Arizona Wildcat power forward Zeke Nnaji will declare for the 2020 NBA draft.

    Nnaji is a potential late first-round pick in the draft, given that it's a guard-heavy field and some teams may be in the market for some size. That said, it's far too early to make any hard predictions and draft boards remain fluid. With averages of 16.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on .570 shooting from the field, Nnaji has the base to be a fantasy-friendly big man, should he earn meaningful minutes on the team that eventually takes him.

    Source: Jon Rothstein on Twitter

  • Aaron Nesmith
    SF, College

    Vanderbilt player Aaron Nesmith has announced that he will be entering the 2020 NBA Draft.

    Nesmith, whose 2019-20 NCAA season was cut short by foot surgery, will be foregoing his junior year in order to join the draft. He's 6'6" and weighs in at 213 pounds. Playing small forward for Vanderbilt, Nesmith posted averages of 23 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from beyond the arc in the 14 games he managed to play.

    Source: ESPN

  • Killian Hayes
    SG, International

    Killian Hayes, a highly touted 18-year old point guard who has played three years professionally in France and Germany, has declared for the 2020 NBA draft after submitting the paperwork to the NBA league office.

    Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Hayes has been on scouts' radars for quite some time after riding some very impressive YouTube highlight videos to prospect relevancy. In his most recent season, with ratiopharm Ulm in Germany, Hayes averaged 12.8 PTS, 6.2 AST, 2.3 REB and 1.5 STL while seeing his NBA draft stock rise as a result. He is a very talented shooter and it is seemingly more and more likely that Hayes will see his name called in the lottery when draft night arrives.

    Source: ESPN.com

  • Patrick Williams
    SF, College

    Patrick Williams, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound small forward out of Florida State, has declared for the 2020 NBA draft after a shortened freshman season off the bench, averaging 9.2 PTS, 4.0 REB and 1.0 AST while not starting a single game for a deep Seminoles squad.

    The intriguing aspect of Williams' draft aspirations lies in his dimensions; particularly his 7-foot wingspan. He had modest numbers but that can largely be attributed to how deep their rotation was in 2019-20, similar to fellow 'Nole Devin Vassell, who also declared for the draft recently. Williams has incredible athleticism and has made himself into an intriguing prospect who could find himself landing in the first round if his draft stock maintains momentum.

    Source: Patrick Williams on Twitter

  • Rudy Gobert
    C, Utah Jazz

    The Utah Department of Health has cleared both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, meaning they no longer pose a risk of infection to others.

    Both Gobert and Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19, and although Gobert mentioned that he briefly lost his senses of taste and smell, the duo seems to be fully recovered. This is great news as we wait for word on when or if the NBA season will be able to continue.

    Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter

  • Reggie Bullock
    SG-SF, New York Knicks

    Reggie Bullock will likely return to the Knicks for another season, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

    If the Knicks chose not to bring back Bullock for next year, the team would suffer a $1M cap hit. That means that bringing him back for another season will only have a cap hit of $3.2M. That amount is only 2 percent of the projected salary cap for next season. The Knicks appear to be focused on creating cap flexibility for future years in the hopes that they can land some big-name free agents. Continue to monitor this situation as it develops but it appears likely that Bullock will be in a Knicks uniform for at least one more season.

    Source: The New York Post

  • Damyean Dotson
    SG, New York Knicks

    According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Damyean Dotson's time with the Knicks could come to an end after this season and the Jazz, Bucks and Warriors are among the teams that are expected to have interest in signing Dotson for the 2020-21 campaign.

    Dotson saw his role with the Knicks evaporate towards the end of the season as he received a DNP-CD for eight of the Knicks' final nine contests. Interim head coach, Mike Miller, chose to play veterans Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock over the 25-year-old that they drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft. Dotson will look to land in a situation that will give him a more consistent role as a three-and-D wing as he enters his fourth season in the association.

    Source: The New York Post

  • Malik Fitts
    SF, College

    Malik Fitts announced on Twitter that he is declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft.

    Fitts was the second leading scorer for a Saint Marys' team that was top-10 in offensive efficiency. He averaged 16.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting .472 from the field and .408 from beyond the arc. Fitts is an under-the-radar draft prospect who will likely be a second-round pick at best. He is likely to have a limited role if he makes an NBA roster next season, but his 3-point efficiency and steals are two fantasy skills that translate well from college to the pros. He could be a threes and steals specialist if he gets minutes in the upper-20s.

    Source: Malik Fitts on Twitter