• The Lakers (23-32) face the New Orleans Pelicans (30-26) on Wednesday night as both teams adjust to drastic recent roster changes.

    The Pelicans recently lost All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins for the year due to an torn Achilles tendon. To help replace him they traded for Nikola Mirotic and signed big man Emeka Okafor, who had been out of the NBA for three seasons. Remarkably, Okafor delivered eight points, seven rebounds (six offensive) and one blocked shot in only 14 minutes. Mirotic has played well in his last two games as a Pelican, averaging 21.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 3.0 3-pointers, 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocked shots per game.

    In the meantime, team cornerstone Anthony Davis has taken his game to new heights, carrying the team with 82 points, 27 rebounds, seven steals and five blocks across the last two contests. The team will need him to continue his transcendent play if they are to maintain their slim half-game lead for the eighth and last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

    Los Angeles native Jrue Holiday is also vital to the Pelicans’ post-Cousins success. He is coming off a strong 21-point, 12-assist and two-steal outing in a victory against the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

    The Lakers are acclimating to a trade deadline deal that netted Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye, while dealing away roster mainstays Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson.

    Thomas had an exciting debut for the Lakers, a team he had always wanted to play for. He tallied 22 points, six assists, one steal and four 3-pointers on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Los Angeles is last in the league in both 3-point shooting and free throw percentage so his contribution in those two areas will be very welcome. He is still recovering from his hip injury and has declared himself only 75-80% healthy — it will be interesting to see what how much he can improve the team once he is closer to 100 percent.

    The Lakers must find a way to refocus their defensive effort after an absolutely hideous effort in a 130-123 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday — the most points Dallas has scored this season. Los Angeles was completely inept at the defensive end, allowing the Mavericks to shoot 53.9 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from 3-point range and a total of 52 points in the paint (Dallas came in as the league worst at scoring in the key at just over 38 points per game). The Lakers appeared lost in their pick and roll assignments, opening up wide open lanes for a game-long layup line that even included a dunk for the aging Dirk Nowitzki. Los Angeles has spent the last three days attempting to remedy the issues that presented in that poor effort.

    Los Angeles will be without starting point guard Lonzo Ball, who has been ruled out through the All-Star break with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee. He will also miss Friday’s Rising Stars game — he will be replaced by De’Aaron Fox.

    Key Stats

    • The Lakers are tied for worst in the league at allowing second-chance points at 13.9 points per game and second worst at defending the paint with 48.7 points per game. In their victories they only get 11.9 points off of offensive rebounds (12th) and 43.7 points in the paint (19th). They must execute defensively to put themselves in a position to win, especially against an excellent offensive team like the Pelicans.
    • New Orleans scores 110.8 points per game (4th) vs. Los Angeles who scores 107.0 points per game (11th).
    • The Pelicans shoot 48.2 percent on the season (2nd) compared to the Lakers who shoot 45.8 percent from the field (17th).
    • The Lakers average 23.5 assists per game (9th) while the Pelicans average 26.3 assist per game (2nd).

    Projected Starting Rosters

    Lakers 

    Brandon Ingram (PG)

    Josh Hart (SG)

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SF)

    Julius Randle (PF)

    Brook Lopez (C)

    Pelicans

    Rajon Rondo (PG)

    Jrue Holiday (SG)

    E’Twaun Moore (SF)

    Anthony Davis (PF)

    Emeka Okafor (C)

    Injury Report

    Lakers

    Lonzo Ball (knee/MCL) – OUT

    Pelicans

    DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) – OUT

    DeAndre Liggins (thigh contusion) – DAY-TO-DAY

    Frank Jackson (foot) – OUT

    Rashad Vaughn (trade) – DAY-TO-DAY

    Broadcast Information

    Time: 5:00 PM PST, 8:00 EST

    Television: FOX SPORTS NEW ORLEANS, SPECSN/SPECD

    Radio: WRNO 99.5FM, 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES

Fantasy News

  • Darius Miller
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Darius Miller is unsure if he will be able to play in Orlando, as he continues to recover from a torn a ruptured right Achillies.

    Due to the lockdown, Miller has been unable to participate in any live-action, or else he would have played in 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 by now. At this point, it would be surprising for the Pelicans to risk his health by pushing for him to participate in the eight-game regular season.

    Source: Will Guillory on Twitter

  • JJ Redick
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans

    J.J. Redick has intentionally lost 10 pounds since the quarantine began.

    Redick's goal was to get back to his playing weight during his college days at Duke, and it's not a surprise that one of the most dedicated workers in the league was able to drop weight during the coronavirus pandemic. Redick's shooting will be sorely needed when the Pelicans try to chase down the Grizzlies for a playoff spot, but if he does not come out of the gates making an impact the Pelicans are likely to shift to another hot hand on their deep roster. Redick has only seen 26.4 minutes per game this season, and that is going to limit his impact to strictly 3-pointers (2.9 per game).

    Source: Daniel Sallerson on Twitter

  • Tyler Herro
    PG, Miami Heat

    Tyler Herro said the time off allowed his right ankle to fully recover.

    Herro returned to action just before the shutdown due to COVID-19. With the ankle back to 100 percent, he will face no restrictions when play picks back up in Orlando. While Herro's scoring prowess caused some increased expectations for his rookie season, he's largely been an afterthought for the Heat. He can clearly shoot the rock (2.1 treys on .391 shooting), but the rest of his game is lacking, and the Heat do not have time to devote to rookie development when the season resumes.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Kent Bazemore
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Kent Bazemore, who has been a welcomed presence since joining the Kings in January, reiterated that he'd like to stay with the team.

    Bazemore had a lot of opportunity before him when the Blazers were faltering due to injuries at the start of the season and he failed to take advantage. However, a change of scenery made a significant difference, as his field goal percentage leaped from .347 with the Blazers, to .426 with the Kings, and his scoring also increased from 7.9 points to 10.3 points per contest. He sounds locked in as the Kings prepare for the Orlando bubble, but a healthy Kings' roster could handicap his opportunity for playing time when things start back up.

    Source: James Ham on Twitter

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Shams Charania is reporting that Victor Oladipo will sit out the remainder of the Pacers' season.

    Oladipo decided to exercise caution as his quad tendon is still susceptible to a relapse, and the circumstances of the Orlando bubble are anything but predictable. It's a big hit to the Pacers chances when play resumes, but Oladipo should be close to 100 percent next year as he continues his rehab and seeks to further strengthen his quad tendon. This season was a flop as he only appeared in 13 games, but Oladipo should be looking to return fully recovered and seeking early-round value next year. The Pacers will continue leaning on their depth to fill the void, and Malcolm Brogdon will continue to be the lead guard running the show in Indiana.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Jimmy Butler
    SG, Miami Heat

    After a second member of the Heat tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the team practice facilities have been closed to all activities, with an exception for testing.

    Derrick Jones Jr. had tested positive earlier in the week, and it has not been reported who the latest player to test positive for the coronavirus is. This is a precautionary measure that many teams are undertaking as they prepare to shift operations to the Orlando bubble. The Heat will resume team activities there on July 8.

    Source: Ethan J Skolnick on Twitter

  • Gordon Hayward
    SF, Boston Celtics

    Both Gordon Hayward and Vincent Poirier plan to leave the NBA bubble in September, when their respective partners are set to give birth.

    Both are expected to be given permission to leave the bubble and will be able to return after a four-day quarantine. If the league's plans play out, September will be right in the thick of the playoffs, so it's unfortunate timing for the team even though it's the right decision for Hayward. It's something to keep in mind if you're planning to play fantasy games through the postseason.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    The Clippers closed their practice facility in a precautionary move after a member of their Orlando traveling party tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

    This seems like something that will continue to happen as we prepare to move teams into the Orlando bubble. We'll keep an eye on whether any specific player is infected and how that will impact the restart plans for this team.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, the NBA is close to signing off on a secondary bubble location in Chicago for the eight teams left out of the league resumption with a target date of September.

    They went on to say that this bubble would allow those eight teams who were not invited to Orlando to have an opportunity to have mini-training camps as well as games. It has been reported throughout the last few months that the teams that were not invited should have an opportunity to prepare for next season. Many of the teams who were not included would benefit greatly from additional practice time and game reps as most of these teams have young players who need to continue to develop their skills. There will still be a lot of logistics that need to be ironed out so this a situation to monitor as we learn more.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Marvin Bagley III
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    Marvin Bagley confirmed that he is "ready to go" for the NBA restart in Orlando after rehabbing from a left foot sprain.

    It was previously reported in early July that the Kings' training staff believed that Bagley would be available for game action soon and this report confirms that Bagley will in fact be available for the league resumption. Bagley has yet to live up to the hype of the second overall pick in 2018 as he has only been able to play in 75 out of a possible 146 games (51.3 percent). It is unclear what role Bagley will have in Orlando but it appears that his injury woes are behind him and we will learn more about his ability during the league resumption. Bagley's return would likely cut into the playing time of Nemanja Bjelica, Harry Giles, Jabari Parker and Harrison Barnes.

    Source: Sean Cunningham on Twitter