• 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

  • Paul Millsap
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are all candidates for "load management" next season, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

    This is pure speculation by Kosmider, but this does hold some weight after the Nuggets' playoff run last season and the league-wide popularity of resting players. Millsap would seem to be at the most significant risk to get rested due to his age and quality of depth behind him. Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee would be the biggest beneficiaries should Jokic or Millsap miss time.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Utah Jazz

    Thabo Sefolosha is among the attendees at Rockets minicamp in Las Vegas with a host of other notable free agents this week.

    Sefolosha will be joined by the likes of Nick Young, Luc Mbah a Moute, Raymond Felton, Terrence Jones and Corey Brewer. The odds of someone making the Rockets' roster increased with Iman Shumpert declining an offer sheet from the team.

    Source: Kelly Iko on Twitter

  • Iman Shumpert
    SG, Free Agent

    Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, Iman Shumpert has decided to decline the contract offer from the Rockets and will not attend team minicamp in Las Vegas this week.

    It'll be back to the drawing board for Shumpert. It's unsure exactly where he'll end up now, or if he and the Rockets will come to a new agreement in the future. Shump can get steals and threes, but otherwise isn't much of a fantasy asset, unless he finds himself in an ideal situation.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    After an extraordinary summer of 2019, which saw a cavalcade of stars change teams, executives around the league expect that this year’s transaction wires will be dominated by the trade market.

    “We’ve been getting calls all summer,” one general manager said. “I think if you look at the market, there is going to be a very robust trade market this winter for a few reasons.” The big driver figures to be the open, empty crater that the 2020 free-agent class has become. Teams hoping to make significant changes in their direction won’t have free agency to lean on and trades will be the only way to go. If you enjoyed the twist and turns that came with the very busy NBA free-agency period this summer, then buckle up as the trade market means more could be on the way this season.

    Source: Sean Deveney on Twitter

  • Michael Beasley
    PF, Free Agent

    The Shanxi Loongs of the Chinese Basketball Association are trying to bring Michael Beasley back to China.

    Beasley agreed to terms with the Pistons last month but he never officially signed with them as the team opted to go with Joe Johnson instead. Beasley has already played in China with Shanghai, Shandong and last year with Guangdong averaging 22.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists.

    Source: Sportando

  • Justin Simon
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Former St. John’s guard Justin Simon has signed an Exhibit-10 contract with the Bulls.

    Simon is 6’5” and went undrafted out of St. John’s, where he averaged 10.4 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, while also being named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. The Bulls currently have 14 players on guaranteed contracts with guard Shaquille Harrison all but locked in to the 15th and final one, so that means Simon is likely headed to the Windy City Bulls of the G League.

    Source: Adam Zagora on Twitter

  • Mychal Mulder
    PG, Miami Heat

    The Heat have announced the signing of guard Mychal Mulder.

    Mulder played last season with the Windy City Bulls of the G-League and averaged 8.8 points in Summer League this year. He has good range but is unlikely to contribute much at the NBA level in 2019-20.

    Source: Miami Heat

  • Vincent Poirier
    C, Boston Celtics

    Nicolas Batum praised the play of Celtics center Vincent Poirier at the FIBA World Cup.

    According to Batum, Poirier "is a center that can block shots and control the paint." A native of France, Poirier has performed well over six seasons in Europe. Nevertheless, he should only be a depth option for the Celtics with Enes Kanter starting.

    Source: NBC Sports Boston

  • Zach LaVine
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Zach LaVine has been fine tuning his playmaking skills in the offseason, according to an interview with FanSided.

    LaVine enjoyed the best field goal percentage of his career for the Bulls last season. He also scored a career best 23.7 points per game. However, LaVine averaged 3.4 turnovers and his fantasy value will increase if he can take better care of the ball.

    Source: FanSided

  • Tyler Herro
    PG, Miami Heat

    According to Ira Winderman, rookie Tyler Herro is unlikely to start for the Heat at the beginning of the season.

    The Heat drafted Herro out of Kentucky with the 13th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. Dion Waiters should be the primary shooting guard at the outset. However, expect Herro to get plenty of opportunities to contribute.

    Source: Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel