• The Lakers (23-34) take on the Mavericks (18-40) on Friday night, their first game since the All-Star break. Los Angeles will look to exact some revenge for an embarrassing 130-123 defeat in Dallas, a loss that sent the Lakers into a three-game tailspin.

    Los Angeles will welcome back its starting point guard, No. 2 overall draft pick Lonzo Ball, who has been out of action since suffering a knee injury (MCL sprain) January 13. For the season he is averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 assists, 7.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks. The Lakers have missed his vision, unselfishness, and ability to affect the game on the defensive end with his size and length. He will have to influence the game in a short stint as he is expected to have a minutes limit — he will also miss Saturday’s game against the Kings due his ongoing recovery and the back-to-back scheduling.

    The Lakers have yet to win a game since their blockbuster trade deadline deal in which they shipped Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a 2018 first round draft pick.

    Thomas continues to work his way back into his 2017 MVP candidate shape after suffering a hip injury in the playoffs last year while competing for the Boston Celtics. He has had some success while in purple and gold but has also struggled at times, matching his 13 assists with 13 turnovers. His style of play is very different from Ball; he looks to score more and holds the ball for longer periods — perhaps the two will complement each other perfectly. The two were observed shooting 3-pointers together after practice this week as they prepared to take the court together for the first time.

    The Mavericks, who are tied for the second-worst record in the NBA, had a simply atrocious All-Star break with regard to news surrounding the franchise. A report came out describing a culture of sexual harassment, their owner Mark Cuban was fined 600k for openly admitting that the team will benefit from tanking the rest of the season and then to top it off, rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was mentioned in an article today as having accepted money from an agent while in college at North Carolina State.

    Stats and Observations

    • Dallas averages only 102.1 (26th) points per game for the season vs. 107.3 (11th) points per game for the Lakers. That didn’t stop the Mavericks from hanging 130 points on the Lakers in their most recent matchup, a disheartening loss for Los Angeles.
    • The Mavericks turn the ball over only 12.3 times per game (1st) compared to the Lakers who struggle in that department with 16.0 turnovers per game (29th).
    • Dallas is shooting only 44.6 percent from the field (24th) while the Lakers shoot 45.9 percent (15th). However, Los Angeles allowed the Mavericks to shoot 53.9 percent in their last encounter.
    • The Lakers generally dominate the paint, scoring 53.5 points per game (1st) and grabbing 46.2 rebounds per game (2nd). In the last matchup with Dallas they conceded 52 points in the paint and were outrebounded 47-44, this by a team that for the season averages 38.5 points per game in the paint (30th) and 40.6 rebounds per game (27th).

    Projected Starting Rosters

    Lakers

    Lonzo Ball (PG)

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)

    Brandon Ingram (SF)

    Julius Randle (PF)

    Brook Lopez (C)

    Mavericks

    J.J. Barea (PG)

    Dennis Smith Jr. (SG)

    Wesley Matthews (SF)

    Harrison Barnes (PF)

    Dirk Nowitzki (C)

    Injury Report

    Lakers

    Channing Frye (appendectomy) – OUT

    Mavericks

    Nerlens Noel (thumb) – OUT

    Seth Curry (leg) – OUT

    Dorian Finney-Smith (quad) – OUT

    Broadcast Information

    Time: 7:30 PM PST, 10:30 PM EST

    Television: SPECSN/SPECD, FSSW, NBA TV CANADA, ESPN

    Radio: 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES, ESPN 103.3 FM, 1270 AM (ESP)

Fantasy News

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Daryl Macon
    PG, Miami Heat

    The Heat have signed Daryl Macon.

    Macon getting picked up by another NBA squad after a solid Summer League campaign is not a shocker. If he were to crack the rotation he would post a nice assist rate, but it is unlikely Macon will be getting playing time unless something goes terribly wrong for the Heat this season.

    Source: NBA

  • Tahjere McCall
    F, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Tahjere McCall from their Summer League team.

    This is just a depth signing for the Hawks. He shouldn't see much court time on the NBA floor if he makes the main roster out of camp

    Source: Kevin Chouinard on Twitter

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Marc Stein is reporting that the Rockets will sign Thabo Sefolosha.

    Sefolosha was among the names at a recent mini camp, and he should make for a nice fit as a defensive stopper off the bench. The Rockets have a pretty thin group of reserves so we'd expect Sefolosha to be a regular rotation player, which puts him on the board as a steals specialist in deep leagues.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Tyler Zeller
    C, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets have signed C Tyler Zeller to the training camp roster on Thursday.

    Zeller played all of six games last season with the Hawks and Grizzlies. Zeller will try to latch on as a third-string C for the Nuggets' deep frontcourt. Zeller is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Chris Dempsey on Twitter

  • Luke Kennard
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey said that he is not sure if he will start Luke Kennard or have him run a lot of the second-team offense.

    In addition, Casey mentioned that Kennard dealt with some knee tendinitis earlier this summer. Kennard is likely competing with Bruce Brown Jr. for the starting two-guard spot. We'll see how the rotation starts to shape in the preseason, but both players will get minutes either way.

    Source: NBA

  • Blake Griffin
    PF, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey revealed that although the team's training staff is easing him into things, Blake Griffin (knee) is back on the court and playing.

    Coach Casey added that the team expects Griffin to be at 100% with "no lingering effects." It looks like Griffin is progressing nicely in his return and should be all systems go for the start of the season. With Griffin's extensive injury history, the team may manage him more this year. Coming off a career year, he's expected to be an early middle-round selection.

    Source: NBA

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Coach Nate McMillan said that Victor Oladipo (knee) probably wouldn't play on opening night.

    Videos have surfaced this summer of Oladipo doing on-court work, and by all accounts, he is progressing well. Coach McMillan said that Oladipo isn't playing live yet and it would seem he still has hurdles to climb. Even when Oladipo does return, he will likely be facing minute restrictions and frequent days off, at least initially. Jeremy Lamb figures to be the biggest beneficiary of Oladipo's absence.

    Source: NBA

  • Nikola Vucevic
    C, Orlando Magic

    In an interview Wednesday, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said he could see Nikola Vucevic improving across all areas of his game, and echoing his player's belief that he is in his prime.

    One of the areas Clifford thought Vucevic could improve upon was his 3-point shooting percentage, and also seemed to indicate that he could contonue to up his play on defense. He's unquestionably solidified himself as the anchor of this team, and the Magic as a whole are likely eyeing to improve upon their momentum as a rising young playoff team in an Eastern Conference that looks pretty weak after the top four to five teams. Expect Vucevic to produce safe second-round value this season.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Suns General Manager James Jones said in a recent interview that Deandre Ayton is capable of playing PF if needed.

    One could chalk this up to either Ayton continuing his development in becoming a more dynamic offensive player, or the Suns covering up for the lack of depth on their roster at PF. In reality it's likley a mix of both, and is a positive for Ayton's value heading into this season. If he does end up spending meaningful time at the four, it would not bode well for the value of Dario Saric, who is already barely going at the end of drafts in 9-cat leagues.

    Source: NBA.com