November 11, 2017, 12:13 pm
After falling to the Warriors on Wednesday night the T-Wolves are looking to get back on track versus a rebuilding Phoenix Suns team.
The Suns have lost five in a row, they’ve fired their head coach and they traded their best player only 13 games into the season. Eric Bledsoe hardly suited up for the Suns before demanding a trade over social media, then the team essentially barred Bledsoe from returning to the facilities (not that he wanted to be there anyway).
That basically sums up the uphill climb the team has had to face this early in the season. On top of dealing with all of the drama the team just isn’t all that good. They have a number of talented players, but they are young, raw and lack proper guidance at the moment (clearly).
Devin Booker leads the way in scoring at 22.3 points per game while only just turning 21 years old. He’s dead-eye shooter from deep, and his overall offensive game has improved year-to-year. It’s the rest of his game that stands to improve. He’s not the greatest play-maker and his defense leaves a lot to be desired.
T.J. Warren was born in the wrong era as a wing player that loves to slash, shoot the mid-range and avoid the three-point line. He’s very talented at what he does though and it makes for a nice combination with Booker. He’s only 24 years old.
Josh Jackson was the 4th-overall pick from the past draft and was seeing a lot of minutes under Earl Watson, but his playing time has become inconsistent since his firing.
Then up front Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender have loads of talent with length, athleticism and an ability to knock down long distance shots, but have plenty of rough spots that need to be worked out. Each player is 20-years old.
The idea for the Suns is these key pieces can somehow fit together into something special, and to get some production from some more unexpected sources like Tyler Ulis or Mike James.
Right now is not that time though. They have the talent to sneak up on teams, and they have the ability to outscore many teams, but they haven’t quite figured out how to put everything together that this juncture. With all the drama they’ve faced already, it’s looking to be a long road ahead.
– Jimmy Butler vs. Devin Booker
– Andrew Wiggins vs. T.J. Warren
The Phoenix Suns aren’t a particularly difficult team to guard. The big men set screens for Devin Booker on the perimeter and Booker gets in motion. James has the option to hit Booker, take it to the lane himself if there’s an opening or hit the big man popping out or back-cutting to the rim.
That’s basically their main offense. They run in transition whenever they get the chance because they don’t have much of an offense and their normally the most athletic team on the court.
The Wolves tend to prefer the slower, half-court game. If the Wolves are able to keep the Suns from scoring in transition, they should have a fairly easy time defending the half-court.
Butler will see time opposite of Booker in what could be a fun battle. Booker isn’t afraid to shoot from anywhere so Butler is going to have to keep close at all times, or communicate to his teammates when he can’t pick him up.
On the other end this could be a prime time for Jimmy Buckets to breakout once again. Booker doesn’t stand much of a chance defensively, Butler is stronger, bigger and arguably faster.
Jimmy has been mostly passive in looking for his shot to this moment, but said leading into this game he said that it could be time to become more aggressive on offense. That’s music to the ears of Wolves’ fans if Butler can add even more to this already thriving offense.
Wiggins taking on T.J. Warren will be like facing a lesser version of himself. Warren prefers to play off the dribble and driving to the rim. Wiggins has the athletic advantage but Warren is not like a player he’s had to face this season. He can’t give him to much space to gather a head of steam, but Wiggins needs to be careful not to leave his feet on the perimeter.
Cole Aldrich (ankle) – OUT
Gorgui Dieng (finger) – OUT
Justin Patton (foot) – OUT
Jared Dudley (knee) – OUT
Brandon Knight (knee) – OUT
Greg Monroe (calf) – OUT
Davon Reed (knee) – OUT
Alan Williams (knee) – OUT
Where to Watch:
9:00 ET/8:00 CT on Fox Sports North+
July 12, 2020, 1:43 amVictor OladipoSG, Indiana Pacers
Victor Oladipo played only 13 games in 2019-20 after 12-month absence.
Taking only the 13-game stint into consideration, Oladipo posted top 200/250 per-game value for 8/9 cat leagues which is a far cry from his top-10 performance in 2017-18 but is also completely unfair to judge on such a small sample after a long hiatus while recovering from injury. He flashed his tremendous upside in his last game of the season against the Celtics on March 10 with 27 points, five triples, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block while shooting 56.3 percent from the floor. He has ruled himself out of coming back for the restart this season and will turn his focus on trying to return next year stronger than ever.
July 12, 2020, 1:25 amT.J. McConnellPG, Indiana Pacers
T.J. McConnell posted 210/222 per-game value for 8/9-cat formats in 2019-20.
McConnell’s first year on the Pacers was similar to what he did the last few seasons for the Sixers from a stat perspective although this was the first time in his five-year career that he didn’t average at least one steal per game with only 0.7 this year. Since he plays less than 20 minutes per game on most nights, he is a deep-league option at best for teams desperate for assists with occasional DFS value when the team had players out due to injury.
July 12, 2020, 1:00 amJustin HolidaySG, Indiana Pacers
Justin Holiday put up top 150/110 per-game value in 8/9-cat formats in 2019-20 while providing top 90/60 total value due to not missing any games.
Holiday is on his eighth different NBA roster in only his sixth season but has remained fantasy relevant in each of the last three seasons.
He played 31-plus minutes in each of the last two seasons with a sub-39.0 field goal percentage being his biggest deterrent. It seems he has fixed that this season with a career-best 44.0 field goal percentage and although playing only 24.9 minute per game, continues to be a cheap source for triples and steal s. With Jeremy Lamb out to start next year, perhaps Holiday can stick around for more than one season.
July 12, 2020, 12:36 amJeremy LambSG, Indiana Pacers
Jeremy Lamb was unable to build off his impressive 2018-19 campaign and posted top 110/95 per-game value in 8/9-cat formats in 2019-20.
Lamb was hot and cold all season where he would be lights out one night and invisible the next. Maybe he had trouble adjusting to his new team but he also had trouble staying healthy, having to miss 11 games due to various ailments even before tearing his ACL in March. He is expected to miss a good chunk of next season so even though the 28 year old has plenty of time to get his career back on track, he can be ignored in next year's redraft leagues come draft time.
July 12, 2020, 12:20 amMalcolm BrogdonPG, Indiana Pacers
Malcolm Brogdon put up top-75/85 per-game value in 8/9-cat formats in an injury riddled season.
Brogdon signed a big contract in the offseason and flashed some serious potential with his new team, posting career-highs of 16.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. His field goal percentage took a big dip however going from 50.6 percent the prior season to 43.9 percent this year. It may be because of the increased responsibility on offense or maybe it was because he could never really get into a rhythm with all the injuries. Brogdon played in 74 percent for the team's games so far this season and had to miss consecutive games on five separate occasions with various back, hip, groin and hamstring injuries. One hopes the injuries aren't all interconnected and he can get back to full health to continue his upward trajectory.
July 12, 2020, 12:00 amDomantas SabonisC, Indiana Pacers
Domantas Sabonis took his game to another level in 2019-20, registering an across the board improvement, allowing him to emerge as the Pacers' best player in fantasy as a top-50 player in 8/9-cat per game value and a top-30 player in total value in both formats.
Sabonis proved that his promising game was legit and took it up several notches. He was a double-double machine, recording averages of 18.5 PPG, 12.4 RPG and 5.0 APG on .541 shooting from the field. The second-year big man proved to be an amazing facilitator in the post with his five dimes per night. It is worth noting, however, that he made this jump while Victor Oladipo was injured for most of the season and Malcolm Brogdon dealt with a myriad of injuries.
July 11, 2020, 11:57 pmMyles TurnerC, Indiana Pacers
Myles Turner took a step backwards in the 2019-20 season fantasy-wise with top-70/60 per-game value in 8/9-cat formats.
Although Turner missed about two weeks early in the season with an ankle injury, he remained relatively healthy after that. His fantasy production did not meet expectations a season after he put up top-30 value and led the league in shot-blocking. With several new scorers on the team and the emergence of Domantas Sabonis, Turner's usage went down and so did his stats across the board. The only improvement was making 1.4 triples per game compared to 1.0 the prior season but this caused his field goal percentage to dip from 48.7 percent to 45.1. The construct of the team should stay intact for next season so Turner may no longer be a viable third round option.
July 11, 2020, 11:44 pmTJ WarrenSF, Indiana Pacers
T.J. Warren emerged as the Pacers' leading scorer with 18.7 points per game in 2019-20 and his efficient shooting from the field and the line allowed him to finish in the top-75 in both 8 and 9-cat scoring formats.
With Victor Oladipo off to a late and slow start to the season as he recovered from injury, Warren took the lead and along with Domantas Sabonis bore the brunt of the scoring load for the Pacers. Warren's 18.7 PPG came on .529 shooting from the field and .812 from the line. He also put up averages of 1.1 treys, 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 32.5 minutes per game. Warren was also able to stay mostly healthy, allowing him to appear in 61 games.
July 11, 2020, 11:08 pmAaron HolidayPG, Indiana Pacers
Aaron Holiday was called on to step up when the Pacers dealt with injuries to Malcolm Brogdon, allowing him to deliver value ranked 207th in 8-cat and 210 in 9-cat per-game value.
The second-year guard made some solid strides in 2019-20, even stepping up and into the Pacers' starting lineup. In January, Holiday showed promise as he went on a nine-game streak where he scored in double digits, including a 25-point career-high explosion against the Pelicans. In 23.6 minutes per game, Holiday averaged 9.4 points, 1.4 threes, 2.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
July 11, 2020, 10:03 pmDoug McDermottSF, Indiana Pacers
Pacers sharpshooter Doug McDermott shot his way to top-250 value in 9-cat in 2019-20, recording averages 10.4 points, 1.9 threes and 2.5 rebounds on .491 shooting from the field and .827 shooting from the line in 20 minutes per game through 62 games.
McDermott, who has pretty much defined himself as a true one-trick pony across his four-year NBA career. Thanks to the solid play of Justin Holiday off the bench, McDermott was not able to produce a reliable splash, both in real-life and fantasy.