• There is one thing I can’t get around for the Pelicans: there are so many perimeter players, and therefore, so few perimeter minutes available.  The Pelicans are now down to 15 players with their recent moves and, barring any changes, will be carrying as many as nine perimeter guys who will be fighting for minutes.  A lot of these players are acquisitions from this summer, and minutes are of paramount importance to develop the younger pieces.

    So let’s start with what we “know,” or as close as we can be to knowing something about the rotation.

    Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, and JJ Redick are the three most impactful guards on the Pelicans roster.  Assuming 34, 32, and 28 minutes, respectively (I am trying to remain somewhat conservative), that already accounts for 94 minutes.  There are three perimeter positions, meaning that 48 * 3  – 94 = 50 perimeter minutes left.  And that doesn’t take into consideration any of the forwards on the roster.

    Brandon Ingram is clearly a top option here and he will be getting 30-plus minutes a night assuming he is healthy, but I am leaving him out of the “we know” above intentionally for now (spoiler alert).

    That leaves this list of perimeter players, in no order: Ingram, E’Twaun Moore, Darius Miller, Nickeil Alexander-SummerLeagueStar-Walker, Josh Hart, Frank Jackson and Kenrich Williams to fight for 50 minutes.  Clearly, this is a good problem to have, but it is nonetheless a problem.  If Ingram gets 30-plus minutes at a perimeter position, that leaves, at max, 20 minutes combined for the rest of these players if they are playing perimeter positions.

    The frontcourt is much more certain: Zion Williamson appears to be a starting four and he’ll get somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 minutes, depending on his shape and how much the Pelicans want to ease him into the toll of travel and major NBA minutes.  Derrick Favors will be shifted to his proper position of center and is likely to get in the neighborhood of 30 minutes as well.  96 minutes – the 60 allocated to them leaves 36 minutes up for grabs.  David Griffin said that Jaxson Hayes will have something resembling a redshirt year, so he looks to be on the outside looking in for minutes.

    This is where I think it becomes clear that the Pelicans are going to have to force perimeter players into sliding up to power forward.  I think the candidates are obvious: Miller, Williams and Ingram are the three guys who can get minutes here and open up the perimeter some, and I would argue that Miller/Williams are best suited playing the four in today’s NBA anyway.

    But how many minutes are going to be available will depend on how much the Pelicans can play Zion at center. If he is pigeonholed into playing the four, that would leave roughly only 16-18 minutes for these three guys.  That also doesn’t mention the possibility of Nicolo Melli, who – yeah, I’m not going to pretend that I know whether he’ll be a mainstay of the Pelicans lineup.

    Zion shifting up to center when Favors isn’t in gives perimeter guys the opening to shift up to four.  Ingram, Miller and Kenrich playing up front leaves Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Frank Jackson better chances of picking up minutes.

    Playing guys up a position on this team has its pros and cons.  You probably increase the team’s overall mobility, but lose some value in rim protection.   You probably add some shooting and some playmaking, but you also likely put more pressure on your team to rebound by committee.  When Lonzo is on the floor, this issue is mitigated since he rebounds like a small forward, and Zion and Favors are both excellent defensive rebounders.  But there are other lineups where rebounding could be an issue.

    Can Alexander-Walker dial back a little of the passing aggression and contribute meaningfully on this team as a rookie?  Can Frank Jackson convert more efficiently and create for his teammates better than he has in the past?  Does the team stop giving minutes to E’Twaun Moore in order to accommodate the younger players on their roster?

    These are questions that matter, because if the Pelicans want to invest top-to-bottom in their perimeter players this year, the bottom line is that a healthy version of the team is going to have to slide players up positions in order to create opportunities for them.

Fantasy News

  • Chandler Parsons
    SF, Atlanta Hawks

    Chandler Parsons (left knee soreness) and Evan Turner (left Achilles pain) are available to play on Friday night against the Pistons.

    If it weren't for the massive contract the Grizzlies awarded to Chandler Parsons three years ago, he'd be in China and we wouldn't have to blurb about him so frequently. Both he and Evan Turner are indeed members of a professional NBA team, but they are miles off the fantasy radar.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Chandler Hutchison
    SF, Chicago Bulls

    Chandler Hutchison (shin splints) has been upgraded to questionable for Friday's game against the Heat.

    Hutchison missed the last game and, even when he plays, he really has to strain to produce fantasy value. Shaq Harrison set the fantasy world alight by putting up a double-double with three steals and five assists, instantly becoming one of the most popular adds of the week. However, this is the Chicago Bulls, and once Hutchison is up to speed he should take up most of the small forward minutes vacated by Otto Porter. Shaq has been doing this for years as an elite steals streamer, but he has an expiration date. Hutchison is expired as a fantasy asset any time he steps on a basketball court. Ignore him.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Hamidou Diallo
    SG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Hamidou Diallo (left knee sprain) is listed as questionable vs. the Lakers on Friday night.

    Diallo missed the last three games. Prior to his knee sprain, he had been generating buzz as a player to watch on the OKC wings, a position that the Thunder haven't been able to fill in almost half a decade. Diallo is an excellent rebounder for his position and has upped his steal rate considerably this season, but his playing time has been limited by the presence of similarly young and unproven wings. If he manages to separate from the competition, he'll be worth an add.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Draymond Green
    PF, Golden State Warriors

    Draymond Green (sore right heel) is out on Friday against the Jazz.

    He'll be spared from having to square off against the defense of Rudy Gobert. Draymond Green has been ailed by injuries to his finger, his elbow and now his heel. At this rate, a catscratch could render him out indefinitely. Eric Paschall will soak up all of the minutes at his natural power forward position and, if we're being honestly, he's been outplaying Green at that spot all season. Those of you with Draymond Green on their rosters, you are in the unenviable position of both not being able to cut him or being able to get a respectable offer in return. Hold until either of those conditions change.

    Source: Logan Murdock on Twitter

  • Derrick White
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Derrick White (left foot soreness) will miss his second consecutive game Friday against the 76ers.

    There were rumors that White was dealing with an injury similar to last year's plantar fascia strain which kept him out for nearly a month. White has been underperforming, but it's solely an effect of Coach Popovich's wonky backcourt rotation and his misguided insistence on not playing him together with Dejounte Murray. Something's got to give in San Antonio with the Spurs sitting a 5-10 and lacking an identity on both sides of the ball. Should the Spurs trade away any major pieces, Derrick White stands as one of the players with the most to gain and, as such, should be on everyone's watch lists, if not rostered in standard leagues. Patty Mills looks in line to make another spot-start and is worth streaming consideration.

    Source: RJ Marquez on Twitter

  • Jeremy Lamb
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Jeremy Lamb (sprained left ankle) is questionable for Saturday's game vs. the Magic.

    Lamb previously mentioned that he participated fully in Thursday's practice and that he's expecting to be available for this game. Malcolm Brogdon is listed as doubtful, so Lamb should have his hands full if he returns on Saturday. If he makes his long-anticipated return, Justin Holiday will slide return to fantasy irrelevance while T.J. Warren's and Domantas Sabonis' usage will be spread out more evenly among the starters.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Malcolm Brogdon
    PG, Indiana Pacers

    Malcolm Brodgon, who has been deadling with back spasms,got some shots up after Friday's practice, but he is still being listed as questionable for Saturday's game against the Magic.

    Brogdon's missed the last two games, but he appears to be close to returning to practice, at least. In his absence, Aaron Holiday will be a popular streamer while Domantas Sabonis may inherit some additional ballhandling responsibilities in the post. Jeremy Lamb may return for this one, so he and T.J. Warren may absorb the bulk of Brogdon's vacated usage.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Joe Ingles
    SF, Utah Jazz

    Joe Ingles has been shooting 34 percent from the field with a 29 percent mark from three while losing minutes to Royce O'Neale.

    The source article here is basically a puff piece on Royce O'Neale, praising on his ability to impact the game without it showing up on the stat sheet. Weird flex, Salt Lake Tribune, but OK. Many in the fantasy community have been waiting for Ingles' percentages to correct, but this is a reminder that the reason he's ranked just 186 in 9-cat leagues is him shooting nearly three fewer shots per game and seeing his minutes and usage plummet this season. Better percentages won't fix the fact that he's a middling 32-year-old talent, averaging a three-year-low in minutes and garnering a microscopic 14% usage off the bench.

    Source: Salt Lake Tribune

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    Joel Embiid is expected to be available for the Friday and Saturday back-to-back set.

    When asked if he'd lobby to play in both Friday's game vs. the Spurs and Saturday's game vs. the Heat, Joel Embiid replied, "I am playing both." It's good to see that Embiid's maintenance plan doesn't necessarily count him out of B2B's this season, but that also has the added effect of rendering his availability a bit unpredictable. Fire up Embiid as a top 10 fantasy player this weekend, particularly tonight against a reeling Spurs squad. As usual, keep an eye on the injury report when deciding whether or not to deploy the Sixers' big man, particularly in weekly settings.

    Source: Bucks County Courier Times

  • Andre Drummond
    C, Detroit Pistons

    The Hornets are rumored to be interested in either trading for Andre Drummond or signing him outright in free agency, according to a Heavy.com report.

    The 26-year-old Drummond has a $28.7 million player option next season, which he is widely expected to turn down as he wants to explore alternatives as the top of the 2020 free agent class. The Hornets are said to have been interested in him since last year. Drummond, who has made unexpected statistical leaps the last two years after seeing his development stagnate initially, is averaging a career-high 18.6 points, 16.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game this season, while raising his once-odious FT% to the high 60s. Perhaps a change of scenery will unlock Drummond's potential as a distributor and focal point of the offense.

    Source: Heavy.com