August 23, 2019, 1:11 pm
When the Pelicans traded for Jrue Holiday, he was already an All-Star. Despite being only 22 years old, Jrue Holiday had already made an appearance in the All-Star game. Despite conjecture that Jrue was not worth the haul Dell Demps sent for him, it was undeniable that he was a player on the rise.
Fast forward to now and Jrue hasn’t had a single appearance in the All-Star game since joining the Pelicans. Some of this might have been poor injury luck, some of it might have been poor roster fits, and some of it might have been the fact that, as David Griffin pointed out, Jrue was always hidden behind more prominent names like Anthony Davis (and DeMarcus Cousins too). Now that Jrue is out of Davis’s tall but slight shadow, is this the year that he makes an All-Star game?
The Main Considerations
Despite knowing more about the value of non-elite usage guys, it is certainly true that All-Star appearances till tend to fall in the laps of guys who score a lot. For as much as we know about winning, great scoring is still at a premium, and anything close to resembling that tends to be rewarded in recognition.
The good news for Jrue is that this is the first year in a long time where he is the best player on his team. The gap between Holiday and the Pelicans’ second-best player (who I’d argue is Derrick Favors) is a substantial one this season, and he is going to get his looks. Without Anthony Davis on the floor last season, Jrue Holiday scored at clip of roughly 23 points per 36 minutes. I would expect him to be somewhere between 23-25 if he’s let loose as a scorer, and those are All-Star caliber numbers.
One of the more interesting discussions that I’ve had on Twitter in the NBA summer doldrums is what will happen to Jrue’s assist numbers. He’ll have the ball in his hands a lot, but how much he plays with Lonzo Ball will undoubtedly affect how many assist opportunities Holiday has. Last season, when Elfrid Payton was on the floor, Jrue averaged around 5.6 assists per 36, and when he was off the floor, 8.4. This is a substantial difference and reflects how different his statistics are when he plays with another initiator.
I’ve been of the opinion for a while that the team should start Jrue-JJ-Lonzo-Zion-Favors, and having Lonzo alongside him can help to ensure that Holiday is at his best, which is when he isn’t asked to make sure that everyone else is getting their shots and when he can focus on being a score-first player.
Holiday is also an awesome defender, which is widely known and could possibly help vault him over one-way guards he’s competing with. Team winning will also clearly play into this, so how the Pelicans perform will matter. But ultimately, Jrue is being handed the reins to the Pelicans team, and that is what matters the most. If Jrue can fall in the range of 20-25 points per game with 7-8 assists per game, which is certainly possible, this could be the year that he finally (deservedly) returns to the All-Star game.
September 22, 2019, 10:40 amLarry Nance Jr.PF, Cleveland Cavaliers
Larry Nance Jr. is the presumed favorite to start at PF heading into training camp according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
Fedor went on to speculate that Nance Jr. could see a lot of time at the four while Kevin Love starts at center and Tristan Thompson and John Henson compete for back up minutes behind those two. Any uptick in playing time would be a huge boost to the per-minute dynamo that Nance Jr is, and a starting role with a new coaching staff bodes well for that. He's trending in the right direction.
September 21, 2019, 9:45 pmKevin KnoxSF, New York Knicks
Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.
Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.
Source: New York Post
September 21, 2019, 5:13 pmBol BolC, Denver Nuggets
According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.
Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.
Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic
September 21, 2019, 9:21 amKawhi LeonardSF, Los Angeles Clippers
After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.
It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.
Source: Dan Woike on Twitter
September 21, 2019, 8:31 amMalik BeasleySG, Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.
The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.
Source: Denver Post
September 20, 2019, 8:49 pmOG AnunobySF, 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
September 20, 2019, 4:03 pmDaryl MaconPG, 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.
September 20, 2019, 1:10 pmTahjere McCallF, 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
September 20, 2019, 11:58 amThabo SefoloshaSF, 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
September 19, 2019, 3:22 pmTyler ZellerC, 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