Preseason NBA 10/3/17
As a reminder, NBA news fluctuates greatly throughout the day. Use this article as a guide, but be sure to check in with me in slack and tune in to the Final Countdown with Fast Eddie Fear for updated thoughts throughout the day as more news becomes available and opinions change.
James Harden faces the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game with a nice 218 over/under in Vegas. Harden was a minutes monster in the preseason last year, playing 29 minutes in the Rockets’ opener against an international team and then 30 minutes in their first preseason game against an NBA opponent. We should see big minutes out of him again this preseason as the Rockets added Chris Paul in the offseason and they need to figure out how the hell two of the best point guards in the NBA are going to work alongside each other. This is good for us, as we can target one of the best players in the game and expect him to also have one of the highest workloads on the slate.
Chris Paul is a strong play for the same reasons as James Harden. We do not know exactly what to expect from him with his new team, but this game should be up-tempo and the ball should be in Paul’s hands plenty. His price tag has come down from where it was last season as well, so it is not like we are paying for Clippers’ level production out of Paul. He is also shooting guard eligible on DraftKings (along with Harden) so it is easier to fit him into our lineups.
Tim Hardaway, Jr., signed a big contract with the Knicks in the offseason and we should see him showcased a fair amount tonight. The Knicks played 4 of the 5 starts in last season’s preseason opener at least 22 minutes and they may have a relatively thin backcourt tonight with Ntilikina, Jack and Baker all questionable- and Baker trending toward doubtful. Regardless of who else suits up for the Knicks, we can expect a healthy workload for Hardaway and he is in a prime matchup against a young Brooklyn team that plays fast and does not play much defense. With no Carmelo Anthony around, Hardaway should join Porzingis as the primary scorers for the Knicks.
Kristaps Porzingis is free of Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose, which should be a huge boost to his production this season as he had a 28.0 percent usage rate without Anthony or Rose on the floor last season. Porzingis was one of the starters who played more than 22 minutes in last season’s preseason opener as Hornacek left him on the floor for 27 minutes. The offense will run through Porzingis this season and he should be very productive in this game against Brooklyn.
Marquese Chriss came off the bench and played 25 minutes in the Suns’ opener last season. He should see plenty of playing time again tonight. He has said that staying out of foul trouble and increasing his rebounding are his two primary focuses this season. We saw last year that he can produce monster fantasy games when he is able to stay on the floor, which makes him a fantastic GPP option.
Dragan Bender is a very intriguing option tonight and one of my favorite GPP value plays at any position. Bender played 24 minutes in the preseason opener for the Suns last season and coach Earl Watson is very excited about him this season. Watson has essentially told him to shoot every time that he touches the ball and to be aggressive in getting to the rim. He is in a great spot tonight and has a very nice ceiling for a minimum price tag. He should probably also see low ownership as people tend to flock to the players that they recognize from last season and/or the rookies from the most recent draft class in preseason.
Clint Capela has stated that he improved his conditioning so that he can play 28 minutes per game this season. While he may not see 28 minutes tonight, it does make sense for him to play a decent workload alongside Paul and Harden since so much of his game comes off of lobs from the point guard. It will benefit the Rockets to get him in sync with Harden and Paul as soon as possible. Center is pretty thin on this slate in terms of “true” centers (not forwards with center eligibility on DraftKings) and Capela is the one that I am the most confident in.
Other guys I like: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Ramon Sessions (if Knicks backcourt is thin), Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotic, Cheick Diallo, Raymond Felton, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Mo Harkless, Evan Turner, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic