Preseason NBA 10/4/17
As a reminder, NBA news changes 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.
Mario Chalmers is healthy again and has reportedly looked good in camp for the Grizzlies. He played 20 minutes in their opener against the Magic, scoring 19 points on 7-10 shooting with 2 assists and a rebound. While we do not expect him to regularly shoot 70 percent from the field and we would prefer he pick up more peripheral stats, he gets an increased opportunity tonight with Mike Conley sidelined. Chalmers is competing with Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin for two of the final roster spots, but Coach Fizdale has remarked that he thinks Chalmers will have a big role with the team this season. The absence of Conley not only provides extra minutes for Chalmers but, with Marc Gasol also missing this game, the two highest usage starters will both be absent. This means that Chalmers minutes are more likely to be productive. The Sixers are also a team that plays at a relatively fast pace so Fizdale’s goal of playing faster should be easily accomplished in this one which is good for all parties involved.
Ish Smith will get the start for the Pistons as Reggie Jackson will miss the game. Smith was very productive when he get the chance to play last season, averaging 22.6 DraftKings points in 24.6 minutes of play. It is the Pistons’ first preseason game so we do not know exactly what to expect, but Stan Van Gundy said that he expects to play 10 players significant minutes. We can assume that Smith is one of those 10 players since he is starting and back-up point guard Langston Galloway has limited experience running the point in Van Gundy’s system.
Will Barton gets a boost tonight with Gary Harris and Wilson Chandler both sidelined as the Nuggets play the Lakers once again. In their last game, Barton played 22 minutes while Harris played 21 and Chandler played 27. The absence of Harris and Chandler opens up a lot of minutes on the wing and Barton is capable of filling in at both positions. The great thing about Barton is that he is excellent in transition (and there should be plenty of transition opportunities in this game) and he is not afraid to be aggressive on offense. He took 12 shots in his 22 minutes last game and the fact that he only made 3 of them will just keep his ownership down somewhat tonight.
Ben Simmons finally makes his professional debut tonight against the Grizzlies. We will want to keep an eye out for how much Brett Brown expects Simmons to play but, from what I have seen, indications are that Brown plans on having a limited rotation tonight which would lead to healthy minutes for his starters. If that is the case, Simmons is incredibly valuable in DFS as he is a point guard that is listed as a small forward. Tony Allen is no longer on the Grizzlies which makes their defense less formidable. If they attempt to match up with Simmons’ size, it will likely require James Ennis or Chandler Parsons and Parsons is old and struggles to move at this point of his career. Simmons could have a very productive game in his NBA debut.
Kyle Kuzma has had two excellent preseason games now after impressing in Summer League. He played 29 minutes in the Lakers’ last game and Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are both questionable tonight which could open up more minutes and usage for Kuzma. The coaching staff has been very impressed with his play and they seem intent on letting him log plenty of minutes in the preseason. An added bonus is that he was only 16 percent owned on DraftKings in his last game (despite a monster first game) so it is possible that the public is overlooking him since he was the less publicized Lakers’ first-round pick.
Julius Randle played 23 minutes against the Nuggets in his last game and recorded a double-double as he scored 12 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. He plays very well in transition and can handle the ball, so games like this are a great matchup for him. If Lonzo Ball misses this game (I am currently guessing that he will), it could translate into a few extra assists for Randle as well. He will be popular but he is underpriced for this spot.
Bojan Bogdanovic is a sneaky value play. He showed once he joined the Wizards last season that he is a capable three-point shooter when he is a secondary option that is getting wide open looks. That is likely to be the case tonight against a Milwaukee team who’s defensive scheme aims to double team the ball-handler at the top of the key and force the ball out of his hands. This leads to open perimeter looks for long-range shooters, such as Bogdanovic. Pacers’ coach Nate McMillan stated that he plans to play a 10-man rotation tonight with the possibility that a couple of other guys see the floor. His focus seems to be on figuring out how all of the new pieces on his team are going to fit together. This means that Bogdanovic should see plenty of time on the floor and the matchup dictates that he will likely get plenty of quality three-point attempts.
Myles Turner is in an absolute smash spot against this Milwaukee frontcourt. He is a capable of stepping back and knocking down jumpers from the perimeter which, as mentioned before, is a hole in the Milwaukee defense. In addition, they struggled to rebound at times last year so we could see Turner clean up the glass as well. There are not many strong center options available tonight if we exclude forwards who are listed at center on multi-position sites. Turner stands out as an excellent option here with a secure workload and an excellent matchup.