Preseason NBA 10/5/17

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.

We have only three games today and there has not been much news so far, with the exception of the Mavericks, so keep in mind that a lot of this is likely to change.

Guards

Dennis Smith, Jr. played 18 minutes for the Mavericks last night, an increase from the 12 that he played in the preseason opener.  He has looked good when he has been on the floor and it seems likely that he may see a boost in minutes tonight since he played 18 last night and players like Seth Curry and Wes Matthews (resting tonight) played in the mid-twenties.  In theory, it would make sense for Carlisle to limit Smith on the front end of the back-to-back and then give him more run on the back end when several other players are resting.  Though I have not seen a quote that verifies my thinking, I feel reasonably comfortable projecting Smith for at least a 22-25 minute workload tonight and he should be able to be very productive if he sees that much time on the floor- especially with increased usage as a result of Matthews, Barnes and Dirk all being sidelined.

Josh Richardson played 25 minutes in the preseason opener and, without comment from Erik Spoelstra, it seems reasonable to think that he will see a similar workload this evening.  Richardson is a great target against the Nets because the Nets play at a fast pace and are loose with the basketball.  Richardson is capable of piling up defensive stats to go along with whatever he provides on the offensive end and the pace and the Nets’ carelessness with the ball give Richardson plenty of upside.

Jonathan Isaac led the Magic with 29 minutes in their preseason opener and he was very effective as he poured in 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting.  He did not contribute much in the way of peripheral stats, which is a bit concerning since it is likely that the starters see more minutes tonight in their home opener and that could cut in to Isaac’s workload.  Still, even if he goes from 29 minutes to 22-24, he will be a fine value option on this short slate.

 

Forwards

Dwight Powell is expected to start for the Mavericks tonight and he is a boom-or-bust play who has shown that he is capable of providing plenty of fantasy production when he gets the opportunity but he is also capable of disappearing.  Powell played just over 420 minutes without Nowitzki, Noel or Barnes on the floor last season and he had a 21.9 percent usage rate and averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute.  He should see plenty of playing time tonight between the four and the five and makes for a very strong option despite our reluctance to click his name because of how many times he has burned us.

Caleb Swanigan looked GOOD in the opener against the Suns.  Now, the Suns can make nearly anyone look like a capable scorer but Swanigan showed confidence in his jump shot and was effective in different ways on the offensive end as he went 6 of 10 from the field and finished with 18 points.  He played 17 minutes in the opener and Stotts has not yet hinted at what he is planning to do with his rotation tonight.  Even if we projected Swanigan for 17-20 minutes, he is available at a cheap enough price tag that he still has plenty of upside.

 

Center

Jeff Withey is in play for the Mavericks with Nowitzki and Noel both sitting out tonight.  Withey was productive when he got minutes for Utah last season, averaging 0.92 DraftKings points per minute.  He has increased upside in this matchup because Elfrid Payton is a point guard who looks to attack the rim as opposed to shooting from the outside.  This increases the block opportunities for Withey who is very capable around the rim.  I have not seen any sort of hint at minutes yet from Carlisle, but with Noel and Dirk both out it appears that Withey will be needed as the Mavericks are much deeper in the backcourt than the frontcourt.