Preseason NBA 10/6/17
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.
Dennis Schroder played 25 minutes in the Hawks’ last game and he dominates usage with Dwight Howard and Tim Hardaway, Jr. playing elsewhere this season. He will face a Detroit team that does not defend the pick-and-roll well and Schroder should be able to take advantage. We do not have reports for how many minutes to expect from Atlanta starters tonight but Schroder is a fine play as long as he will play at least the 25 that he played against Cleveland.
Ish Smith played 31 minutes in his last game as Reggie Jackson missed the game and Stan Van Gundy looked to keep his rotations tighter than most teams have this season. Jackson has been ruled out of tonight’s game as well, which should open the door for Smith to see plenty of minutes again. Smith added a few steals to boost his stat line against Charlotte and he will face another ball dominant guard tonight in Schroder. While Schroder should score plenty of points against Smith, it does give Smith plenty of opportunities for defensive stats that add to his floor and ceiling.
Rajon Rondo did not come through in the Pelicans’ opener but that makes him an excellent bounce-back candidate tonight as he is more likely to go overlooked. Alvin Gentry played Rondo, Holiday, Cousins and Davis all at least 30 minutes after stating that his plan for the first two games was to play them 22-28 minutes. Rondo is the preferred play compared to Holiday because he is less scoring dependent. Rondo can provide a huge stat line even if Cousins and/or Davis have big games because he is such an adept passer and is a good rebounder.
Victor Oladipo played 24 minutes in his Pacers’ debut as Nate McMillan stated that he needs to get his main rotation players plenty of minutes in the preseason. With Paul George and Jeff Teague gone, there is plenty of usage available for Oladipo who put up 15 shots in his 24 minutes against Milwaukee. Tonight, he will face a Cleveland team that is likely to limit the minutes of their primary players again- meaning that Oladipo should spend some time on the floor opposite bench players. His price tag did not come up after his game against Milwaukee and he provides a very nice floor based on usage and minutes with the opportunity to outperform his salary significantly if his shot happens to be falling.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. had a very nice game against Brooklyn in his return to the Knicks. He gets another nice matchup tonight against the Wizards. Washington had an issue defending wing players, especially three-point shooters, last season and Hardaway should have the ball in his hands on the perimeter plenty- especially since Frank Ntilikina is sidelined tonight after playing 18 minutes in the opener. Hardaway managed 15 shots (11 from three) in 25 minutes against Brooklyn and it would not be surprising to see him get a couple extra minutes tonight as the Knicks backcourt is thin without Ntilikina and with Ron Baker doubtful to play.
Lance Stephenson played 25 minutes and dominated in the Pacers’ opener. Stephenson is a volatile player but he is capable of exploding when he gets minutes and feels like playing. Importantly, there is nobody on the Pacers’ second unit that demands usage so Stephenson is free to take the ball and jack up as many shots as he wants (14 in the opener). He is also very good at filling up a stat sheet (6 assists and 6 rebounds in the opener) which adds to his floor and ceiling. As long as McMillan continues to give him ample run with the second unit he will remain valuable.
Langston Galloway is a sneaky value option in tournaments. He is minimum-priced and eligible at point guard and shooting guard. He is the backup point guard for the Pistons with Jackson out. He played 22 minutes in the opener and it appears that about 17 of them were at point guard. He shot just 3 for 9 from the field in that game but he is capable of scoring in bunches when he gets going. He will probably go completely overlooked but there is value in 16-18 minimum-priced point guard minutes in the shooting guard slot that allows you to pay up elsewhere.
Carmelo Anthony is a very interesting play, especially where he is significantly cheaper than Paul George. Russell Westbrook may return to the lineup tonight, which would limit Anthony’s usage, but he is likely to be limited if he plays at all. Anthony played 20 minutes in the opener but there is a possibility that he sees more time as Billy Donovan had said going into that game that his starters would play the first half and then “he would see how they feel”. That does not sound like a coach who has a hard and fast rule about limiting his star’s playing time, especially since Paul George played 26 minutes. Furthermore, one of the biggest weaknesses for the Pelicans after they acquired DeMarcus Cousins was their inability to defend stretch fours. Anthony certainly fits that description. If Anthony can push 25 minutes in this game we could see a very nice line out of him, especially if Westbrook is out or limited.
T.J. Warren has a difficult, pace-down matchup against the Jazz but it is worth noting that he played 33 minutes in the opener against the Blazers (and was very productive). I have no idea why he played so much or what the plan is for tonight’s game, but Earl Watson was not shy about playing his starters healthy minutes last preseason and that appears to be the case again this year. That means that Warren does have tournament upside as 30+ minutes from a highly productive player in the preseason has value regardless of matchup. Keep in mind though that his ownership is likely to be much higher than it was against Portland as people chase those minutes and there is no guarantee that he plays the entire fourth quarter with the second unit this time.
Josh Jackson is an excellent bounce-back candidate tonight and is an opportunity to zig when everyone else zags. Jackson was about 25 percent owned in the opener while Warren was 8 percent. Warren played 33 minutes to Jackson’s 15. One of the best things about NBA DFS is that people blindly chase game logs without trying to figure out why things happened. Jackson had six turnovers in those 15 minutes which very easily could be the reason that Warren got a bunch of extra playing time over Jackson. The things that we liked about Jackson before the Portland game remain true tonight. He is the Suns’ first-round pick, he is capable of filling the stat sheet, and he can play multiple positions which makes it easy for Watson to keep him on the floor if he is playing well. The matchup is tough, of course, but Jackson was aggressive offensively against Portland (albeit ineffective) and he provides a very nice ceiling at a reasonable price point in tournaments.
Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins remain top options as Alvin Gentry wants to play his starters heavy minutes early in the preseason before resting them in the last game against Memphis because they play Memphis early in the regular season. Davis and Cousins are both expensive, but they are the two stars that we can feel comfortable in their minutes on this slate as Russell Westbrook may or may not play, John Wall is making his preseason debut and Jason Kidd has said that Giannis Antetokounmpo is unlikely to play more than 20 minutes. It is also possible that Steven Adams is limited after leaving early in his last game, which would weaken the Oklahoma City defense. Fire up Davis and/or Cousins in any format.
Al Horford is a very interesting play if Brad Stevens commits to giving his starters a bit more playing time tonight. He did not play them into the second half in their opener, but he announced that well before tip so keep an eye out. All of the scoring threats on this Boston offense open things up for Horford as he is not the primary focus of the defense and he is also a good passer. Add in a Philadelphia team that will be without Joel Embiid and will struggle to rebound and Horford should be in for a nice night if Stevens cooperates.
Aron Baynes is in a nice position with Marcus Morris out again. Baynes started and played 18 minutes in the opener. It remains to be seen if he will start again but he has always been a productive player on a per-minute basis for fantasy. If he sees 18-22 minutes against this Philadelphia frontcourt he should be able to nicely pay off his price tag while allowing you to save some money.
Rudy Gobert is a very interesting tournament play, although he is expensive. He played just 18 minutes in Utah’s last game but he played 29 in their opener. Looking at last season’s preseason rotations, Quin Snyder tended to play his starters healthy minutes in most games while limiting them to less than 20 minutes in a couple. This leads me to believe, unless we hear otherwise, that the starters minutes should be higher in this game than they were in the last one and more in line with the first game. If Gobert sees even 24 or 25 minutes against the Suns he could produce a MONSTER game. Not only is he an excellent rebounder playing in a pace-up game, but Phoenix is full of slashers who prefer attacking the rim over taking jump shots. This increases Gobert’s opportunities for blocks in addition to everything else that he brings to the table in a friendly matchup.
Boban played 12 minutes in the opener and will probably play a couple more minutes tonight if he can handle it with Andre Drummond sidelined. The beauty of Boban is that he averaged 1.42 DraftKings points per minute last season and that has been the story of his career. This guy does not need much playing time to do damage. He is not minimum-price, but he is cheap and he is capable of putting up 25-30 fantasy points if he plays 15 minutes. There is risk in rostering him since the minutes are going to be limited and it has been said that he is tired from Euroball but the upside is certainly there.