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Razzball nation, It’s time!!

After going cold turkey for what feels like ages, hoops is back, and what a great feeling it is. The arrival of the basketball season also marked the start of a new era in the Bozic household with the arrival of a new baby girl; and despite being a tall and heavy baby, we decided to hold off on naming the baby Bismack Bozic for gender’s sake.

So three days into the new season (and overreaction territory) and we have already seen some significant action. The Lakers started with a bang in the Luke Walton era by beating the Rockets in their opener. Myles Turner took off in an overtime win against the Mavericks to the tune of 30 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 steals. Roy Hibbert still might have something in the tank with the Byron Scott disaster behind him (although exited last night with a sore knee), and oh, surprise surprise Kawhi Leonard is very good.

But you’re not here reading this for me to tell you that a first round talent is very good, so let us venture into those ‘way too early to overreact’ rookie performances from the first few days of the season:

Wade Baldwin IV, Guard, Memphis Grizzlies: 

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It is starting to feel like a common theme – me singing the praises of Wade Baldwin IV. It is no secret of my love for the combo guard after my aggressive rookie ranking of 8 back in August, and his season debut did nothing to dampen the spirits. The Grizzlies might not have had ‘Trick or Treat’ Tony Allen available for the game on Wednesday night, but Baldwin sure as hell made sure he wasn’t missed. In what turned out to be a comeback win for the Grizzlies (after falling to a 19-1 deficit during the 1st quarter) the first round pick did his best Tony Allen impression putting up 3 blocks and 3 steals as well as chipping in with 6 assists and going 1-2 from downtown.  I have stated all along that I believe the Vanderbilt star and Mike Conley can co-exist, especially in the new uptempo offense, and Wednesday’s game went a step further to prove that. Most encouragingly of all though was the 63 minutes combined for both rookie guards (Baldwin and Aaron  Harrison) giving belief that even with the return of Tony Allen, there are minutes to be had (especially given how much Baldwin IV outperformed the starting Harrison). New uptempo offense, fantasy friendly skill set and an impressive debut performance… there is a lot to like about the 20 year old Wade Baldwin IV.

Marquese Chriss/Dragan Bender, Forward, Phoenix Suns:Image result for chris and bender suns

Wow…what a way for the Croatian sensation to enter the NBA. It may have been garbage time before getting the nod, but what a way to introduce yourself by draining 10 quickfire points in just 12 minutes, 12 minutes that included 2 treys and a steal (on 4-5 shooting). The journey ahead is going to be long, and there is still a lot to learn for the 18 year old power forward who learned his trade as a point guard.  But those of you that invested a draft pick in dynasty leagues must have been pleased by this outburst, which got rewarded by picking up 7 minutes off the bench in a close loss to the Thunder Friday night. Bender clearly is looking ahead of schedule in his projected NBA development, and the Suns seem fully committed to getting their newly drafted players NBA court time.

After an eyebrow-raising pre-season, Marquese Chriss seems to have solidified his place in the Suns rotation, and through two games, has seen 33 minutes of action. Through those 33 minutes the 19-year-old former Huskies forward has accumulated 14 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block and has dynasty league owners drooling over his long term fantasy friendly game. The downside thus far has been the 5 turnovers and 6 personal fouls committed through that stretch, although a trait very common for young rookies adjusting to the NBA system. A run of strong performances could eventually spell the end for PJ Tucker’s time in the desert, and that can only spell good things for the fantasy outlook of the 19 year Chriss’s second half of the season and beyond. The Suns went out on a limb drafting long-term upside whom they knew would take time to develop, but so far so good for Marquese Chriss.

Pascal Siakam, Forward,  Toronto Raptors:Image result for pascal siakam

The 2-3 month timeline released this week on Jared Sullinger‘s return must have seemed like a devastating blow to Raptor fans (and of course myself after his selection for ‘value pick’ in the staff selection), but bought opportunity to one of the new kids on the block, Paskal Siakam. Now the stat lines through his first two games do not ring out as all that impressive (averaging only 4 points per game, 6 rebounds and steal through 18.5 minutes), but the confidence shown in the 22-year-old first round draft pick from Dwayne Casey speaks volumes, especially given the fact that his first two assignments in the starting rotation came against Tobias Harris and LeBron James. The athletic Siakam did a fine job playing off the ball in both games at the defensive end, and performances like this spell wonders for Siakam remaining in the rotation beyond Sullinger’s return. There is still work to be done on the offensive end for the former New Mexico state star before fantasy significance is reached, but it is important to remember that in college last season,  Siakam was a double-double machine averaging 20.2 rebounds and 11.6 rebounds on 53.8% shooting. Siakam’s dynasty value is definitely rising, but with Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan and the fast starting Jonas Valanciunas dominating offensive touches, it will be a while before we see any significant contributions on the offensive end from the talented and versatile forward.

Also:

  • Kris Dunn had an encouraging performance in his NBA debut after a lackluster preseason, putting up 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal through 15 minutes. The real takeaway from this performance was improved shooting, hitting 4 of 6 shots. Dunn has considerable talent, and the first twenty games of restricted minutes might afford you opportunity for a buy low opportunity from owners who expected more significant minutes out of the gate.
  • After logging 24 minutes in the Lakers surprise opening game victory over the Rockets, Brandon Ingram found himself reduced to just 4 minutes Friday night against the Utah Jazz due to an ongoing knee injury. In the game against the Rockets, Ingram contributed 9 points on 4-6 shooting (1-2 from downtown) with 3 rebounds. Another long term project, Ingram will take time to develop, but has the potential to be a significant second half contributor for the Lakers, especially if given the chance to exceed 20 minutes per game.
  • Buddy Hield has had his struggles in the early season, and if you have read previous articles of mine, you would know that I was not a fan of his entering the season. The lack of variety to his game has left him found wanting through the first two games of the season putting up just 6 points from 3-14 shooting. I am sure there is going to be some shooting hot streaks through the season given the nature of his game, but Hield is a headache I am leaving for other owners to deal with as  just don’t have the confidence he has the skill set to effectively adjust to the NBA level.

Be sure to tune in next Saturday for more news and updates on player development from the NBA, D-League and Europe.

You can find me on Twitter  @storytelling41

  1. I am the Walrus says:
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    I need to drop one….Kid-Gill, Barton, T.Warren.

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @I am the Walrus: I know he went off last night for 30 points but it is TJ Warren for me. Outside the occasional scoring outburst the stats will be pretty hollow and with Booker given the green light to shoot Warren is the 4th scoring option in PHX at best. Despite the injury risk MKD offers great defensive stats upside from the SF position if he can just stay healthy.

  2. Scott says:
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    Omri Casspi or Wesley Johnson in a dynasty?

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Scott: Wesley Johnson for me because I prefer triple the 1 threat of a block, steal abd trey per game, but would ultimately explore other options with more upside.

      • Scott says:
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        @Craig: should i ask for Lauvergne or Harkless?

        • Craig Bozic

          Craig says:
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          @Scott: of the two I prefer Harkless. Harkless has more variety to his game as well as opportunity. With Sabonis eating up 15 minutes a night in the starting unit allowing Kanter to gain a higher usage rate in the 2nd unit it appears Joffrey is the odd man out in the Thunder frontcourt.

  3. Scott says:
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    Drop either David West or Andrew Nicholson for Siakam in a dynasty?

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Scott: the days of David West having any real fantasy value are now gone, i would rather have Siakam myself. But any move for Siakam has to be treated with patience as he won’t be getting many plays in the offense anytime soon. If its redraft there is probably much better options out there. In the long term I am all over Siakam faster than a tramp on chips.

  4. Brett says:
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    I tried like crazy to trade TJ Warren in the offseason with no luck and with what I was asking for a I think I dodged a bullet there! Wade Baldwin just moved his name on to the untouchables list in my Dyansty leagues as well I fear.

    Bismack Bozic might be a definite boy name but I think Pascal Bozic is gender neutral enough to pull off. Talk to the Mrs. about it.

    Nice job as always!

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Brett: appreciate the kind words as ever Brett. I agree the shop window in Baldwin will be closing, but I also think there may not be a better time to trade TJ Warren after going off last night. With PJ Tucker being eased back into the rotation slowly now might just be the time to capitalise on Warren’s hot not and big playing time.

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Brett: pascal Bozic….. Hmmm, actually has a nice ring to it.

  5. JC says:
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    What up Craig!

    Nice write up and analysis, looking forward to the next one!

    Do you mind giving a quick take on these guys based only if you see a big upside or not?

    J Rich
    Seth Curry
    JaMychal
    J Hamilton

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @JC: got to say I am done with J-Rich these days. I know he has been a popular late end grab because of the lack of firepower in Miami but I don’t trust the health, and he isn’t the same player he was years ago. Seth Curry is intriguing, and had always lacked opportunity but until I see a consistent run I won’t be racing to pick him up, especially given the depth in the backcourt with experienced (although often injured) options. Hamilton is intriguing, but I just don’t trust any stability in that rotation. Jamychal Green is the guy I would want from the bunch., especially given the new uptempo offense.

  6. Quintero says:
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    Hey Craig,
    Great article. Much appreciate.

    14team 9cat h2h redraft daily, with PG/SG/SF/PF/C/U/U/U and four benche spots. I shuffled Hield and Noah into Krorver and Hibbert. Should I pick up Dunn with this Rubio news?

    John Wall Was – PG
    Wesley Matthews Dal – SG,SF
    LeBron James Cle – SF,PF
    Andre Drummond Det – PF,C
    DeAndre Jordan LAC – C
    Chandler Parsons Mem – SF,PF
    Elfrid Payton Orl – PG
    Emmanuel Mudiay Den – PG
    Bench
    JaMychal Green Mem – PF
    Clint Capela Hou – PF,C
    Kyle Korver Atl – SG,SF
    Roy Hibbert Cha – C

    Thanks mate!

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Quintero: without any shadow of a doubt, and with Roy Hibbert suffering injury seems you have an easy swap on your roster. I was trying to hold out till the 15 game mark before picking up done, but with Rubio’s sprained elbow it seems like a no brainer to jump early if you can suffer a few shooting woes, which it seems your team can with some high FG% bigs, not that I think Dunn takes enough shots to really damage in this department.

  7. stumlu says:
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    Hello

    10 team 8cat roto:

    I am in some serious need of blocks (and steals) would you trade Ryan Anderson for Marcin Gortat?

    Team:
    PG: Curry, Dragic, Deron Wiliams
    SG: Lavine, Winslow
    SF: PG13, Thad Young
    PF:Lamarcus, Randle, Jokic, Ryan Anderson
    C: Robin Lopez, Nurkic,

    Tnx For the help!

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @stumlu: given the nature of squad I would think that a good move. Your team has treys covered so can afford the loss of Ryno. Gortat also an excellent free throw shooter too abd with the Wizards living off the pick and roll Fortat is as safe as houses. For the record I am also a fan of Ryno’s stretching the floor in a D’Antoni system, but given the nature if your team Gortat looks like the better fit.

  8. Looseal says:
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    Bunch of guys left our fantasy league in recent years (marriage, work, bad personality) and we’re now in a 4-team re-draft points league using only U-25 players. (Must be 25 on the first day of the season)

    I had an awful draft and am looking at rookies on the waiver wire. Currently have MKG, Winslow, Elfrid, and Mudiay as guys whom I’d consider dropping/streaming. Are any of those guys above (esp. Baldwin, Chriss, Bender, Ingram) have potential to outperform the four guys currently on my team in the second half of the season?

    *Note that I play in a points league, so having a balanced statline isn’t necessary, though I love guys who can bring some AST, STL, BLK to the table if they have a bad shooting night.

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Looseal: stick with the guys you have for now. Bender is still only 18 abd a long way from being ready. The suns seem committed to playing time for the young guns, but Chriss is the guy you want, certainly in redraft as he seems ahead of the curve, especially if PJ Tucker gets traded. Ingram could potentially have some nice value second half if he finds his range,and Baldwin too if Conley fails to stay healthy again. But for me you stand pay for the now and be ready to pounce if/when Conley goes down, PJ Ticker gets traded or if MKD fails to stay healthy.

      Interesting concept by the way, good to see you guys found a way to keep your league interesting despite life moving forward for others.

      • Looseal says:
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        @Craig:

        Cool, thanks Craig! I’m a sucker for long-range-y types—part of the reason why draft went so poorly was because of my irrational love for Giannis—so agree with you esp. on Chriss and maybe Ingram as most likely to generate value this season. Just not sure how many 4/13 shooting nights I can put up with from Mudiay, Payton, and MKG…I’m usually god at avoiding major bricklayers.

        Looking forward to more of these dynasty columns!

  9. Looseal says:
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    Oh, and the U-25 approach is quite a hoot. Still wish we had a proper league, but this is a nice diversion and a reason to watch different teams on League Pass. U-25 talent this year is a bit thin, may kick around a “U-25 and O-35” idea for next year.

  10. Bulldogs2016 says:
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    RHJ and Stanley Johnson. It’s ‘s only one week in but it’s been a distatorous start for the pair of them. I’m losing faith, I need a sign Craig. 🙂

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Bulldogs2016: Easy to over react early, but given the lack of quality veteran depth RHJ should turn it around, and if you drafted him then it is surely for the contributions in steals and blocks from the SG position and not his shooting, Keep the faith!!

      Love the long term upside for Stanley Johnson but fear this still a year too early, I am fully expecting the 3rd year breakout next year though, so if you have him in a dynasty format I am for sure keeping hold of him through the season, and still only an injury away from fantasy relevance in standard leagues.

      In redraft i have no issues dropping either, if you want to ride the hot hand

      Slow starts yes, but never overreact to week 1.

      • @Craig:

        Yeah I’m a Dynasty guy so those 2 were long term prospects. What worries me on Stanley is there does not seem like a role for him. On offence he just parks behind the line and waits for the kick out. Defensively he seems to have improved so that’s a positive.

        I’m trying to keep the faith but if I shoot blanks on both these guys it’s going to hurt me for years to come. I’ve learnt to be patient so I’m playing the long, hard not to worry though.

  11. Wen says:
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    Hi Craig, got a trade question and need your advice. I proposed a trade for Gorgui Dieng and that person countered offer Gorgui Dieng for my Brook Lopez + Gordon Hayward. Would you take it? Or should I ask for Gorgui Dieng + T.J. Warren ? Thanks for the help.

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Wen: I could well end up being a TJ Warren apologist, but i just do not see this lasting. I myself am a big fan of Haywards and with his return just around the corner this is not a move i would make. Brook Lopez might not be the sexiest name in fantasy baseball, but he does a lot of things right to help win matchups or put positive numbers across the board in roto leagues.

      I am a Twolves fan myself and love Dieng, but there just doesn’t really seem to be much value to be had at that price for the fantasy owner for my liking, and would want a much safer option than TJ Warren to give up Brook and Hayward for Dieng.

  12. Ben says:
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    Hi Craig, I am generally terrible at all things fantasy sports related so articles like these really help! I am sure I will screw it up though somehow and miss the playoffs by one spot. Oh well! GO CUBS GO!!! And Utah Jazz rule!

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Ben: Is this finally the year for the young talent in Utah deliver on the promise now some veteran leadership has been bought in and that they can offer a threat from beyond the arc?. With one of the deepest benches in the NBA looks like it could be a promising year for the Jazz.

      Good luck to the Cubbies, as an Astros fan i am still reeling against that loss last year in the playoffs against the Royals when the game looked all but wrapped up in the 8th. The rollercoaster that is post season baseball

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