Each NBA franchise participated in a handful of exhibition games designed to determine who will receive meaningful minutes when the games count, see which rookies have the moxie to handle the men they are trying to steal jobs from, figure out which two-way players will be relegated to the G-league, and ascertain whether preseason really deserves a hyphen or not. Coaches agonize over different rotations, who can play with who, what offensive sets might work, who is smart enough to make defensive decisions in the wink of an eye, and whose agent was lying when he said their player had been putting up 3,000 three pointers a day in an effort to improve their range. All this is done while those same coaches secretly plead in their inside brain, “Please God, don’t let anybody get hurt, sleep with another player’s girlfriend, or be swayed by their buddy from the 4th grade to think that they truly deserve 15 shots per game.” All of those could significantly change rotation plans, kill that elusive team chemistry, or generally cause chaos.

So after the past week of games, we are here to answer or try to answer the following questions:

  • What do we know?
  • What do we think?
  • What can we prove?

The answers to those questions will assist you in making the final preparations for your drafts, or help you assault the waiver wires to recover from the last three draft picks you made after the Coronas kicked in. Ever notice how the host of the draft is always saying, “Let me get you another beer, you look thirsty.”

Some questions still remain unresolved, like the Jimmy Butler saga. Where will he end up? What will the T-wolves get? How will fantasy rosters be affected? When does Thibs lose his job?

Question 1: Will Brad Stevens figure out a way to make sure all his Celtics get fed?

As great as he is, I don’t think Coach Stevens has figured out how to have more than one ball or five players on the court at the same time. Thus, expect numbers for all of them to be lower than expected. I shied away from all Celtics in my draft due to the uncertainty of not knowing how the minutes would be divvied up amongst Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hawyard, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Morris. They all got drafted, at slightly reduced costs, but expect Brad to play the hot hand, matchups, and rest some, as he hopes to have a full contingent come playoff time.

Question 2: How did Bobby Portis figure out how to hurt Lauri Markkanen’s elbow?

He enlisted a little known voodoo priestess from New Orleans. Having failed to get adequate playing time last year while facing competition from a sweet shooting European forward, Bobby took it to the streets last year and punched his lights out. Learning from the errors of his ways, and faced with bench time behind another sweet shooting Eurpoean forward, and possibly Jabari Parker, Bobby resorted to other means. He then scored double figures in each contest, hoping Coach Hoiberg would finally notice the offensive juggernaut that he is. What we have learned is, don’t mess with Bobby Portis, and that given minutes, he will score and rebound.

Question 3: Can this many rookies provide fantasy goodies?

After the most recent auction draft I participated in, all were amazed at how many rookies went for a high dollar amount. Usually, there are a couple due to the hype, opportunity, or positional need that are expected to be fantasy relevant. Most are usually not mentally or physically ready for the long grind of the season. That was thrown out the window this year, as all of the top 10 rookies got drafted, in addition to three other first rounders and two second rounders. And none of those were named Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Grayson Allen, Aaron Holiday, or Josh Okogie, who all could crack the rotations on their respective teams.

Deandre Ayton, Trae Young, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr., Collin Sexton, and Kevin Knox all look primed to start and play prominent roles, while Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., and both Bridges are making noise. Many others in the first round are an ankle tweak away from getting an opportunity. Of course, this may all change next week, especially for the big guys, as the veterans didn’t show them any old guy tips, tricks, and moves during preseason. Nonetheless, this will be the most productive rookie class we have seen in a while, as even some second rounders have shown promise. Observe who contributes and who waves towels from the bench, as the productive ones could shore up your weaknesses.

Question 4: Will Coach Mike Budenholzer improve the Bucks offensively?

The Bucks look awfully scary. Coaching does matter in the NBA. Not just the head coach, but the developmental assistants who convert cocky 19 year olds into productive participants by maximizing strengths and minimizing weaknesses. Budenholzer and his staff are very good, and quite frankly, the team now has much more talent than his 60-win Hawks team. Consider that the Bucks added long-range marksmen in Brook Lopez, Ersan Ilyasova, and Donte DiVincenzo to a team with Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, and you could see an offensive explosion. I targeted as many Bucks as I could and got outbid on all of them.

Question 5: Who will rebound and who will make the leap?

The keys to every fantasy season are figuring out the players who will rebound and those who make the proverbial leap. Are Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, and Gordon Hayward all the way back? What to do about DeMarcus Cousins? Will we see the April versions of Josh Jackson, Taurean Prince, and De’Aaron Fox, or the December ones?

Kawhi, Kyrie, and Hayward all look a little rusty, but will be fine. As mentioned earlier, Celtics scorers may have depressed numbers, so proceed with caution. Prince, Jackson, Fox, D’Angelo Russell, Josh Richardson, and Joe Ingles are all primed to continue their strong play from the second half of last season. Cousins is another story, as I don’t expect him to be ready before the turn of the year. When he does return, it will take time before he becomes a productive asset.

Lastly, watch Rodney McGruder, Harry Giles, Christian Wood, and Miles Bridges. They have all performed well during the preseason, but their minutes allocation will be determined by whether they can continue to produce.

  1. Craig Bozic

    Craig Bozic says:
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    Really strong stuff. Love it!

    • Hampton Kid says:
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      @Craig Bozic:

      Thanks, i am ready for the games to begin. A ton of interesting storylines in the Association this year.

      • Craig Bozic

        Craig Bozic says:
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        @Hampton Kid:

        I think to nit pick (and that’s all I’m doing, really enjoy your work) I think the morale of the story is to know your rookie class than to brandish all all classes into one. Last year’s was an exceptionally talented bunch, and it was expected that it would perform stronger than than previous years, this year is similar too (next two years though look top heavy and not deep). I always think knowing a rookies deficiencies (and whether that’s a product of college system or a lack of skill) is just as important as knowing the strengths too, as its this that’s likely to keep them off the court.

        ,great work though man, enjoying these reads

  2. Curious John says:
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    H2H league, you taking Harden or AD?

    • Hampton Kid says:
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      @Curious John:

      I think either is a great choice, it depends on your personal preference. If you take AD, you have to get some 3’s and assists down the line, if you take Harden, you have to get some FG%, blocks and rebounds with other picks. AD seems to have shaken the injury bug of his earlier years, but they can happen to anybody.

  3. DLOSSS says:
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    Good Read,

    What do you think im missing, i know im overboard on bigs especially since im in an 11 cat league.

    FG%, FT%, FTM, 3PT, 3PT%, points, rebs, assts, steals, blocks, TO

    Booker
    Rubio
    Wall
    eric gordon
    otto portor
    ariza
    tyreke evans
    DJ augustine
    josh richardson
    clint c
    drummond
    whiteside
    dedmon

    • Hampton Kid says:
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      @DLOSSS:

      I would not do anything just yet. Don’t know how you managed to get Whiteside, Clint and Drummond, but great job. I am a believer in Rubio, and DBook may become the defacto PG in Phoenix. He quietly improved his playmaking last year.

      Give it a few weeks and see. You may have to trade one of the shot blockers to get what you need, but you might have built up a good blocks cushion by then.

  4. Kevin says:
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    12 Team – H2H – 9cat – 1st pick – with one extra bench spot

    AD (1)
    Gobert (24)
    Middleton (25)
    Teague (48)
    Rubio (49)
    Valanciunus (72)
    Kyle Anderson (73)
    Ariza (96)
    Collison (97)
    Dinwiddie (120)
    Lamb (121)
    Hood (144)
    Miles Bridges (145)
    Harry Giles (168)

    Please rate my team. Thank you so much!!!

    A few weakness I’ve noticed on my team are scoring and 3s.
    Players I’m eyeing on the waive to drop hood/bridges/Giles for: Jeremy Lin, Deleon Wright, Alex Len, Dirk, Mitchell Robinson, WHG.

    • Hampton Kid says:
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      @Kevin:

      I might go with Len — JV may lose time at Toronto to a small ball five IBaka which leaves you only two rebounders, although I love the 2. You are right, your team does not have a flame thrower 3 point shooter, somebody who consistently gets over 2 a game. I would consider dropping Dinwiddie or Ariza, with DeLo healthy, and Shabazz Napier as a backup push the tempo PG, his minutes will be shortened. That way you can wait and see if Lamb, Hood or Bridges can become that 3 point flamethrower.

    • Mr. Blast says:
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      @Kevin:

      I’m currently deciding the same thing – If I should drop Giles for Robinson…

      Also, I have Hood and Lamb is available on the wire….

      What do you think ?

      • Hampton Kid says:
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        @Mr. Blast:

        I can’t really say not knowing what else you have, but I am higher on Giles.

        I am higher on Lamb than Hood but Tye Lue says Hood has really been great in camp, so i would keep Hood for now.

        • Kevin says:
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          @Hampton Kid: Thanks for the reply.

          Since I picked up AD, Gobert, and middleton for my first 3, do you think I’ve punted 3s, Points, and assists without realizing it?

          I feel like i should give it a game or two for Ariza and Rodney hood but will give a short leash on Harry giles and Miles Bridges for the next waiver add.

        • Kevin says:
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          @Hampton Kid:

          Hey,

          I took what you told me about scoring and 3s.
          I threw out a few trade offers to other teams. Not entirely sure if they’re worthwhile trades.

          1) Punt assists and trade away both my rubio and teague for Derozan and Mirotic? (maybe add in Dinwiddie?)

          2) Trade away Rubio and dinwiddie for Klay thompson.

          I appreciate the feedback!!

          • Hampton Kid

            Hampton Kid says:
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            @Kevin:

            Remember it is only opening night, let your team breathe a little bit. You drafted those players because you believed in them, so you might want to see how it plays out. There will be a few surprise assets to show up in the next few weeks. And some disappointments, that is what makes it fun.

            Good luck and have fun with it !

  5. Mr. Blast says:
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    Good read man.

    I play in a H2H – 13 cat – Deep league

    We use – FGM/FG%/FT%/3PTM/3PT%/PTS/OREB/DREB/REB/AST/STL/BLK/TO

    Here’s the squad – I picked 12th

    1. George
    2. Embiid
    3. Tobias
    4. Ayton
    5. Prince
    6. Dunn
    7. Saric
    8. Russell
    9. Tyreke
    10. Levert
    11. Poeltl
    12. Osman
    13. Hernangomez
    14. Hood
    15. Giles

    Available – Lamb / Robinson / Gibson / Lyles

    Anything stand out to you ? My gut tells me to swap Hood for Lamb & Giles for Robinson.

    But my gut also told me to draft Hood/Giles.

    I have until 10/17 to make this season altering decision & holding the #1 waiver claim since I drafted 12th.

    Thanks Hampton Kid!

    • Hampton Kid

      Hampton Kid says:
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      @Mr. Blast:

      The only real reason I see to swap Giles for Robinson is if you are really concerned about blocks. With Embiid, Ayton and Poeltl, I think you might be fine. The Hood vs Lamb choice is yours. You only have Dunn and Russell as PG’s, any decent options for a third one out there?
      You made some great choices. Good luck in your season.

      • Mr. Blast says:
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        @Hampton Kid:

        Thanks man.

        I may just sit tight and hold on to the #1 waiver claim for now, just to see if anyone good gets dropped.

        I’m intrigued by Robinson, but I am by Giles as well..

        And we do not know what Hood will be like, without LeBron in town.

        Enough to hold off on grabbing Lamb ?

        You’re right about being light on Point Gaurd. I do figure Tyreke and Levert will give me some slight, out of position (PG) stats.

        Available PGs on wire – Mills, Wright, Joseph, Hill, Ish, McConnell, Lin, T. Jones

  6. vuccimane says:
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    Who wins in a H2h 9 Cat?
    Love/Lowry or Draymond/M Gasol?

    • Hampton Kid says:
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      • Hampton Kid says:
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        @Hampton Kid:

        With Love/Lowry you get no blocks, and on the Draymond/Gasol side you get not as many threes, so it depends on what else you got.

        • vuccimane says:
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          @Hampton Kid:
          Thanks. So would Love for Green be fair just in terms of how you rank them for the rest of the season?

          • Hampton Kid

            Hampton Kid says:
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            @vuccimane:

            It is opening night so I would not do anything yet. Not sure how you your league works but I think when you use that #1 waiver, you want it to count.

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