Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
- Just like last season, we’re going to spend a lot of wasted energy trying to guess correctly which of the Bucks’ pupu platter of wings will be the most reliable source of fantasy goodness, especially with star swingman Khris Middleton (and also Pat Connaughton) on the shelf to begin the year. Jevon Carter replaced Middleton as a starter—not sure if that was purely match up with Tyrese Maxey on the other end or if that will stick. But it was Grayson Allen (16 percent rostered in Yahoo! leagues) who garnered the most minutes of the motley crew with 32, also leading them all with 10 field goal attempts, five free throw attempts, 12 points, four assists, and a pair of triples. Allen established himself as a fairly consistent source of points and triples at the beginning of last season, and should carry that momentum forward. Milwaukee also seemed surprisingly comfortable letting Allen create a little off of DHO actions, and the four helpers are a welcome boost to his value if he can keep that up.
- Even coming off the bench full-time, Bobby Portis will hold value as it seems like the Bucks will trot out a rotation of three bigs (Serge Ibaka played just four ineffective minutes). Portis double-doubled in 23 minutes with 11 points and 10 boards.
- Doc Rivers employed a very short rotation on Thursday, essentially playing just seven guys, so there’s not much value to mine in Philly. De’Anthony Melton doesn’t need a ton of time to stuff the stat sheet. He hasn’t done it yet (nine points, one three, one steal last night), but as long as he consistently gets 20-plus minutes, I’d hold for the time being (61 percent rostered).
- Since it appears Doc will ride his starters hard, P.J. Tucker (nine percent rostered) deserves some consideration in deep leagues as a guy who won’t hurt you anywhere, but can help a bit on the margins with threes, defense and boards. He contributed five rebounds, a triple, two steals, and a swat against the Bucks.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- What a mess! The stupid deep Clippers mixed in 11 different guys, playing eight of them between 10 and 25 minutes. WTF are we supposed to do with that Ty Lue??!?!!?! Reggie Jackson and John Wall basically split PG (that’s point guard, not Paul George) minutes evenly between them, so good luck predicting which (if any) of them will be worth playing any given day. This game it happened to be the former All Star Wall—who actually led all Clippers with 15 shots—scoring 15 points, handing out three assists, and picking up a steal in 25 minutes of action. He’s rostered in 80 percent of leagues, which is probably too many, but he didn’t offer any reasons to cut him after last night. Still given the way the minutes pie was sliced up, I have reservations about him, Jackson (23 minutes, 47 percent rostered), Robert Covington (14 minutes, 60 percent rostered), and Norman Powell (22 minutes, 66 percent rostered). Let’s see how this rotation shakes out over the next few games.
- Lonnie Walker IV taking 21 shots is a bad sign for the Lakers, but a good sign for fantasy managers. The young gunner will get plenty of burn on a team this bereft of actual NBA talent, as he garnered his second straight start and played 37 minutes. We know Walker can score (26 points and a tidy 6-of-6 at the line), but he’s displayed decent court vision as well, notching three assists last night agaisnt just one turnover. He’s also athletic enough to accumulate some steals, and added to of them to his haul. He needs to be rostered in more than 12 percent of leagues.
- This is a deep cut, but just keep an eye on Damian Jones. He got a DNP in the opener and only saw seven minutes on Thursday, but Anthony Davis could miss some action after a hard fall had him hobbling in the second half, and also because…you know…he’s Anthony Davis. Anyways, the Lakers need at least some semblance of rim protection and rebounding, and Jones could provide that for 20-25 minutes a night if Davis is out.
- Listen, I’m not saying you should outright cut Russell Westbrook—but if you felt an urge to deal him for the worst player on a rival roster, I don’t even think I could stop you. Just kidding, of course. But also kind of not…