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Tonight’s slate features five games on DraftKings and six games on FanDuel. For some reason, DraftKings has chosen not to include the Pistons/Hornets game.
Note: As news emerges, this article will continue to be updated throughout the day, with newsworthy tweets attached as necessary
DET @ CHA
Pistons: Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris and Luke Kennard
Horneets: Nicolas Batum, Cody Martin, Marvin Williams and Terry Rozier out
The Pistons played last night and Andre Drummond (DET), Blake Griffin (DET) and Markieff Morris (DET) all sat which led to a big Christian Wood (DET) game. Those who started played minutes into the mid-20s and that is likely the plan tonight for the guys who sat yesterday. Drummond has played at least 20 minutes in every preseason game this year and Griffin played 26 minutes his last time out as well.
UPDATE: Andre Drummond is certainly viable with the names out. No Rose opens up some additional minutes for Reggie Jackson.
Five separate Hornets have averaged over 23.0 minutes per game (MPG) this preseason: Terry Rozier (CHA), Dwayne Bacon (CHA), P.J. Washington (CHA), Devonte’ Graham (CHA) and Miles Bridges (CHA). Rozier leads the team in scoring (15.3 PPG) and assists (38.4-percent assist rate) while Bridges leads the team in minutes. The team has showed a commitment to developing the chemistry with their youngsters so their top five assets remain steady targets.
UPDATE: Rozier will sit as well.
ATL @ NY
Hawks: Allen Crabbe, Kevin Huerter and Chandler Parsons out
Knicks: Reggie Bullock, Kenny Wooten and Amir Hinton out
Trae Young (ATL) continues to look like a per-minute monster in the preseason and is looking like a player who could take his game to the next level this season. In three preseason games, Young has averaged 26.0 minutes per game (MPG), 16.7 points per game (PPG) with 1.3 three-pointers made per game (3PG), 6.7 assists per game (APG), 5.3 rebounds per game (RPG) and 1.0 steals per game (SPG) which are massive numbers especially for exhibition games. One Knicks beat writer speculated Frank Ntilikina (NYK) could play extensive minutes guarding Young but that should not scare you off him. If there is any sort of funnel effect with the offense, John Collins (ATL) would seem primed to benefit, and he is still cheap relative to his production from a season ago. Alex Len (ATL) is priced near the minimum in a tough matchup versus an Mitch Robinson (NYK) but he is the true starter at the position with Dewayne Dedmon (SAC) shipped out of town. Also, rookie De’Andre Hunter (ATL) ranks second on the team in minutes thus far as the team continues to attempt to get an extended look at him.
The Knicks are a bit of a mess with Kevin Knox (NYK) and Ntilikina back but R.J. Barrett (NYK) has played massive minutes this preseason: 39 and 35 minutes respectively in the two games. No team played at a faster pace than the Hawks last season and no team allowed more fantasy points to the point guard (PG) position. Yesterday, the team announced Barrett would play some PG this season, which only enhances the matchup here if he is asked to be the primary ball-handler at any point. Bobby Portis (NYK) and Kevin Knox (NYK) rank second and third in the league in minutes per game this preseason with Julius Randle (NYK) tied for fifth. Those who have played for this team have been relied upon for heavy minutes (Elfrid Payton (NYK) and Marcus Morris (NYK) both averaging over 25.0 MPG as well) and surprisingly one of those players has not been Mitchell Robinson (NYK). Starters will be important here but the youngsters seem like the safest bets in a fast-paced environment (224.0-point over/under is highest of the slate).
UPDATE: Bobby Portis starting for Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina expected to see “significant” minutes despite Dennis Smith Jr. starting. Take that with a grain of salt.
SA @ HOU
Spurs: DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay out
Rockets: Gerald Green, Michael Frazier, Nene Hilario and Ray Spalding out
Who knows with Gregg Popovich? It would not be surprising to see late inactives for this team. No player has averaged over 21.0 MPG in the preseason which makes the preseason version of this team just about as frustrating as the regular season Spurs. The team has just two preseason games left and DeMar DeRozan (SA) played 29-plus minutes in each of his final two preseason games last year. Also, LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) played 30, so it could be time for the Spurs to tighten up the rotation…or it could be more trolling? Again, who knows?
UPDATE: DeRozan and Gay are out. Not sure this changes much.
James Harden (HOU) is confirmed still a monster as he leads the NBA in assists (10.0) and assist rate (62.5-percent) this preseason while averaging nearly 26.0 PPG in 26.0 MPG. Historically, Coach Mike D’Antoni has not been one to take it easy in the preseason and Russell Westbrook (HOU) has only played 20 and 24 minutes in his two games following offseason knee surgery. Like the Spurs, the Rockets have two remaining preseason games, so this may not be the tune-up game. However, Westbrook is a monster per-minute, and as long as he is starting, he should play enough minutes to make a difference. Westbrook took 17 shots in 24 minutes against the Raptors en route to a 22-4-3 line with three steals (STL) his last time out. Other Rockets minutes have been a bit tougher to project but Clint Capela (HOU) is likely the only other safe investment on the team due to sparce competition at the center position (Tyson Chandler (HOU) is really the only other guy).
MEM @ OKC
Grizzlies: Andre Iguodala, Josh Jackson, De’Anthony Melton, Jonas Valanciunas, Ja Morant, Jae Crowder and Brandon Clarke out
Thunder: Chris Paul, Hamidou Diallo and Andre Roberson out
Brandon Clarke (MEM) went from minimum-priced his last time out on DraftKings to $6,300 this time out following a 16 point, 12 rebound and three assist smash in 20 minutes versus the Hornets. To those who are unfamiliar, Clarke was the 21st pick of this year’s NBA Draft and he is starting in the frountcourt in the absence of Jonas Valanciunas (MEM). Clarke remains priced at $4,300 on FanDuel and he is actually still viable at his expensive price point on DraftKings (although he is probably a superior tournament investment). Jaren Jackson Jr. (MEM) continues to be priced around the minimum on DraftKings after fouls held him back (fouled out in just 20 minutes) a few days ago. This is a crazy low price for a guy who should be $7,000 in no time in the regular season. Ja Morant (MEM) is the exciting young rookie here and the Thunder played at the sixth fastest pace a season ago. This version of the Grizzlies should play faster as well so the game environment should be conducive to his production; the minutes would be the only thing that could hold him back at $5,200. Grayson Allen (MEM) started last game as well (played 24 minutes) and he also is priced near the minimum on DraftKings ($4,200).
UPDATE: Clarke, Crowder and Morant have been ruled out. This makes Jaren Jackson Jr. (MEM) an even stronger play and now Tyus Jones (MEM) will likely see extended minutes at point guard with Ivan Rabb (MEM) seeing the same in the frontcourt. Bruno Cabocolo (MEM) leads the team in minutes already and it would not be surprising if he approached 30 in this game (although he did not play in the team’s last game). All remaining Grizzlies are cheap and should see an uptick in minutes so the starting lineup will be important here. Jackson Jr. is still my favorite here with Jones, Rabb, Cabocolo and Kyle Anderson (MEM) all viable.
The Thunder’s plan is unclear here but it seems likely Chris Paul (OKC) and Steven Adams (OKC) return to the rotation. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC) has been a monster this preseason but that is partially due to the tighter rotation that had been run with multiple players out in games past. Barring injuries, this is a tough team to handicap, especially with Gilgeous-Alexander’s price having gotten out of control ($6,100 on DraftKings).
UPDATE: Chris Paul has been ruled out. This means more minutes/usage for Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder.
POR @ UTA
Trail Blazers: Pau Gasol, Nassir Little and Jusuf Nurkic out
Jazz: Dante Exum out
Damian Lillard (POR) has not historically played big minutes in the preseason but he did play 29 minutes in his final preseason game last year. This is the front end of a back-to-back set for the Trail Blazers who play again tomorrow so it would not be surprising for tomorrow to be the team’s dress rehearsal game. Anfernee Simons (POR) and Zach Collins (POR) lead the team in minutes per game this preseason and it would not be surprising to see this team rule multiple players out in the near future due to the back-to-back set. Simons seems relatively safe here regardless of news but it is doubtful the starters would play big minutes on both ends of this back-to-back set.
UPDATE: Oregonian reporter Joe Freeman reports the Trail Blazers will treat this game as a dress rehearsal. Well, that changes things, as now all the starters make a ton of sense, beginning with Damian Lillard (POR), C.J. McCollum (POR) and Hassan Whiteside (POR). Now, the Collins price is likely too high and Simons is out of consideration. This news moves the Trail Blazers up to amongst the highest priorities of the night. Oh, and Rodney Hood is just $4,100 on DraftKings, so if he is starting, fire him up.
As for the Jazz, this is their final preseason game of the year. Hopefully beat writers confirm this is a true dress rehearsal game at some point because that would make all the rotation players extremely viable beginning with the obvious four: Mike Conley (UTA), Donovan Mitchell (UTA), Rudy Gobert (UTA) and Bojan Bogdanovic (UTA). Guys like Jeff Green (UTA), Royce O’Neale (UTA) and Joe Ingles (UTA) are certainly part of the rotation as well but the main four all played 25-plus minutes against the Kings. Bogdanovic’s price is the juiciest of the bunch ($5,000) but a Jazz stack is not out of the question (especially in tournaments).
GS @ LAL
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Omari Spellman, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney out
Lakers: Kyle Kuzma, DeMarcus Cousins and Troy Daniels out
No Stephen Curry (GS) opens up additional usage for the remaining Warriors beginning with D’Angelo Russell (GS). Coach Steve Kerr said Curry would play around 30 minutes in one of the team’s two games in Staples Center prior to last game and would sit the other. Presumably, the plan is the same for Russell who sat out the last game and will likely be featured tonight. Draymond Green (GS) also sat out last games which means he should be a go in this one and Kerr will likely want to see him play extended minutes tonight as well. The team remains thin in the frontcourt with Cauley-Stein and Cousins out so Marquese Chriss (GS) should continue to see big minutes with the starters.
UPDATE: With Omari Spellman ruled out, Marquese Chriss looks like a lock for big minutes. Eric Paschall is the other big with the possibility to see extended run.
On the Lakers side of the ball, Anthony Davis’ (LAL) status is still undetermined, and it is impossible to discuss this team at length without knowing his status. Dwight Howard (LAL) and JaVale McGee (LAL) appear to be splitting the center minutes nearly down the middle and either could break a slate if they get hot.
UPDATE: Anthony Davis will play but is coming off an injury so his minute allotment is undetermined.
Top spends on the slate: James Harden, Russell Westbrook, D’Angelo Russell, Trail Blazers mainstays (Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Hassan Whiteside) and Trae Young
Top value plays: Miles Bridges/P.J. Washington (FD), R.J. Barrett, Rodney Hood, Alex Len, Jaren Jackson Jr., Tyus Jones and Eric Paschall
GPP preferred, high upside tournament options: Draymond Green/Marquese Chriss, Bruno Cabocolo/Kyle Anderson/Ivan Raab (depending on starters/news) and Lakers centers