The 2015-16 National Basketball Association regular season tips off Tuesday with three games. Most fans will get their fix on Wednesday, when all but two of the league’s teams are in action.
It has been an interesting preseason to say the least, and there are plenty of big stars with big concerns heading into the regular season. Cleveland Cavaliers SF LeBron James (back) has been dealing with a wonky back, but he confirmed Monday that he is good to go for the opener in Chicago Tuesday night. Still, it was strange seeing LeBron slip into the middle of the first round in some Fantasy formats on draft day, as he was no longer the top pick, or the second pick, as in previous seasons.
We’ve grown accustomed to seeing Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose (eye) on the injury report in past years. The good news is that his knee appears to be sound. However, he suffered an orbital bone fracture in practice, and said recently he has still been dealing with blurred vision. While head coach Fred Hoiberg told CSNChicago.com he expects Rose to play in the opener Tuesday against LeBron and the Cavs, with three games in four days to kick off the season, it wouldn’t be shocking to see some sort of a minutes cap for Rose, and/or for the injury-plagued star to sit out a game in the first period. For Fantasy owners it is a conundrum you know all too well, but he should remain in the starting lineup and you just have to take the hit. If you drafted Rose you know what to expect, as it is always touch and go.
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES
Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto, Utah, Washington
TEAM WITH TWO GAMES
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: The Clips will get off to a quick start with a home-and-home on the schedule against the Kings, a team that plans to play an up-tempo game with likely very little detail on the defensive end. Fantasy owners of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and company will be smiling ear to ear after a successful Week 1.
INDIANA PACERS: Fantasy owners of Pacers’ players can expect a slow go in the opening week. It won’t be so bad initially Wednesday in Toronto, as the Raptors were one of the weakest defensive clubs in the East last season. However, home games against the Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz, the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked scoring defenses from a year ago, is not what you want to see if you have a Fantasy roster littered with Indiana players.
DFS BASKETBALL STACK TEAM OF THE DAY
TUESDAY – Golden State vs. New Orleans – The defending champs will get off to a quick start at home.
WEDNESDAY – L.A. Clippers at Sacramento – Clips will score plenty against defensively-challenged Kings.
THURSDAY – Atlanta at New York – Hawks face one of the weakest defenses in the Eastern Conference.
FRIDAY – Utah at Philadelphia – Philly will be a little improved, but still have a long way to go.
SATURDAY – L.A. Clippers vs. Sacramento – See Wednesday. Kings are a poor defensive club.
SUNDAY – Oklahoma City vs. Denver – Kevin Durant and company will push for 110 points in this one.
Were you worried about Los Angeles Lakers SG Kobe Bryant (leg) for the opener Wednesday against Minnesota? Don’t be. He was back for a full practice Sunday, and head coach Byron Scott told ESPN Los Angeles that Kobe was moving well.
Philadelphia 76ers PF Robert Covington (knee) should be reserved by Fantasy owners for at least the first two scoring periods, as he deals with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee. It’s terrible news for a guy who has the chance to play heavy minutes and be a double-double machine. The biggest beneficiary is likely to be PF Jerami Grant, and DFS players will want to look his way as a salary saver. Fs JaKarr Sampson and Hollis Thompson might also see extra run, but not enough to warrant consideration in standard Fantasy formats.
OTHERS NOTABLE INJURED PLAYERS (START OR SIT)
Arron Afflalo, G, New York (hamstring): SIT
Aron Baynes, C, Detroit (ankle): SIT
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G, Detroit (foot): START
Jordan Clarkson, C, L.A. Lakers (shoulder): START
Luol Deng, F, Miami (hip): START
Goran Dragic, G, Miami (illness): START
Jarrett Jack, G, Brooklyn (hamstring): SIT
O.J. Mayo, G, Milwaukee (hamstring): SIT
Elfrid Payton, G, Orlando (hamstring): SIT
Nik Stauskas, G, Philadelphia (leg): SIT
Rashad Vaughn, G, Milwaukee (shoulder): SIT
Atlanta Hawks SF Kent Bazemore is set to start at small forward Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, ahead of swingman Thabo Sefolosha for now. He is a solid option in leagues of 12 or more teams. This is a position battle that is not necessarily set in stone, and will be worth watching closely for a while.
In Charlotte, it appears P.J. Hairston will be the beneficiary of the season-ending surgery for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (shoulder), as the former Tar Heels standout looks to get the nod at the three, with swingman Nicolas Batum starting at shooting guard. Hairston is worth a look if available off of the waiver wire, but he is still a wait-and-see play and not a must-start Fantasy option.
Chicago Bulls F Nikola Mirotic will make the start at power forward Tuesday against Cleveland, and swingman Tony Snell gets the nod at the three. With PF/C Pau Gasol starting in the middle, this means C Joakim Noah will come off the bench. The latter still has plenty of Fantasy value, and you can expect 25-30 minutes, as he is one of the first players off the pine. Snell is a nice Fantasy addition, and he’ll be popular with the DFS crowd due to his starting role and low salary.
Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy confirmed PF Ersan Ilyasova will be the team’s starting power forward, with SF Marcus Morris starting at small forward. This information is not necessarily a surprise, but is comforting to Fantasy owners, particularly those in DFS leagues looking for a value.
Cleveland at Chicago (8:00pm TNT), New Orleans at Golden State (10:30pm TNT)
Chicago at Brooklyn (7:30pm WGN), San Antonio at Oklahoma City (8:00 pm ESPN), Minnesota at L.A. Lakers (10:30pm ESPN)
Atlanta at New York (8:00pm TNT), Dallas at L.A. Clippers (10:30pm TNT)
Miami at Cleveland (7:00pm ESPN), Golden State at Houston (9:30pm ESPN)
Golden State at New Orleans (7:30pm NBATV), Sacramento at L.A. Clippers (10:30pm NBATV)
Milwaukee at Toronto (6:00pm NBATV)