Preseason in professional sports is basically the equivalent of writing a check to someone, and you have a closed bank account with zero dollars in it. It was good to watch the games on opening night because they had real implications. As the season moves forward it will become easier to figure out what is going on in the league.
The Core Four
Anthony Davis– Probably had his worst professional game last night against Golden State. He was starting to make some shots towards the end of that game also so a little bit or rhythm will roll into the next game. He also gets a great matchup against Portland who has nothing on the interior to slow Davis down.
Damian Lillard– Once again New Orleans has no guards to defend Lillard. He has the green light to basically try and lead the league in scoring.
Joffrey Lauvergne– I watch way too much basketball. This kid gets a lot of touches and is efficient around the rim. He gets rebounds and is the opening day starter for Denver. He has impressed me with his play and I think it is a crime he is this cheap.
Jahlil Okafor– The rookie gets a matchup with Boston who has tons of poor interior post defenders. Boston has good perimeter defenders and someone has to score for Philadelphia.
James Harden-Lawson coming over from Denver the offense will be opened up for Harden to get to the basket more with having to actually guard someone at the Point Guard Position for Houston.
Kyle Lowry-With all the weight he lost he will be poised to be able to handle the grind of the long NBA season. Lowry makes a good play today because it is unclear how good Indiana’s defense will be this year.
Terrence Jones- This was a omission at my first post, but this is clearly a top option to play tonight. No Count of Monte Cristo tonight along with No Dwight Howard. Jones absorbs the bulk of these minutes tonight.
Will Barton– No Wilson Chandler so Barton is the clear beneficiary here in a up tempo game against Houston. Barton is poised for a somewhat breakout season.
Nikola Mirotic– He was plagued by foul trouble against Cleveland but still had a good game. Brooklyn is trying to be the worst team in league (or something like that). Joakim Noah might not play as well so more minutes will be opened up for the post players.
Emmanual Mudiay– Somebody has to shoot the ball for Denver. Mudiay will have every chance to win rookie of the year. Playing Houston is always a good matchup for a point guard because they will be pushing the ball and accumulating stats at a quicker pace.
Otto Porter– He has full claim on the starting Small Forward spot for Washington now that Paul Pierce is in Los Angeles. He broke out in the playoffs last year and against Orlando he will be fine.
Chris Paul– Any chance to play Rondo lights up Paul’s eyes. At one point Paul and Rondo were the alpha dog point guards in the league and now Rondo has fallen off a cliff and Paul enjoys that. Doc is on the other sideline with Paul and I expect him to attack George Karls Kings.
Kentavious Caldwell Pope- Shot the ball extremely well against Atlanta last night. Utah has a good interior defense but it seems Caldwell Pope is going to get a high volume of the minutes at the Shooting Guard spot for Stan Van Gundy.
Andrew Wiggins– The Lakers perimeter players either are poor defenders or are named Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest who have lost a step in the quickness department. Wiggins is explosive and is the primary guy for Minnesota. The beginning of the season will have a cloud hanging over the team with the passing of Flip Saunders, but I think that gives this team some sort of spark. A great place to do that is at Staples Center because of the bright lights being on you.
CJ McCollum– McCollum is going to get up his shots. This guy is the remix to Ben Gordon back in the day with a little more facilitation. If he is making shots he will be a good fantasy asset.
Marcus Morris– Another person who played will last night. Tolliver might still be away with his new daughter that was just born so all forwards get a slight bump for another game.
Danilo Gallinari-Same thing with the other Denver players: Pace of game and lack of talent gives Danilo a chance to pile up some stats. This is someone I would not trust completely because he is still getting going from all his injuries.
Hollis Thompson– If you need a cheap Small Forward go with Thompson because of Robert Covington being hurt. Only reason to play him is that reason (and he shot the ball well in the preseason I guess if that counts.)
Eric Bledsoe– If Wes Matthews guards him like he should; Bledsoe’s explosiveness provides an interesting matchup. Wes is coming back off the Achilles injury and might not want to test Bledsoe on baseline drives. Best thing about Bledsoe is all it takes is one quarter for him to have a good day.
Eric Gordon– He really will be in play every day as long as New Orleans has no guards. One thing to watch for is isolation shots with Gordon. He needs to be flowing in transition and the half court game to really be worth something. Coach Gentry seemed to not like the awful shots he was taking against Golden State. Lucky for Gordon he has nobody to take his minutes at this moment.
Shane Larkin– Cheap Point Guard option since Jarrett Jack will not be playing. Larkin is not a NBA quality player according to Mike but I think he can be decent if you need the salary relief. We all know that Mike is right.
Kevin Durant– The matchup with Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard is not exactly what you want for someone you spend a ton of salary on.
Carmelo Anthony– Milwaukee will try and make somebody else beat them. Carmelo is way too expensive to even consider right now.
LaMarcus Aldridge– New role, New Usage, lower minutes. He should see a decline in basically every statistical counting category.
John Wall– The matchup with Payton says it all. Payton is one of the few NBA pests and will guard Wall full court and jam him around the top of the three-point arc. Scott Skiles is a no nonsense kind of coach and will make things tough for Wall (At least try to slow him down anyways)
D’Angelo Russell– Byron Scott has not even made it official Russell is the starter against Minnesota. Scott must not like his job very much.
Dwayne Wade– Slow boring game against Steve Clifford’s Hornets. It remains to be seen what kind of load Wade gets this year in terms of minutes so he is a stay away for the time being.
Kobe Bryant– Same thing as with Wade, we do not know how many minutes he will get and how much he will be able to contribute in other categories besides scoring.
Final Notes: I do not collaborate with Mike when writing this article every day. For all I know he could be leaning towards using everyone I say to fade. This article is intended to be another viewpoint. Always use the RotoMinds projections and Optimal Linueps as a primary source and use The Eye Test as another look on everything.