• Stephen Curry

    Welcome, Hoop Ball readers to another edition of The Week Ahead!

    The past week in the NBA was full of bad injuries and scares that could have been a lot worse.  Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Trae Young, Myles Turner, Reggie Jackson and Zach Collins were the main players that suffered from the injury bug this week.  Aside from the injuries, there was a fight between Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid that ended in a two-game suspension for both players.  The NBA is easily more competitive this season than we have seen in quite some time.  However, it is starting to become more clear as to which teams are going to compete for the playoffs and which teams are going to miss the playoffs entirely. The Warriors have lost Steph Curry for three months, Klay Thompson for the season and Draymond Green is battling a finger injury.  It is safe to say that the Western Conference no longer belongs to Golden State.

    Here are my standings predictions:

    Eastern Conference

    1. 76ers (62-20)
    2. Bucks (56-26)
    3. Celtics (54-28)
    4. Heat (51-31)
    5. Raptors (49-33)
    6. Nets (46-36)
    7. Pacers (45-37)
    8. Pistons (43-39)


    Just Missed the Cut: Hawks (41-41), Magic (41-41)

    Worst Record: Wizards (16-66)

    Western Conference

    1. Clippers (63-19)
    2. Lakers (61-21)
    3. Denver (56-26)
    4. Jazz (54-28)
    5. Rockets (52-30)
    6. Mavs (49-33)
    7. Blazers (49-33)
    8. Spurs (48-34)


    Just Missed the Cut: Wolves (44-38)

    Worst Record: Warriors (18-64)

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    4 games: 76ers, Bucks, Grizzlies, Hawks, Hornets, Magic, Pacers, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Warriors, Wolves

    3 games: Bulls, Cavs, Celtics, Heat, Knicks, Lakers, Mavs, Nets, Nuggets, Pelicans, Pistons, Raptors, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Wizards

    2 games: Clippers, Jazz Kings

    Best Schedule: Mavs (Magic, Knicks, at Grizzlies)

    The Mavs have three games this week while some teams have four games, but their schedule is definitely the most beneficial for the value of their players in fantasy.  They play two home games against the Magic and Knicks, which are games that they should win.  Then, they go on the road to play the Grizzlies, which is another winnable game.  Luka Doncic has been putting up monster triple-doubles and Kristaps Porzingis is looking like his old self, so this is a scary team in the West.  Doncic, Porzingis, Delon Wright, and Seth Curry are worth starting for sure.  Maxi Kleber could also be worth starting if he is able to suit up.  This definitely looks like a promising week coming up for the Mavs.

    Worst Schedule: Clippers (Bucks, Trail Blazers)

    It is tough to ever say that the Clippers have the worst schedule since they are one of the best teams in the NBA, but this is just a horrendous week.  They only play two games, which makes them one of three teams that only play twice this week.  Aside from that, their only two games are on a back-to-back set.  Those two games are also against the Bucks and Trail Blazers, which are two playoff teams in their respective conferences.  Aside from the obvious starts like Kawhi Leonard and Montrezl Harrell, it is tough to start anyone with confidence heading into this week.

    Game of the Week: Bucks at Clippers on Wednesday at 10 PM ET

    The first game of the Clippers’ back-to-back set mentioned above is against the Bucks, which should be a great game.  The Bucks and Clippers are both seen as one of the two best teams in the respective conferences right now, so any time teams of that caliber match up it is bound to be a good matchup.  Kawhi Leonard against Giannis Antetokounmpo is an enjoyable matchup, so tune in on Wednesday night to see them square off.

    Waiver Wire Watch

    OG Anunoby– Anunoby was expected to start, but it has come as a surprise as to how truly dominant he is on the defensive end of the floor.  He is averaging 11.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.5 blocks per game on 55.6% shooting.  Those numbers are good for top-25 value, which is a bit too high to expect from him.  However, there is a real chance that he could put up top-50 value due to the defensive stats and well-rounded game he possesses.

    Brandon Clarke– Clarke is the only top-100 player on the Grizzlies’ roster and he is top-45, so it goes to show how valuable he has been this season already.  Clarke has a unique skill set and contributes to most categories.  He is averaging 11.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game on 57.8% shooting.  He will have a huge role with the Grizzlies despite playing behind Jaren Jackson Jr. as he is already averaging 23 minutes per game.  Clarke should put up top-80 value at the very least and is a must-own in standard formats going forward.  

    Aron Baynes– Since Deandre Ayton got suspended, Aron Baynes has taken over and played the best basketball of his career.  He is averaging 15 points and 5.8 rebounds on 57.4% shooting, which makes him a top-50 value.  He has also expanded his range as he is averaging 2 triples per game.  Baynes has never had a season quite like this, so it could be early to say that he is a must-own while Ayton is out, but it is definitely looking that way.  He has the potential to maintain top-50 value for the remainder of Ayton’s suspension, so pick him up if he is sitting on the wire in your league.  

    Injury Report 

    Steph Curry (broken left hand) will miss at least three months with a broken left hand.  With that timetable, he will be out until February.  The Warriors do not have a whole lot to compete for, so they do not need to rush him back.  Jordan Poole and D’Angelo Russell will likely see an increased role in his absence.

    Draymond Green (finger) will be out for the next few games and re-evaluated.  The Warriors do not have a whole lot to play for anymore, especially with Steph Curry out.  Eric Paschall should see an increase in minutes.

    Reggie Jackson (lower back) is out for the next four weeks due to a stress reaction in his lower back.  Derrick Rose will likely take over the point guard position upon his return and could be worth a pickup for the time that Jackson is out.

    Myles Turner (sprained right ankle) is considered week-to-week.  Check on his status throughout the week, but it is unlikely that he will suit up this week.  Domantas Sabonis is also shaken up, so TJ Leaf and Goga Bitadze could be in for some solid minutes.

    Zach Collins (dislocated left shoulder) will be out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated left shoulder.  Mario Hezonja and Anthony Tolliver will be the biggest candidate to absorb his minutes, but he is not worth picking up.

    Ed Davis (fractured left fibula) will be out for the next four weeks and re-evaluated at the end of that time.  He did not hold much value aside from a deep league rebounding specialist, so there is not much value to be replaced.  However, his minutes will go to Tony Bradley.

    Here is a list of guys who are day-to-day:

    Trae Young, John Collins, Jaylen Brown, Enes Kanter, Otto Porter Jr., Maxi Kleber, Will Barton, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, D’Angelo Russell, Russell Westbrook, Domantas Sabonis, Avery Bradley, Jaren Jackson Jr., Justise Winslow, Derrick Favors, Steven Adams, Rodney Hood, Hassan Whiteside

    Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.

    Thanks for reading this week’s edition of The Week Ahead!

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