• Hey everyone! I’m the new guy here at Hoop Ball. Moving forward, I’ll be taking care of your fantasy basketball needs with the Thursday’s Daily Dish.

    Boy, this 10-game slate was a doozy, but I’ve got ya covered. Some unfortunate injuries occurred to some key fantasy assets tonight, but hopefully they are nothing too serious. We also have the debuts of two recently traded guys, Ersan Ilyasova and Jerami Grant.

    Philadelphia 76ers 93,  Charlotte Hornets 109: Ersan finds a new home

    Charlotte’s backcourt duo of Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum bombarded Philly into submission from the outside and pretty much from everywhere on the court.Walker finished the night with 22 points on some efficient shooting, making 7-of-14 shots from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the line. He also knocked down two treys and handed out seven assists. Batum caught fire from downtown, nailing 4-of-9 shots from deep, en route to his 20 points. Both guards did turn the ball over four times each.

    With Roy Hibbert still out, Cody Zeller started at center and contributed 13 points and one block. Frank Kaminsky was the better big.with 14 points, five rebounds and two triples. Expect a three-man rotation between these three guys moving forward, so the timeshare situation should be a headache for managers wanting some stability in their lineups.

    Ah, the 76ers. As far as fantasy basketball is concerned, they are best described in the wise words of the great, albeit fictional philosopher, Forrest Gump, “like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”

    We got our first look at newly acquired Ersan Ilyasova (trade with OKC Thunder). He scored 14 points and hit two treys 23 minutes of action. While the production can be considered mediocre in general, it is an upgrade compared to his lackluster numbers back with the Thunder. Does this make him worth a pick-up? In deep leagues, maybe. In standard leagues, definitely not. Historically speaking, Ilyasova has struggled with consistency and changes in scenery (teams) have done little to address said affliction. He’ll come up with a solid game, you pick him up off the FA pool, only for him to string together three awful games after that. Best to stay away from him.

    Sergio Rodriguez continues to be the PG to own in Philly. He scored 10 points, dished out five dimes, sank three treys, and even managed a rare blocked shot.

    Jahlil Okafor logged 24 minutes and even started the second half over Richaun Holmes (12 mins). Okafor scored 12 points and grabbed five boards. Dario Saric struggled with his shot (5-of-13 from the field), but still put up a serviceable stat line with 14 points, seven rebounds,     and two triples. He will have his off days as he continues his NBA transition, but thanks to his experience playing abroad, Saric should steadily improve as the season progresses and is worth a stash in standard leagues.

    Toronto Raptors 113, Washington Wizards 103: Fully “Otto-matic”

    John Wall posted a monster double-double performance with 33 points, 11 assists, and three steals; but it still was not enough to carry the Wizards to their first win. The fact that he was just one turnover short an ugly kind of triple-double (9 TOs), probably played a role in the loss. Marcin Gortat, dropped his own double-double with 15 points and 10 boards. He also added two blocks and a steal, much to his owners’ delight. Markieff Morris cooled off in this one and finished with six points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field.

    The big eye-opener on the Wizards’ side of this game was Otto Porter, who broke out for 23 points, 13 rebounds. He made an insane 11-of-13 shots from the field. Porter had a slow start, but it appears he’s waking up and ready to reward managers who drafted him for his expected upside this season. His buy-low window may have just closed after this game.

    The Raptors won on the effort of DeMar DeRozan, who basically did DeMar DeRozan things in this game. He exploded for 40 points, five boards, and five assists. His strong game and the touches they required, came at the expense of Jonas Valanciunas’ production. JV had a quiet night with 10 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

    Kyle Lowry gave his owners a brief scare as he headed to the locker room to get stitches for a laceration his sustained under his right eye. Lowry is no longer the injury-prone guy he once was, at least prior to his weight loss last season. Kyle returned to the game and managed to finish with 18 points, two assists, and four steals. The lack of dimes are a downer, but DeRozan was busy creating his own shots in this one and was attacking the basket at will.

    Detroit Pistons 101, Brooklyn 109: Do you even shoot threes, Bro?

    Good News:

    Brook Lopez finally showed up to the fantasy basketball party, and yeah, he brought the threes. Bro-Lo torched the Pistons for 34 points, 11 rebounds, and nailed 4-of-8 shots from downtown. The improved shooting from deep is a pleasant surprise and could be the key to Lopez avoiding injuries sustained from banging bodies in the paint.

    Sean Kilpatrick (28 mins) erased any doubt about who is the reserve guard to own on the Nets. He went bonkers with 24 points and 10 boards in this one. He also made all four of his 3-pointers and     chipped in three assists and two steals in his stat sheet-stuffing line. His rival, Joe Harris (22 mins) finished with 13 points. Sean was solid late in 2015-16 and has some breakout potential, making him worth of an aggressive speculative add in 14-man leagues or deeper.

    Both Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris had solid games, scoring 23 points apiece via some efficient shooting from both the field and the line. Jon Leuer joined in power forward festivities and chipped in 11 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks of his own in 27 minutes. Leuer has been delivering decent deep-league value off the bench for Detroit and appears to be racking up praises from Stan Van Gundy. Keep him on your watch lists, just in case a starting big gets injured.

    Bad News:

    The Nets lost Jeremy Lin for the night after the guard sustained a strained hamstring and did not return. He played 16 minutes and scored 10 points and handed out four assists. If Lin is to miss time, Isaiah Whitehead should see an uptick in minutes.

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson still has not found his groove. RHJ went scoreless tonight and his six assists and two steals are just not enough on the plate to merit stashing him. He is only worth stashing in deep leagues at this point, but keep in on your watch lists in the event that he turns things around.

    Andre Drummond must have been bewildered by Brook Lopez spending so much time beyond the arc. Drummond was quiet with six points, six boards, four assists, two blocks. He should bounce back in the next one, so there’s nothing to worry about here.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had trouble finding his shot tonight, going 4-of-14 from the field. As a consolation to his owners, his counting stats were a nice touch. He did end up scoring 15 points, pulling down seven rebounds, and grabbing four steals.

    Houston Rockets 118, New York Knicks 99: The Beard stuffs sheet once again

    The Rockets ran away with this one from the get-go and didn’t look back. James Harden continues to impress everyone after dropping 30 points, six rebounds, five triples, two steals, and 15 assists. He’s on track to lead the league in assists per game and it looks like there’s nothing going to slow him down. His backcourt partner, Eric Gordon did his part and added 21 points (4 treys) of his own.

    Ryan Anderson scored 16 points, with four 3-pointers, and nine rebounds. Clint Capela (eight points, six rebounds) took a backseat to Montrezl Harrell, who posted a solid double-double with 17 points, 10 boards, one steal, and three blocks in 27 minutes. The more athletic Harrell had the better match-up in this one, but Capela should still see the lion’s share of minutes on most nights.

    Derrick Rose was played well with his 16-4-4 line. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 21 points and seven boards. Kristaps Porzingis disappeared in this game. He missed all four shots from the field and finished the night with three points, eight boards, a steal, and three blocks. His owners should not worry too much about this off night. Kristaps should be fine moving forward.

    Los Angeles Lakers 123, Atlanta Hawks 116: D’Angelo is D’man!

    The Lakers had a big fourth quarter to take this away from the Hawks. A ton of credit has to go to D’Angelo Russell, who stuffed the stat sheet with 23 points, eight assists, a steal, a trey, and three blocks. Aside from his 31 minutes, everyone else on the team saw some burn in the mid-20s. Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson continue to do their thing off the Lakers’ bench, with 18 and 16 points respectively. Coach Walton continues to utilize Nick Young  as the starting SG, and Swaggy P delivered on the trust accorded to him tonight with 17 points and three treys.

    Julius Randle got into a bit of foul trouble and was limited to nine points, six rebounds, a steal, and a block in 28 minutes of action. Larry Nance Jr. stepped up tonight with 14 points, seven boards, two steals and a block. He’s not worth a grab just yet, but keep an eye on him, especially if Timofey Mozgov (eye) will be out for an extend period of time.

    Dwight Howard dominated the Hawks’ offense with 31 points and 11 rebounds. He didn’t block a shot tonight, but did manage to get two steals as a consolation. Paul Millsap had a subdued performance with 10 points, seven boards, a trey, and a couple of steals. Dennis Schroder struggled with his shot (4-of-11 from the field) and ended the night with 11 points and six assists.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. caught fire and covered for Kyle Lowry’s off night. Hardaway for 26 points, thanks mainly to his 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. He and Thabo Sefolosha will likely be trading on and off nights and whoever is point will be fed the minutes.

    New Orleans Pelicans 83, Memphis Grizzlies 89 (OT): Conley, Gasol back with a bang!

    Despite logging a team-high 36 minutes, Anthony Davis turned in one of his worst games of the season, but that’s talking Anthony Davis standards of course. He still did a bit of everything with 10 points, seven rebounds, two steals, three blocks, and a trey. His five turnovers and 3-of-13 shooting were the stingers. The Pelicans’ starters just couldn’t get it going tonight and it was their bench that carried them to force overtime. Even fantasy favorite, Tim Frazier clocked in his worst night of the season with four points and two assists.

    Two quick fouls sent Solomon Hill to the bench early and Lance Stephenson took full advantage of the extra run and capped off his night with a team-high 21 points, four boards, and six dimes. Both Buddy Hield and Langston Galloway stepped up and dropped 18 points apiece. They both sank four triples each as well. Stephenson is worth a look in deep leagues, but a wait-and-see approach would still be more prudent at this time due to consistency issues. That said, don’t be surprised if coach Alvin Gentry decides to tinker with his rotation once again as he struggles to stop the bleeding.

    Mike Conley returned from his one-game absence and lit up the scoreboard with 20 points. Marc Gasol didn’t score as much, but did everything else. He had eight points, 11 boards, six dimes, two steals, and three blocks for the night. JaMychal Green finally got back on track after a two-game slump with 21 points points, six boards and three triples. James Ennis chipped in a sweet double-double of his own with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

    Chicago Bulls 100, Boston Celtics 107: Down goes Crowder

    Jae Crowder had trouble getting off the court after spraining his ankle after only 14 minutes of action. Marcus Smart, who just returned from a sprained ankle himself, started the third quarter in Crowder’s stead. Smart had a mixed performance with seven points, five boards, five assists, and six turnovers. Jaylen Brown is worth an add in deep leagues with this news. He was plagued with foul trouble and only played eight minutes, but should see an uptick in playing time if Crowder should miss a considerable amount of time. Crowder has been off to a great start and missing will definitely sting many a fantasy team.

    The Celtics were without Al Horford (concussion symptoms) and Isaiah Thomas responded with a monster line to pick up the slack. IT2 dropped 23 points, 10 assists, four treys, three steals, and a block. Amir Johnson came out of nowhere and dropped 23 points, six rebounds, three steals, two blocks, four uncharacteristic triples (4-4). He is worth a spot start in your streaming slot while Horford is out, but should fall back to Earth sooner than later. Fluke production like this won’t happen too often

    Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 23 points and seven boards, while Rajon Rondo had a solid showing with 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block. Dwyane Wade simmered down with 15 points and four assists. Nikola Mirotic was a sight for sore eyes with 17 points (3-6 from deep) and six rebounds off Chicago’s bench.

    Dallas Mavericks 81, Utah Jazz 97: King George of the Hill

    I’m proud to say that I own George Hill in at least five fantasy leagues this season and am stoked that picking him in the middle rounds is paying off in spades. George did more of his thing tonight with 24 points, four triples, six boards, and four dimes. Yeah, try to pry him away from my dead fingers. I dare ya! He’s not a sell-high candidate, but he won’t likely sustain these numbers all 82 games.

    Rudy Gobert had a nice 12-12-2-3 line, but burned his owners at the free-throw line (6-14) tonight. He’s an elite rebounds-and-blocks big and should have some monster lines as moving forward. Owners should just swallow the bad with the good that he brings to the table. Derrick Favors (eight points) started, but clearly is not 100% just yet. He is a buy-low candidate at this point and is worth trading for in most leagues. Rodney Hood has grown to become a serious treat on offense and his 22 points (2-4 from deep) and seven boards are a good sign that he’s in for a great 2016-17.

    Dirk Nowitzki was dealing with an illness in this game so we’ll give him and his nine points (4-14 from the field) a pass. Overall the Mavs were just mediocre in a Harrison Barnes kind of way. Speaking of which, Barnes had a vanilla 14-point, two-rebound kind of night himself. Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews dropped 12 points apiece. Deron did add nine dimes, while Matthews tossed in three triples. J.J. Barea was quiet off the bench with nine points, but his 27 minutes continue to be a good sign that he’ll retain his usage rate moving forward and is still worth an add if he’s still in your league’s FA pool.

    Portland Trail Blazers 115, Phoenix Suns 118 (OT): Warren hot like the Sun

    TJ Warren was a scoring machine against the Blazers tonight. He was able to diversify beyond his normal one-dimensional production and added seven rebounds, two steals, and a block to his game-high 27 points. Still, Warren is mainly just a scorer, but his recent production has upped his value enough to make him a trade asset for managers in search of a more versatile guy. Speaking of one-dimensionality, Tyson Chandler grabbed 18 rebounds to go with his six points. Chandler looks fresh this season and is bouncing back from his disappointing 2015-16 campaign. He’s a rebounding specialist and not much else. Boards are tough to find in the wire so give him a look if your team needs help on the glass.

    Eric Bledsoe dropped 20 points and seven boards and continues to work his way back into his all-star caliber form. Devin Booker (toe) returned to the starting lineup and finished with 15 points, three rebounds, and two steals. He has not been the breakout candidate owners were expecting on draft night, but Booker can still go off at any time soon so some patience is in order.

    Alex Len looked sharp in 21 minutes of action with 18 points, six rebounds, and three blocked shots. Brandon Knight returned to his sixth-man role for the Suns, but still managed to bring 16 points, four boards, and three assists to the table. He’s clearly not the same Brandon Knight of 2015-16, but this is all part of the “Devin Booker grooming project” that Earl Watson is undertaking. Knight can be dropped in shallow leagues, but retains some standard league value, especially for fantasy teams in need of his scoring and occasional threes.

    Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum scored 27 and 24 points, respectively, but their combined efforts were unfortunately not enough to out-scorch the Suns tonight.

    Mason Plumlee shot an awful 2-of-11 from the field,  but did manage to haul in 12 rebounds, dish out four assists, and get two blocks. He’s one of the better passing bigs in the league and that unique ability buoys his fantasy value in most leagues.

    Let’s get to the important line, as far as fantasy basketball is concerned. Maurice Harkless has been playing hide-and-seek with his owners so far this season and has been added and dropped so many times already, I’m surprised his fantasy avatar doesn’t have a concussion yet. He’s been on-and-off in a frustrating kind of way. Tonight he was on with 13 points, five boards, a steal, a trey, and a block. Harkless has always had issues with consistency so this is just par for the course. For now, consider him in deep leagues (only), but keep him on your standard league watch lists in case he goes on streak.

    Oklahoma City Thunder 85, Los Angeles Clippers 83: “Beastbrook” carries team for the win

    Russell Westbrook almost carried the Thunder for this win singlehanded. Both teams had trouble getting into a flow offensively, so Russ willed his team to victory with 35 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals. He was the only Thunder player to crack double figures in scoring! So yeah, he did all the heavy lifting. His Herculean effort did come at a price, 10 turnovers. While his owners in 8-cat leagues could have cared less, his 9-cat teams just have to swallow the TOs for now. Victor Oladipo had a poor shooting night, going 3-of-11 from the field, en route to his nine-point, five-rebound performance.

    Steven Adams posted two points and 11 boards, while Enes Kanter chipped with six points and 12 rebounds.

    Many eyes were on Jerami Grant who made his debut for the team after arriving via a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Grant ended up playing 18 minutes in his first outing. He scored six points and blocked two shots. If you don’t mind his poor shooting percentages, Grant should still be a steady source of blocks moving forward. He should be able to carve out playing time in the mid-20s, having the ability to play both at the three and the four positions. For now he’s still a deep-league grab, unless your team is really starved for blocks.

    Chris Paul flirted with a triple-double, scoring 15 points, grabbing 11 boards, and handing out nine assists. What was huge for him tonight were his six steals. Keeping up with the poor shooting theme of the night, Blake Griffin  connected on just seven of his 21 shot attempts from the field. He missed all three of free throws, but still managed to salvage his off night with nine boards, five assists, two steals, and a block. DeAndre Jordan had a quiet night with eight points, six rebounds, and three blocks.

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