Dwight Howard (buttocks) finally made his Washington debut, scoring 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting (6-of-8 from the line) to go with three rebounds, one assist, two steals and one turnover across 23 minutes as a starter. D12 didn’t have an official minutes limit in his first game of the season, but the Wizards got walloped in a 134-111 loss to OKC, so Howard’s minutes were held in check.
With Howard in the lineup, Markieff Morris attempted just six shots and saw his usage rate reduced to a measly 8.7; and Passive (Otto) Porter also attempted just six shots on his way to nine points, one 3-pointer, three rebounds, two assists and two turnovers. I’m extremely nervous about both these guys losing touches to Howard, and Porter makes me particularly nervous given how bad he’s been to open the season. John Wall and Bradley Beal are going to eat first, and Howard will complain until he gets his touches, which essentially leaves Morris and Porter fighting for scraps. It’s possible a coaching change could alter the dynamic of this team, which isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility with Washington sitting on just one win this season, but at the moment, things look fairly bleak for Morris and Porter.
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Enes Kanter had a so-so game in 20 minutes off the bench, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting (3-of-4 from the stripe) to go with five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one turnover. He’s seen his playing time reduced to the lower-20s since being demoted to the second unit and has only been able to post averages of 10.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and not much else on 47.5% shooting from the field and 71.4% from the charity stripe, which ranks well outside the top-150 in fantasy hoops. Unfortunately, it probably isn’t going to get much better any time soon with David Fizdale indicating that Mitchell Robinson will be his starting center moving forward, and it doesn’t help Kanter’s case that with him in the starting lineup the Knicks own a -6.2 net rating; whereas Robinson has brought the team to a respectable 8.1 net rating. I’m not at the point where I’d say he’s a cut-candidate, but owners would be wise to explore their options after a few good games.
Evan Fournier busted out of his shooting funk, going 7-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from the stripe on his way to 19 points, one 3-pointer, three rebounds, four assists, three steals and four turnovers across 28 minutes. Prior to this game, Fournier had been connecting on just 37.4% of his shot attempts, so hopefully, this is a sign that he’s ready to regress to the mean (44.6% career shooter).
Darren Collison hit the game-winner during Friday’s 107-105 victory in Chicago, recording 14 points (6-of-15 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), four rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer, two steals and two turnovers in 36 minutes. He got off to a horrendous start this season, but he’s been much better over the past four games with averages of 13.5 points, 5.5 dimes, 2.0 steals and just 1.3 turnovers per contest on 52.3% shooting from the field and 85.7% from the charity stripe, which has been good enough for fifth-round value in 9-cat leagues. He’s trending up.
Wendell Carter Jr. had a pretty solid game despite foul trouble, scoring 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting (1-of-1 from the line) to go with eight rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block and one turnover across 24 minutes. Carter Jr. has a superb all-around game, but what really stands out to me is his phenomenal vision when passing. He got off to a very slow start this season, which is normal for rookie big men, but over the past four games he’s been flirting with early-round value behind averages of 16.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.5 swats, 0.5 triples and just 0.8 turnovers per game on 47.2% shooting from the field and 85.7% from the stripe. He’s only going to get better throughout the year, so I wouldn’t recommend selling him in almost any scenario.
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On the Radar
Antonio Blakeney popped off for a career-high 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting (1-of-1 from the stripe) to go with three triples, three rebounds and one turnover in 26 minutes off the bench. He’s been heating up over the past three games with averages of 19.3 points, 3.7 triples, 2.7 boards and just 0.7 turnovers per game on 61.8% shooting. Basically, none of those numbers are sustainable, but he should see quality minutes in the rotation while Denzel Valentine (ankle) is out, so he’s worth a speculative add in deep leagues while he’s this hot.
Justin Holiday hit 7-of-14 shots on his way to 19 points, five 3-pointers, two assists, one rebound, one block and one turnover in 36 minutes. He’ll likely see a reduction in minutes and shot attempts once the Bulls get healthy, and there’s a chance he could fall out of the rotation later in the year once player development becomes the primary focus in Chicago, but he’s gotten off to a hot start and is worth owning in most leagues at the moment. He’s been a top-50 guy on the year in 9-cat leagues with averages of 12.4 points, 3.0 treys, 3.6 boards, 2.4 dimes, 1.2 steals and just 0.6 turnovers per game on 43.3% shooting.
Boban Marjanovic got his first start of the season with Marcin Gortat missing Friday’s game with an undisclosed injury, and he finished with 10 points (4-of-7 FGs, 2-of-6 FTs), 11 rebounds, two assists and two turnovers across 23 minutes. His minutes haven’t been consistent in Los Angeles, but if Gortat needs to miss time, that would be a huge boost for Boban. I wouldn’t say he’s worth grabbing in most 12-team leagues with 13 roster spots, but if you’re in a deeper setting and have someone to cut, Marjanovic is worth a look.
Jerami Grant posted a career-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting (2-of-3 from the line) to go with two 3-pointers, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and one turnover across 34 minutes as a starter. He’s been playing very well since entering the starting lineup with averages of 13.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 triples, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.6 swats and just 1.0 turnover per game on 56.8% shooting from the field and 63.2% from the stripe. He’s a far superior player than Patrick Patterson, so he should stick as a starter the rest of the way; I’d say he’s worth owning in most leagues.
Mitchell Robinson was nearly perfect during Friday’s 118-106 win over the Mavericks, scoring 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting (3-of-4 from the line) on his way to 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and zero turnovers across 34 minutes as a starter. This performance was particularly impressive coming against DeAndre Jordan, who he held to just 2-of-5 shooting, and David Fizdale raved about him prior to the game, saying: "He’s going to be our foundation, our anchor of our defense for the future. Let’s get this guy going right now and really commit to the development of these guys and to what it’s going to take to get them to where they need to be for us to be the team we’re going to be later." Based on those comments, it would seem that Robinson is locked in as a starter for the Knicks, so he should be scooped up everywhere. His production will likely be up-and-down during the early goings of the season, but Mitchell is loaded with upside and could be a force down the stretch. In just 24.8 minutes per game at Summer League, Robinson posted averages of 13.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.0 steal and a whopping 4.0 swats per contest.
Frank Ntilikina went 2-of-8 from the field and 3-of-3 from the line on his way to seven points, seven assists, three steals, one block and three turnovers in 32 minutes. The scoring will be up-and-down and he won’t always shoot the best percentages, but David Fizdale seems committed to developing him, so the minutes should stay steady. He’s on the radar as a dimes and steals specialist in deep leagues.
Alonzo Trier netted a career-high 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting (6-of-7 from the stripe) on his way to two rebounds, one 3-pointer, one assist and three turnovers in 24 minutes off the bench. He’s been en fuego over the past three games with averages of 16.3 points, 3.3 boards, 1.0 trey and 1.3 assists per contest on 79.2% shooting. That’s obviously unsustainable, but he’s someone to think about streaming while he’s this hot.
Tyus Jones (foot) got the start with Jeff Teague (knee) unavailable, and with Derrick Rose (ankle) leaving the game early in the first quarter, he was forced to log 41 minutes on his way to eight points (3-of-11 FGs), five boards, nine dimes, two steals and zero turnovers. It’s a mystery what the Wolves will look like post-Jimmy Butler trade, but if Teague is included in that deal, that would open up a ton of opportunity for Tyus. He’s a high-upside stash.
Josh Okogie went 4-of-10 from the field and 6-of-7 from the stripe on his way to 15 points, five rebounds, one 3-pointer, one assist, one steal and two turnovers in 25 minutes off the bench. He’s another guy who could see a significant boost post-Butler, and with averages of 10.6 points, 5.3 boards, 1.3 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.6 swats and 1.7 turnovers per game on 38.6% shooting, he’s someone to consider stashing in most leagues.
Shelvin Mack had his second straight productive game, scoring 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go with four 3-pointers, six rebounds, three assists and three turnovers in 33 minutes off the bench. This is coming off the heels of a 14-point, eight-assist performance, and he’s now eclipsed the 30-minute mark in consecutive games. I’ll be surprised if he can keep it up, but Memphis is desperate for offense, so maybe he can remain a fixture in the rotation. He’s worth a look for deep league owners who are desperate for a guard.
Kevin Love underwent surgery on his left toe on Friday and will be re-evaluated in six weeks. This is a tough blow for Love owners, as he was already off to a horrendous start, and with Cleveland playing awful, he’ll likely take his time getting back. In my opinion, he has too much upside to outright cut, but if you’re struggling, selling him for pennies on the dollar to one of the top teams in your league would be an option. Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance should pick up most of his minutes, and there will be more shots for guys like Rodney Hood, Cedi Osman, Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton. All those guys are on the radar as potential pickups, and I’d say Sexton offers the most upside.
Devin Booker (hamstring) logged 36 minutes as a starter in his return from a three-game absence, hitting 8-of-20 shots on his way to 18 points, four rebounds, six assists, two 3-pointers, one steal, one block and three turnovers. The hamstring was a complete non-issue, so he should be fine for Sunday’s game against the Grizzlies. With Booker back, Josh Jackson returned to the bench and finished with 11 points, three rebounds, one assist, one 3-pointer and one turnover in 12 minutes. Jackson had a nice post-break run last year with Phoenix extremely banged up, but he hasn’t done anything this season to warrant ownership in most leagues.
Jimmy Butler returned from his rest day for Friday’s nationally televised game against the defending champs and finished with 21 points (10-of-23 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), three rebounds, five assists and nothing else across 35 minutes. Shams Charania reported on Wednesday that Butler would be taking a game-by-game approach moving forward, so there’s a chance he’ll again hit the sidelines on Sunday in Portland, as he attempts to make things so chaotic in Minnesota that management is forced to trade him. Owners will essentially need to confirm his status prior to every game moving forward.
Kawhi Leonard exited Friday’s blowout win in Phoenix during the fourth quarter after jamming his foot and did not return, finishing with 19 points, six rebounds, five assists, one 3-pointer, two steals, one block and two turnovers across 30 minutes. Leonard immediately asked out of the game after tweaking his foot, and with the Raptors starting a back-to-back set on Sunday against the 3-5 Lakers, I’d say there’s a decent chance he’ll sit that one out. If Leonard can’t give it a go on Sunday, Norman Powell could draw the start and Kyle Lowry will do the heavy lifting on offense.
Fred VanVleet (toe) returned from a four-game absence, producing eight points, two 3-pointers, three rebounds, six assists, two steals, one block and two turnovers in 20 minutes off the bench. He’s not much more than a dimes-specialist in deep leagues.
OG Anunoby (personal) was back in action following a three-game absence, finishing with two points, one rebound and nothing else in 21 minutes off the bench. He’s not worth owning anywhere.
Anthony Davis (elbow) and Darius Miller (quad) are questionable to face the Spurs on Saturday. We’ll have a better idea on AD’s status following Saturday morning’s shootaround, but if he’s out, Jahlil Okafor could get another start and there will be more shots for the rest of the starters. Elfrid Payton (ankle) has already been ruled out, so Jrue Holiday will be very busy.
An MRI on Donovan Mitchell’s hamstring came back negative, but he did not play Friday and should be considered questionable for Saturday’s game in Denver. The Jazz are simply referring to Mitchell’s injury as “soreness,” which is certainly a positive, but he could take a few games off given how tricky hamstring injuries are. Grayson Allen got the start in his place but only finished with nine points, two 3-pointers and one assist across 27 minutes. He could start again on Saturday if Mitchell can’t play, but he’s not much more than a 3-point streamer in deep leagues.
James Harden (hamstring) missed his third game in a row on Friday, but he’s expected to return to the court for Saturday’s game against the Bulls. Eric Gordon will return to the bench if he’s able to get back out there and Gerald Green could drop from the rotation entirely.
James Ennis (hamstring) was back in the starting lineup following a three-game absence and he finished with two points, one rebound and one block over 19 minutes. Carmelo Anthony returned to the bench with Ennis active, but he still logged 31 minutes on his way to 28 points, six triples, four boards, one block and one turnover. Melo’s usage will take a hit once Harden gets back, and he’s been too up-and-down to trust in standard leagues. Ennis may be starting, but he’s not worth owning anywhere.
Jonathan Isaac exited Friday’s game with a right ankle sprain and did not return, finishing with two points and one rebound over 12 minutes. X-rays came back negative, but this is the same ankle that gave him trouble last season and during the preseason, so I’d expect him to spend at least a few games on the shelf. Terrence Ross could see big minutes on Sunday with Isaac unlikely and Jonathon Simmons (wrist) questionable for that one.
Isaiah Canaan (ankle) was back in the starting lineup following a one-game stint on the sidelines and finished with 19 points (8-of-12 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), two triples, one rebound, two assists and one turnover. Elie Okobo was demoted to the second unit with Canaan active and finished with just four points, one rebound, two assist and two turnovers in 16 minutes off the bench. If Phoenix doesn’t bring in another point guard this season, I’d expect Okobo to eventually take over at the one-spot, but he won’t be doing much for you in the early goings while Canaan is healthy. Canaan is just a low-end PG to own in deep leagues, while Okobo makes for an intriguing stash.
Jeff Teague (knee) missed his second game in a row on Friday and should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game in Portland.
Two days after erupting for a career-high 50 points, Derrick Rose logged just five minutes off the bench before leaving Friday’s game with “ankle soreness” and he did not return. It’s always something with Rose, and for now, owners will need to consider him questionable for Sunday. If both Teague and Rose are out, Jones will likely be forced to flirt with minutes in the 40s.
Marcin Gortat sat out Friday’s game against the Magic with an undisclosed injury, which resulted in Boban Marjanovic getting the start and Montrezl Harrell earning 25 minutes off the bench. It’ll be more of the same if Gortat can’t give it a go on Monday.
Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) missed his fifth game in a row and should be considered questionable for Monday’s game against the Timberwolves.
Markieff Morris (concussion) returned from a one-game stint on the sidelines and finished with four points on 2-of-6 shooting to go with two rebounds, four assists and one steal over 29 minutes. He got off to a hot start this season, but I expect his value to take a significant hit with D12 in the rotation stealing away his touches.
Goran Dragic (toe), Dwyane Wade (headache), Tyler Johnson (illness) and Hassan Whiteside (migraine) did not practice on Friday, but they are all expected to go through shootaround on Saturday. Whiteside is expected to play, and I’d count on both Wade and Johnson getting out there, but Dragic could certainly sit that one out. If Dragic is out, Tyler Johnson will likely get the start and Wayne Ellington should be able to enter the rotation.
Wilson Chandler (hamstring) got in a full practice on Friday and is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Pistons. I don’t think he’ll be worth owning this season, but he’ll likely cut into Dario Saric’s minutes once he’s fully up to speed.
Kevin Huerter (ankle) is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Heat.
An MRI on Shaun Livingston’s sore right foot revealed no structural damage, but the Warriors will continue to be cautious with the 33-year-old veteran. He did not play Friday and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back any time soon.
Moe Harkless (knee) is out for Saturday’s game against the Lakers.
Denzel Valentine (ankle) remains without an official timetable to return and belongs on the waiver wire in all formats.