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Basketball Daily Dose

Dose: The Real Opening Night!

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The season-opening Dose is always a challenge. There’s literally 20 pages worth of material out there, but we have to cram it all into a four-page sack. So let’s do it!




Brooklyn’s Jeremy Lin went down with a knee injury and fears are that it’s serious. D’Angelo Russell went off for 30 points, five dimes and four 3-pointers, and is looking even better with Lin potentially down and out for a long count. The sky’s the limit and I’m just glad that my buddy Andy and I drafted him in almost all our leagues.


Houston’s Chris Paul sat out Wednesday against the Kings with a sore left knee and Eric Gordon started in his place. Gordon went off for 25 points and four 3-pointers despite hitting just 7-of-23 shots, and after Tuesday’s 24-point effort, should be picked up everywhere given Paul’s injury. Paul is simply day-to-day at this point.


JaMychal Green left Wednesday’s game after just four minutes with a left ankle injury and will have an MRI on Thursday. Memphis Rookie Dillon Brooks (see below) looked great and could step up if J-Myke’s injury is serious.


Zach Randolph sat out due to oral surgery for the Kings, allowing Skal Labissiere to get the start. Skal had 12 points and 10 boards and is worth a look any time Z-Bo sits.


Alex Len sat out last night with a sprained ankle and the Suns brought Marquese Chriss off the bench in a really ugly 124-76 blowout loss. I’m a Len fan and he’s day-to-day with his injury.


Jason Smith suffered a sprained shoulder and didn’t return for the Wizards, allowing Kelly Oubre to start the second half and get loose for 14 points, eight rebounds, two steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers. I need to see Oubre do it again before getting too excited.


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I Am Shocked That…


Joel Embiid played 27 minutes for the Sixers. He was great with 18 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and a block, and the minutes log is incredible news for his owners. But the second he goes down, let the second-guessing begin. Embiid was expected to be on a serious minutes limit for the early part of the season, but he wasn’t happy about it and the Sixers appear to be ready to let him fly. If you drafted him, you have to be thrilled, at least for now. Oh, and he has a back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday, and it would be even more shocking if he plays in both.


Robert Covington scored 29 points, one shy of his career high, hitting 9-of-15 shots and seven 3-pointers. With all the new toys in Philly, I didn’t think Covington would be nearly this good. Let’s see where we are in a week, as he’s had trouble getting shots to fall over the past couple seasons.  


Andre Drummond is shooting 100 percent from the free throw line after going 2-of-2 last night. He was in foul trouble and had eight points, 13 boards, two blocks and a steal, and shot it much better from the line in the preseason. Maybe he’s turned a corner with the FTs, but I just don’t see how it’s possible.


Jimmy Butler scored just 12 points. He was 5-of-12 for four boards, three dimes, a steal and two 3-pointers. Give him a minute to work things out for his new team. He’s too talented not to succeed.


Tobias Harris went crazy with 27 points, 10 rebounds and four 3-pointers for Detroit. He’s only 25 year old, but it feels like that number should be higher. He might have been a draft-day steal for those of you who own him, but it’s still very early.


Houston’s Clint Capela had 22 points, 17 rebounds, three steals and a block on 10-of-12 shooting. I love Capela as much as the next guy, but I didn’t see him having this kind of night this early in the season. Maybe it was the matchup with Willie Cauley-Stein, but regardless, if you drafted him, you’ve got to be psyched.


Willie Cauley-Stein had 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in a start at center for the Kings. WCS came in with a lot of hype and certainly lived up to it last night. He should have been drafted in all leagues but if he wasn’t in yours, go get him.


LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and a 3-pointer for the Spurs. The hatchet has been buried and it looks like Gregg Popovich is going to feature the soft big man the rest of the way. He may end up being a draft-day steal in fantasy. Side note: Danny Green had 17 points, three 3-pointers, two steals and two blocks for the Spurs, and may also end up being a fantasy steal, but we won’t know until we see these two play alongside Kawhi Leonard, who was out with a quad injury.


Trevor Booker racked up 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Nets. This was his first 20-10 game since 2013, so it was a bit surprising. If he keeps this up, he’ll hurt DeMarre Carroll, but it’s just one game, right?


Domantas Sabonis hit 7-of-7 shots for 16 points and seven rebounds in just 19 minutes for the Pacers. He was incredibly efficient tonight and we’ll need to see it again before getting too hyped, but he looked really good in this one.


Lance Stephenson fired up 19 shots in 24 minutes for the Pacers, finishing with 16 points, three assists, a steal and a block. We knew he was going to have a role for the Pacers, but the shot attempts were kind of crazy. He’s worth a watchful eye in all leagues for now.


Josh Richardson only had 10 points, two rebounds, two assists, a block and two 3-pointers in his 35 minutes. Shocked is probably too strong a word given his disappointing season last year, but I really thought Richardson would come out on fire. The minutes are there and he’s healthy, so I’m looking for him to bounce back in the next one. He should end up being an extreme value pick.


Boban Marjanovic was a DNP-CD for Detroit. I was never on the Boban train, but the fact he didn’t get any run with Andre Drummond in foul trouble is, for the lack of a better term, a bit shocking. Just remember we’re only one game in.


Nerlens Noel hit 6-of-6 shots and 4-of-4 free throws for 16 points, 11 boards, a steal and three blocks in just 20 minutes for the Mavs. Obviously, he’s not going to make every shot on most nights, but he sure looked good in this one.


Arron Afflalo got a DNP-CD for the Magic. I don’t think he’s hurt, and if you somehow drafted him, hit the wire and find a hot pickup. There are a lot of them out there.


Marco Belinelli scored 20 points with three steals and four 3-pointers for the Hawks. I just didn’t see it coming. If you need threes, keep a close eye on Bello over his next game or two.


Rookie Dillon Brooks went off for 19 points, five boards, four steals and two blocks off the Nets bench. JaMychal Green got hurt and James Ennis and Andrew Harrison are nothing to write home about. I don’t know if Mr. Dillon Brooks is going to do anything in Game 2, but if you have someone you want to cut, taking a flier on this kid may not be a bad idea.


The Suns got their doors blown off by Portland. Not only did they lose 124-76, the box score is just brutal to look at. Marquese Chriss was the most disturbing of the bunch, as he played just 12 minutes, committed five fouls and hit 1-of-5 shots. I was never an early Chriss guy, but my colleagues persuaded me and I’m going to keep the faith that he’ll bounce back and start playing like he’s supposed to. He certainly can’t play any worse than this.


Rookie Donovan Mitchell started over Rodney Hood for the Jazz. Hood wasn’t feeling well and Mitchell finished with 10 points, four dimes and a block in 26 minutes. Obviously, he’ll take a hit when Hood’s at full strength, but I like the idea of stashing Mitchell in deeper leagues after his strong preseason and decent game last night.


Pat Connaughton hit 9-of-14 shots and four 3-pointers for a career-high 24 for Portland. This game was a joke, as the Blazers blew the Suns out of the gym, but Connaughton’s line may be no laughing matter. But C.J. McCollum was suspended for this one and will be back for the next game. Leave Connaughton alone for now.


I Am Not Shocked That…


Giannis Antetokounmpo went nuts with 37 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals. FREAK. He might end up being the No. 1 fantasy player this season, despite tonight’s five turnovers. I’m thrilled to have landed him at No. 4 in a couple leagues.


DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis went off for the Pels. Boogie blocked a career-high seven shots with 28 points, 10 rebounds and three 3-pointers, while Davis had 33 points, 18 rebounds, a block and a 3-pointer, despite playing through strep throat. They are learning how to play together and it’s showing.


Hassan Whiteside torched the Magic for 26 points, 22 rebounds, a block and a 3-pointer. If you didn’t get Karl-Anthony Towns and ended up with Whiteside, the future looks, um, brightside!


Victor Oladipo went off for 22 points, five boards, four assists, four steals and two 3-pointers. He did most of his damage in the first half, but he’s locked and loaded into big minutes and a huge role for the Pacers. I love the IU product in Indy.


Myles Turner turned in 21 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. He’s going to be a beast for the Pacers and there’s a reason he was going in Round 2 in every draft I did.


Aaron Gordon had 14 points, nine boards, three assists, two blocks and a 3-pointer for the Magic. He hit just 4-of-13 shots, or it would have looked like a much better line. I love him and am thrilled to own him in a ton of leagues.


Dallas rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. had 16 points, three boards, 10 assists and a 3-pointer against the Hawks. That’s my guy and he’s already living up to the hype. Long live DSJ!


Darren Collison had 21 points, 11 assists and two steals for the Pacers. He was one of those point guards, along with George Hill, still sitting there in the later-middle rounds of drafts, and I scooped both of them up in a few leagues. Collison is going to have to produce offensively if the Pacers are going to win, so hopefully you grabbed him as well.


James Johnson had 11 points, four rebounds, eight assists, a steal and a block in just 19 minutes off the Heat bench. He finished with five fouls and lost his starting job to Kelly Olynyk (10 points, five boards, one 3-pointer), but would have put up much better numbers without the five fouls. I’m still all-in Johnson this season, despite coming off the bench. And given the low minutes, his line was borderline spectacular.


Jaylen Brown played well again for the Celtics. He had 18 points and a couple 3-pointers after blowing up for 25 points in Tuesday’s opener. He had his left wrist wrapped after the game, but I’m guessing he’s fine. He needs to be owned in all leagues.


Terry Rozier had 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in 27 minutes for Boston. With Gordon Hayward out for the season, Rozier and Marcus Smart will both see a boost. And so far, both of them look like they’re worth grabbing. Smart had 12 points, seven boards, four assists, three steals and three 3-pointers, and is the one I’d target first.


Stanley Johnson missed all 13 of his shots last night for the Pistons. Ok, maybe I’m a little shocked, as you’d think one or two of them might have rolled in. His shooting is my biggest concern and he didn’t do anything to ease it, but he also played a team-high 40 minutes. He’s going to get several more opportunities to get it worked out and with the minutes, he’s worth a look if he’s sitting on your waiver wire.


DeMarre Carroll almost double-doubled in a start for the Nets, finishing with 10 points, nine boards, a steal and a 3-pointer in 28 minutes. He’s getting a fresh start in Brooklyn and I added him at the end of several of my drafts. He may not be a game changer, but you could do worse than owning Carroll. And yes, Allen Crabbe was limited by a sprained ankle, although it might be Carroll’s job to lose either way.


Dennis Schroder scored 28 points with seven dimes, two steals and a 3-pointer. I drafted Schroder and someone has to score for Atlanta. It’s probably going to be this guy.


Will Barton had a team-high 23 points with six boards, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers. Barton was one of the only bright spots for the Nuggets and could be primed for a big season. If you drafted him, things look really good so far.


Denver’s Jamal Murray hit just 2-of-6 shots for eight points and two assists in 20 minutes. The hype seems to follow him but he’s rarely lived up to it. It could still happen for the young point guard, so just keep a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude with him for the next 10 days.

Steve Alexander

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for NBC Sports Edge and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2020-21 NBA season marks (at least) his 20th year of covering fantasy hoops for NBC Sports. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.