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Basketball Daily Dose

Preseason Takeaways

by Jared Johnson
Updated On: October 19, 2019, 12:43 pm ET

Hype Guys

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: 18.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 trey, 0.8 blocks, 3.0 turnovers per game on 50% shooting from the field and 89.5% from the line in 26.5 minutes a night

SGA looked phenomenal during the preseason, and it was very encouraging to see his usage rate at 28.7. He’s not a guard who will do much for you in the assist department, but he’s an above-average rebounder for a PG, will score a good amount of points efficiently and may chip in a few blocks here and there. We’re expecting a monster year from the guy who was the center-piece in the Paul George trade, but with all the hype, you’re going to need to think about taking him as early as Round 4 in competitive leagues. 

Bam Adebayo: 11.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 blocks, 1.8 turnovers per game on 51.3% shooting from the field and 84.2% from the line in 23.5 minutes a night

Adebayo looked like a guy who will be vying for the Most Improved Player Award this preseason, and he has everything working in his favor. Coach Spo loves him, as does the Rotoworld crew, and he shouldn’t have any trouble meeting expectations with his 55.4 ADP.

Zion Williamson: 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 2.0 turnovers per game on 71.4% shooting from the field and 68.8% from the stripe in 27.2 minutes a night

Williamson very much lived up to the hype statistically, but unfortunately, he started to experience some soreness in his right knee towards the end of the preseason and is now slated to miss at least the first few weeks of the regular season. To be clear, the Pelicans have ruled out a significant knee injury and they're just being cautious with their No. 1 overall pick, but it’s not great for a guy of Zion’s size who dunks as much as he does to already be missing games with knee pain. He’s still worthy of an early-round selection, but the risk just went up exponentially.

Ja Morant: 11.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 2.3 turnovers per game on 43.9% shooting from the field and 57.1% from the stripe in 21.9 minutes a night

Morant was a fun player to watch this preseason and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do once he’s truly unleashed for the regular-season. He may not offer many 3-pointers, and like most rookies, it’s natural to expect to efficiency issues, but he’ll be racking up the dimes, should score in the teens and will do at least a few jaw-dropping things every game. Head coach Taylor Jenkins has made it he has no intention of giving Morant the rookie treatment, meaning that he’ll be logging major minutes from Day 1 and will be allowed to play through mistakes. I’m fine with taking him Round 6.

Pascal Siakam: 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.7 treys, 1.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, 3.7 turnovers per game on 45.9% shooting from the field and 85.7% from the line in 23.6 minutes a night

Siakam did some serious damage in limited minutes during his preseason run, and his 29.3 usage rate was very encouraging (his usage was at 20.5 last year). Nick Nurse talked about using him as a point forward with some of the second units, so it sounds like his assists numbers will be going up this year, although that will also likely increase his turnovers. I wish Siakam would block more shots and was a better rebounder, but he makes up for that with highly efficient scoring and elite steals numbers, so expect him to be a fun player to own this season. Spicy P will be coming off the board during Round 3 on draft day.

Kristaps Porzingis: 16.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 triples, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 1.8 turnovers per game on 39.3% shooting from the field and 80% from the stripe in 22.9 minutes a night

KP had to knock off some rust after taking over a year off from professional basketball, so he didn’t have the most efficient preseason, but he looked better with each game and appears to have completely regained his bounce. He said that he doesn’t even think about his knee anymore, which is a huge mental hurdle to clear, so now he’ll just need to find his rhythm. I think Porzingis is going to have a monster year statistically, but I’m worried about the amount of games he’s going to miss for load management and a late-season shutdown seems like a very real risk. Unfortunately his current draft day ADP is 32.0, which is far too rich for my blood given the other available targets in that range.

Marvin Bagley: 18.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 1.4 turnovers per game on 50.7% shooting from the field and 71.4% from the stripe in 27.7 minutes a night

Despite being the No. 2 overall pick, Bagley got off to a slow start his rookie season under head coach Dave Joerger, as he was forced to earn his minutes and began the year coming off the bench behind Nemanja Bjelica. However, that will clearly not be an issue with Luke Walton at the helm, as he’s projected to start and be a focal piece of this offense from Day 1. Something of note, after connecting on just 69.1% of his freebies his rookie year he shot 71.4% from the stripe on 5.6 attempts during his preseason run, so shooting a more respectable number from the line will certainly help him. He’s going to be a double-double threat on a nightly basis, and if he’s able to chip in a few blocks here and there, that’ll just be gravy. Start thinking about him towards the end of Round 6.

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Caris LeVert: 11.3 points, 4.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 treys, 2.0 steals, 1.8 turnovers per game on 55.2% shooting from the field and 70% from the stripe in 17.2 minutes a night

LeVert looks like a guy ready to take another big step forward in his age-25 season, and he should shine operating as the No. 2 option next to Irving. He has a rather low 86.2 ADP in Yahoo! Leagues, but I haven’t seen him drop past Round 6 in any of my leagues. You’re going to need to reach for him in competitive leagues, but I’m fine with that.

Thomas Bryant: 13.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.8 triples, 1.6 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.4 turnovers per game on 45.1% shooting from the field and 71.4% from the stripe in 22.7 minutes a night.

Bryant was a top-65 player through the final 15 games of 2018-19 season with averages of 14.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.3 turnovers per game on 60.4% shooting from the field and 71.8% from the stripe, and he picked up right where he left off during the preseason. He’s going to be the No. 2 option in Washington’s offense and has added a 3-point shot to his repertoire, so his efficiency will likely take a hit, but he’s still primed for a big year.

Mitchell Robinson: 5.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 2.5 blocks and 3.3 fouls per game on 47.6% shooting from the field and 50% from the line in 19.4 minutes a night.

Robinson did struggle with foul trouble during the preseason, which is something he dealt with last year, but he’s a guy who only needs 20 minutes a night to be a top-40 player. He’s going to start this season, and even with all the frontcourt depth in New York, I’m not worried about him. Again, even if he’s constrained to minutes in the mid-20s, that would be enough time for him to be a top-30 player. I’d chalk up the low FG% to him shaking off the preseason rust, and I’m expecting him to be a 10-8-2 guy this year.

 

New Situations

Kemba Walker: 12.0 points, 2.0 assists, 2.5 triples, 0.5 steals, 1.5 turnovers per game on 46.2% shooting from the field and 77.8% from the stripe in 18.1 minutes a night

After playing for Team USA this summer, Walker only suited up for two games during Boston’s preseason run and was used sparingly. However, his per-36 numbers of 23.8 points, 5.0 triples, 4.0 boards, 1.0 steal and 3.0 turnovers were encouraging, and he was operating with a respectable 22.2 usage rate. Brad Stevens tends to get the most out of his point guards, so I’m not worried about Walker taking a step back this year, even if Jayson Tatum is the No. 1 option in that offense.

Enes Kanter: 6.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.7 turnovers on 53.3% shooting from the field and 60% from the stripe in 17.2 minutes a night

Kanter looks like he’ll be coming off the bench in Boston, and I don’t imagine the defensively challenged big man will be closing out games, so he’ll probably be working with minutes in the lower-20s. I’d expect his numbers to be closer to what they were during his OKC days, with scoring in the low-teens, around eight rebounds per game and not much defensive stats. You can probably tell that he’s not a target of mine.

Kyrie Irving lasted less than a minute in his preseason debut after aggravating his facial injury, so he essentially only suited up for one game in Brooklyn’s preseason finale, finishing with 19 points, four assists, two triples, three rebounds, two steals and four turnovers across 25 minutes. He’s a walking injury risk but figures to have a huge year as the main man in Brooklyn, so he could be a difference-maker for teams if he’s able to stay healthy.

DeAndre Jordan: 6.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 block, 1.5 turnovers per game on 66.7% shooting from the field and 64.3% from the line in 20.8 minutes a night

Kenny Atkinson hinted that the starting center position in Brooklyn will be fluid this season, but given that DJ only started one game, I’d say Jarrett Allen will be the starter on most nights. Jordan will get the start when they go up against more traditional big men, but he’s probably going to be confined to minutes in the mid-20s, thus limiting his upside. His value improves in points settings, but in category leagues, I wouldn’t look his way until the later rounds and only if I’m punting.

Taurean Prince: 16.8 points, 4.0 treys, 3.3 boards, 1.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.0 turnovers per game on 63.2% shooting in 22.4 minutes a night

Prince shot the lights out in his four preseason outings, and while he obviously won’t be shooting 63.2% from the floor when the games start to matter, he does appear to be in a good situation that gives him bounce-back potential. He struggled to be the lead dog in Atlanta, but he could be solid as a 3-and-D kind of guy in Brooklyn. I like him as a late-round pick.

Jimmy Butler: 13.3 points, 5.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.3 blocks, 2.7 turnovers per game 55.2% shooting from the field and 77.8% from the line in 26.1 minutes a night

Butler coasted during the preseason, but he’s set up for a big year as he finally gets to be the man in Miami. He has some obvious health concerns, but if he tends to be a top-10 player on a per-game basis, and shouldn’t have much trouble living up to those expectations with the Heat. Taking him Round 2 is a bit too risky for him, but I love him if he drops.

Terry Rozier: 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.8 triples, 1.3 steals, 1.5 turnovers on 49% shooting in 24.5 minutes a night

The counting stats for Scary Terry will be there this season, but I’m not buying his 49% preseason shooting. He’s been in the league for four years and has never shot above 40% from the field, and the spacing in Charlotte is going to be horrible. I’ll take him in points leagues, but I don’t love owning high-volume, low-make chuckers in category-based settings.

Al Horford: 9.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 triples, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks, 1.0 turnover per game on 50% shooting from the field and 50% from the line in 21.2 minutes a night

Horford should remain a productive player in Philly, but I don’t think he’ll be quite as good as he was during his Celtics’ days, and overall, I find him quite boring. He could be a solid roto guy this season, but I’m not loving him in head-to-head leagues.

Josh Richardson: 12.4 points, 4.0 assists, 1.6 triples, 1.8 steals, 0.6 blocks, 1.0 turnover per game on 43.8% shooting from the field and 75% from the stripe in 23.1 minutes a night

J-Rich is going to slide right into J.J. Redick’s former role with the 76ers, which is a role he thrives in. I’m expecting him to have a big bounce-back year, as he’ll see far more wide-open, catch-and-shoot opportunities and will be able to get back to what he does best; focusing on defense. He’s a guy with top 30 upside that you can pull in the sixth round.

Malcolm Brogdon: 9.3 points, 6.0 assists, 1.8 triples, 2.0 turnovers per game on 33.3% shooting from the field and 90.9% from the line in 24.5 minutes a night

Brogdon looked great running the offense in Indy, and I think he’ll have a solid start to the year. I am a bit nervous about how things shake out once Victor Oladipo gets back, though, so his current 65.5 ADP is a bit high for me. However, I’m fine with taking him if he drops to the 80-range, although I will be trying to sell him before Dipo gets back.

Jeremy Lamb: 11.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 triples, 1.3 steals, 1.8 turnovers per game on 41.7% shooting from the field and 90.9% from the stripe in 23.6 minutes a night.

Lamb is another guy who I like a lot, but I’m also semi-nervous about how Oladipo’s eventual return will impact him. Still, he’s fit in well in Indiana, and despite being a top-50 player last year he’s dropping all the way to the back half of Round 8 in most leagues, so a lot of the Oladipo-risk is mitigated. He’s also not a guy who needs a high usage to produce, so I like him as a late-round target.

T.J. Warren: 13.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.8 triples, 1.3 assists, 1.8 turnovers on 47.6% shooting from the field and 88.9% from the stripe in 22.4 minutes a night

Warren will be logging heavy minutes as Indiana’s starting SF, and he might be their No. 1 option on offense until Victor Oladipo gets back. He exploded with a big 30-point game in his preseason debut, and even when Vic gets back, I don’t think that will impact Warren much. People are low on him because he’s had some weird injuries over the years, but with a 99.1 ADP, the injury risk is almost entirely mitigated. His floor is top-65, so he could pan out to be a major draft day steal.

Julius Randle: 16.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.8 treys, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block, 3.5 turnovers per game on 43.1% shooting from the field and 77.8% from the line in 31.3 minutes a night

This is pretty much the kind of production you can expect from Randle this season, and if he can continue shooting 77.8% from the stripe when the games matter, that will significantly boost his value in category leagues. If you want him, you’ll need to spend a towards the back half of Round 5; but he’s worth it.

Kawhi Leonard: 10.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 triples, 2.5 steals, 1.0 turnover per game on 32% shooting in 16.6 minutes a night

Kawhi is a superstar and these numbers obviously don’t reflect that. He’s fine, but the load management king may be annoying to own. The Clippers also don’t have a great playoff schedule.

Anthony Davis: 13.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.5 blocks, 1.5 turnovers per game on 42.9% shooting in 20.8 minutes a night

I’m expecting AD to have an MVP season. Let’s hope he can stay healthy.

Russell Westbrook: 16.3 points, 4.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 treys, 2.0 steals, 5.3 turnovers per game on 41.5% shooting from the field and 63.6% from the stripe in 25.1 minutes a night.

Y'all know who Westbrook is, and he’ll be putting up Westbrook numbers this season. He’s better in points leagues. He is dealing with some dislocated fingers on his shooting hand, but I’d expect him to play through it.

Chris Paul: 6.0 points, 4.0 assists, 1.0 trey, 3.0 turnovers per game on 50% shooting in 19.0 minutes a night

CP3 is 34 years old, so the Thunder took it easy on him during the preseason. His numbers figure to be phenomenal while he’s on the court, but he has a lengthy injury history and will be a prime shutdown candidate if he remains in OKC the entire season and they fall out of the playoff hunt early. However, if he drops to the fifth round range, I’ll think about taking him.

Danilo Gallinari: 14.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 triples, 1.3 assists, 0.3 turnovers per game on 45.2% shooting in 21.6 minutes a night

Gallinari was finally healthy last season, but I doubt that’s a trend that will continue. He’s been on my never again list since 2014.

Brandon Ingram: 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 triple, 0.8 steals, 2.2 turnovers per game on 44.4% shooting from the field and 82.6% from the line in 22.3 minutes a night.

Ingram’s stat lines tend to be rather empty, and I didn’t see much evidence during the preseason that that will change. If you need some scoring I don’t mind rolling the dice on him around Round 8, but he’s not one of my primary targets.

Lonzo Ball: 9.4 points, 5.4 assists, 3.6 boards, 1.8 triples, 1.0 steal, 1.6 turnovers per game on 34.1% shooting from the field and 76.9% from the line in 22.7 minutes a night.

I owned Lonzo last year and he made my never again list. Maybe all he needed was a change of scenery to turn things around, but I’m not taking my chances. The shooting is annoying, the assists are less than you’d expect and it tends to be tough for him to clear the 10-point plateau. No thanks.

Josh Hart: 8.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 triples, 0.8 steals per game on 48% shooting from the field and 37.5% from the line in 20.9 minutes a night.

Hart is talented, but there’s just too much depth on this team at his position and Nickeil Alexander-Walker is going to make it tough for Hart to find consistent minutes.

D’Angelo Russell: 18.0 points, 3.0 assists, 2.8 treys, 0.5 steals, 2.8 turnovers per game on 44.1% shooting from the field and 90% from the stripe in 24.8 minutes a night.

D’Lo is going to have a ton of opportunity in Golden State, and as one of the younger guys on the roster, he’s far less likely to have his load managed. That said, he was a fifth-round player while having a career-high last year due to some efficiency issues and a lack of defensive stats, so I’m a bit skeptical he’ll make the jump to being a third-round player this season, which is where he’s being drafted. I’m fine with him in the fourth round, though.

Mike Conley: 11.3 points, 3.8 assists, 1.0 trey, 0.5 steals, 2.0 turnovers per game on 35.1% shooting in 23.3 minutes a night

Conley is a stud, and it’s not uncommon for vets to have muted preseasons. I’m not worried about him and love him as a fourth-round pick.

Hassan Whiteside: 8.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, 2.7 turnovers per game on 66.7% shooting in 17.2 minutes a night

Whiteside was looking good until he tweaked his ankle and reminded everyone of his serious durability concerns. The risk becomes less of an issue if you can pull him around Round 8, but I wouldn’t rely on him as my No. 1 big man.

Ricky Rubio: 7.3 points, 5.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 2.0 turnovers per game on 36% shooting in 21.9 minutes a night

Rubio looks like a solid fit in Phoenix, and per-36, he put in averages of 12.1 points, 9.3 dimes, 4.9 boards, 2.7 steals and 3.3 turnovers per game, so he could be in for a nice bounce-back year with the Suns. The only real downside here is the potential for late-season rest, as the Suns may want to prioritize Ty Jerome’s development once they’re no longer playoff relevant, but Rubio should be solid while he’s on the floor.

Derrick Favors: 3.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 1.0 block per game on 40% shooting in 14.8 minutes a night

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m just not feeling Favors this year. I’m nervous about him staying healthy, and I’m just not sure he’s the best fit in Alvin Gentry’s system. He’ll cost you a fifth-round pick on draft day, and there are just other people I’d rather have in that range. 

Delon Wright: 4.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.2 turnovers per game on 38.1% shooting in 19.7 minutes a night

I was quite high on Delon coming into this season, but he didn’t give me much to work with based on his preseason numbers. Even if you project them to per-36 (a minute total he’s unlikely to average) his numbers still aren’t great: 8.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 0.7 steals. The offense will run through KP and Doncic, and if Delon doesn’t churn out elite defensive stats, he won’t be very fun to own. I’d still say he’s worth a late-round pick, but these numbers were discouraging.

Dwight Howard: 8.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks, 2.8 turnovers per game on 59.1% shooting in 18.0 minutes a night

Everyone is sleeping on D12, but I think he could have a nice bounce-back year even if he’s only averaging 20 minutes a night. He seems to have bought into his role, and I’m fine with taking a flier on him if I’m punting free throws.

Kent Bazemore: 7.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.6 triples, 2.4 steals, 2.0 turnovers per game on 43.8% shooting in 18.9 minutes a night

Bazemore doesn’t offer a ton of upside, but he might be able to do enough with the threes and steals to warrant ownership in standard leagues. He’s another last-round target.

Jared Johnson

A hoops fanatic, Jared Johnson has been a member of the Rotoworld team since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Jae_Tha_Truth, and feel free to send him your questions regarding trades, draft strategies and all things fantasy basketball.