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PJ Washington
Basketball Daily Dose

The real opening night - PJ Washington!

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: October 24, 2019, 3:48 am ET

Welcome to the first real Daily Dose of the new season after an 11-game night. If you’re new around here the goal of this column is to cram as much fantasy information into a couple thousand words as possible. So if you’re looking for love for Karl-Anthony Towns, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard there are probably better places to look. While we usually mention the big names here, the focus is on guys who might actually be available in your league. Follow me on Twitter right here! Here we go!

Hornets 126, Bulls 125 – P.J. Washington (27-4-1-1-1 w/ seven 3-pointers) and Dwayne Bacon (22-5-3-2 w/ two 3-pointers) stole the show for the Hornets on Wednesday night. Washington, the 12thpick in the draft, and Bacon not only dominated, but got more good news when we learned that Nicolas Batum broke the middle finger on his right hand during the game (get well soon). Washington and Bacon are two of the pickups of the night in fantasy and I don’t have much of a problem with dropping Batum to get them. Washington and Bacon both started and should continue to do so. Devonte’ Graham also came through with 23 points, eight assists, four rebounds and six 3-pointers on 7-of-9 shooting off the bench. Starting PG Terry Rozier struggled tonight, hitting just 2-of-10 shots and Graham played over him down the stretch. But unless Rozier does this about four or five more straight times, it’s still going to be his show in Charlotte. Keep an eye on Graham in 12-team leagues, pick him up in 14 to 18-team leagues, and make sure Bacon and Washington aren’t available in any of your leagues. And don’t panic on Rozier or Miles Bridges (8 points), as it was just one game. 

For the Bulls, Lauri Markkanen went nuts with 35 points, Wendell Carter Jr. just missed a double-double with 12 & 9 with a block, and Zach LaVine filled the stat sheet with a 16-6-7-2-1-1 line. Otto Porter Jr. and Tomas Satoransky both struggled but don’t panic on them. Coby White picked up Sato’s slack with 17 points and seven assists, putting him on the fantasy radar, and Thaddeus Young scored 17, also off the bench. I still think it’s Sato’s PG job to lose, but both White and Kris Dunn (11 points, 4 steals) made statements tonight, meaning this thing could quickly devolve into a three-headed timeshare in Chicago. But I need to see another game or three out of this crew before panicking or celebrating.

Pistons 119, Pacers 110 Andre Drummond went off for a 32 & 23 double-double with three steals, four blocks, and he even hit 8-of-10 free throws for the line of the night. Markieff Morris started for Blake Griffin (knee) but hit just 3-of-11 shots on an off night. In fact, all of the Pistons starters (Tony Snell, Reggie Jackson and Bruce Brown) outside of Drummond struggled tonight. Luke Kennard, who started a lot last season, blew up for a career-high 30 points and six 3-pointers, and Derrick Rose was healthy enough to go for 18 points and nine assists in 27 minutes. Jackson is going to have to play better if he wants to hold off a healthy Rose and he appeared to be bothered by a back injury late in the game. Jackson is one of the worst starting PGs in fantasy. I’m intrigued by Kennard, especially with Griffin out, but he’s mainly a scorer and won’t usually contribute across the board. But I would drop someone I was already thinking of cutting to pick him up. We’ve been hyping Christian Wood with the Griffin news, but he played just four minutes. I’d much rather have someone who went off tonight than Wood. 

The Pacers got nothing from their bench and the starters all scored in double digits. Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis and Malcom Brogdon were particularly effective and I’m still not sure how the Pacers lost this game. Turner was a beast with 25 points, nine boards, two steals, three blocked and four 3-pointers. Yes, please! T.J. Warren went to the locker room after a nasty fall, so make sure he’s OK on Thursday. 

We’ve barely started and I’m already running out of real estate, so I’m switching to quick-hits mode now. 

Magic 94, Cavaliers 85 Jonathan Isaac (1-of-3, 3 points) and Aaron Gordon (3-of-9, 9 points) were highly disappointing, while Markelle Fultz had 12 points, six dimes and a monster dunk in the win. Fultz is worth a stash if you have someone to cut, but don’t give up on Isaac or Gordon just yet. Gordon hasn’t been able to throw it in the ocean for several games (including preseason) now. 

For the Cavs, Kevin Love was impressive with 11 & 18, so enjoy it while it lasts. Cedi Osman had 13 points and three 3-pointers, so put him on your watch list, Tristan Thompson, possibly the most boring center in the league, had a 16 & 11 double-double and Collin Sexton had 16 points and three 3-pointers with just two assists. Rookie Darius Garland started but hit just 3-of-9 shots and a couple 3-pointers for eight points and five dimes. I’d sit tight with both guards. Larry Nance Jr. was solid with 9 & 11, while Kevin Porter Jr. missed all six of his shots in 17 minutes. If owned, he’s droppable for a super-hot FA. Jordan Clarkson hit just 2-of-12 shots in 18 minutes but is another guy worth keeping an eye on. 

Sixers 107, Celtics 93 – There wasn’t much to see in Philly, as the five starters (Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, Al Horford, Joel Embiid and Josh Richardson) all went off, and the bench did next to nothing. Matisse Thybulle got 22 minutes off the bench and had two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer, but hit just 1-of-5 shots. Keep a close eye on him as steals, blocks and threes are what he does. 

Kemba Walker hit just 4-of-18 shots in his Celtics debut, while Gordon Hayward (illness) and Jayson Tatum both went off. The bench was incredibly quiet, but Robert Williams played 11 minutes with five points, a steal and a block. Just keep him on your radar, especially if you need a big man. Jaylen Brown had just eight points in 21 minutes, but I’d hang onto him for now.

Heat 120, Grizzlies 101 – The Heat got a massive 27-7-7-1-1-1 line from starter Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo had a 14 & 11 double-double, Kendrick Nunn started for Jimmy Butler (unknown personal issue) and went off for 24 points, three assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, and rookie Tyler Herro had 14 points, eight boards, two steals and a 3-pointer in the start. If Winslow or Herro are sitting on your waiver wire I think they’re worth grabbing, while Nunn looks like a deep-league stash once Butler returns. Goran Dragic came off the bench behind Winslow and played 25 minutes, finishing with a 19-3-3-1-2-2 line. He hit 9-of-10 free throws but I think he’ll struggle to play this well on most nights if coming off the bench behind Winslow. Just keep in mind that when Butler is back it will impact the entire lineup. Kelly Olynyk had seven points, eight boards, one steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer in 22 minutes. He’s a decent option if you need a big man. 

The Grizzlies box score wasn’t pretty but Ja Morant had a 14-4-4-1-1 line with six turnovers. Not great, but not a bad debut, either. Jaren Jackson Jr. was quiet, but DO NOT drop him. Jae Crowder started at forward and hit just 3-of-11 shots, but had a solid line with 13 points, five boards, two assists, a steal and two 3-pointers. He’s a serviceable forward if you need one. Brandon Clarke had eight points, seven boards, a block and a 3-pointer, and I’m not cutting him anytime soon, while Tyus Jones backed up Morant to the tune of 15 points, seven assists and two steals. He’s a nice handcuff if you own Morant, but Ja is going to be given a long leash. I think it will be tough for Tyus to keep this up over the long haul, but you never know.  

Timberwolves 127, Nets 126 OT – Karl Anthony-Towns lived up to his No. 1 pick billing with a crazy line that included 36 points, 14 boards, three steals, three blocks and seven 3-pointers. Wow. The rest of the Wolves box score was pretty vanilla and there wasn’t much to see off the bench. I’d generally recommend holding rookie Jarrett Culver, but I could also see dropping him for a hot free agent. Culver had just four points, two rebounds and a steal in 16 minutes.

The Nets got 50 points from Kyrie Irving in his debut, but he fell down on a spin move and missed the game-winning shot at the buzzer in OT. His ball handling and stat line were ridiculous tonight, and he looked amazing. Taurean Prince came through with a 15 & 11 double-double with two steals, a block and two 3-pointers, picking up where he left off in the preseason. Make sure he’s not available in your league. Jarrett Allen started and played 36 minutes, while DeAndre Jordan played just 17 ticks off the bench. I think we got our answer on that timeshare tonight, and I hope you drafted Allen instead of DAJ. However, DAJ could alternate starts with Allen so we’ll have to monitor the situation. My man Caris LeVert came through with a 20-5-4-3 line with a 3-pointer, which is impressive when you consider what Kyrie did. And Joe Harris had 14 points and four 3-pointers as a starter. The Nets bench didn’t get enough minutes to make a fantasy dent and Spencer Dinwiddie might not be anything more than handcuff to Irving. Rodions Kurucs played just seven minutes, which is serious drop territory if you own him.

Mavericks 108, Wizards 100 – My man-crush Luka Doncic hit 12-of-19 shots, four 3-pointers and 6-of-8 free throws on his way to 34 points, nine boards, three assists, two steals and six turnovers. Yeah, the TOs were still high, but there’s a lot to love about the rest of it, including the shooting percentages. Kristaps Porzingis looked great and had 23 points, four boards, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers. If he’s playing, he’s going to go off. Hopefully he won’t miss as many games as we think he will. The rest of the Mavs’ box score was pretty ‘blah,’ but I still think there’s hope for Delon Wright after his 5-4-3-1 stat line. It may just take more time than any of us wants to wait. I’m not dropping him, but you might consider it in a 10-team league. Tim Hardaway left this game and then returned with a sprained ankle and could miss time. He’s a serious drop candidate. 

Bradley Beal was ejected in this one after Luka got in his head, and shook hands with anyone he could before exiting. He hit just 7-of-25 shots and 1-of-11 3-pointers to finish with 19 points, six boards, nine assists and three steals. Better days are ahead, but this was a pretty atrocious start for Beal. Starters Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant both double-doubled and should be owned everywhere, Ish Smith struggled and Isaac Bonga had nine points with a steal, a block and a 3-pointer. Just keep an eye on him as long as he’s starting. 

Spurs 120, Knicks 111 Trey Lyles started at PF for the Spurs and had eight points and 11 boards, making him radar worthy. DeMar DeRozan hit just 3-of-10 shots for a quiet 13 points and LaMarcus Aldridge was slow and steady with 22 points, eight boards, two blocks and a 3-pointer. Bryn Forbes started at SG and hit 7-of-12 shots and three 3-pointers for 20 points and five boards, while Dejounte Murray hit 7-of-10 shots for a line of 18-8-6-3 with a 3-pointer. I’m all in on Murray this year, but Forbes and Lyles could bounce in and out of the starting lineup, making both of them risky pickups in both leagues. 

For the Knicks, Marcus Morris (26), Julius Randle (25 & 11) and RJ Barrett (21-5-2-2) all came through. Barrett hit 9-of-13 shots and played 37 minutes, and all three players should be owned in fantasy leagues. Randle tweaked his leg late, so be sure to check on his status. Bobby Portis got a start and had an 8-5-7 line, while Allonzo Trier lasted just seven scoreless minutes in the start. Kevin Knox had 13 points and five rebounds, so keep an eye on him. Elfrid Payton came off the bench and played 26 minutes with a 11-2-8-5 line, making him the point guard to watch in NYC. But the PG position in New York could be messy all year. Dennis Smith Jr. played just 10 minutes, while Frank Ntilikina played three minutes. 

Jazz 100, Thunder 95 Donovan Mitchell’s comeback season got off to a flying start with his 32-12-3-1 line on 14-of-22 shooting, while backcourt mate Mike Conley hit just 1-of-16 shots in the opener. He’ll bounce back in the next one so don’t do anything drastic. Joe Ingles was quiet off the bench with seven points, but played 33 minutes, which is the key. He should be fine. Bojan Bogdanovic (16 points) sprained his left ankle but played through it. It’s possible he’s iffy for his next one. 

For the Thunder, Rotoworld fave Shai Gilgeous-Alexander went off with 26 points and three 3-pointers on 10-fo-23 shooting, but only added two rebounds, one assist and one steal. Don’t worry, it’s coming. Danilo Gallinari had 21 points and a full stat line and should be owned everywhere. Steven Adams hit just 1-of-8 shots for three points with 11 rebounds and no blocks, but it’s simply too early to panic on him. Nerlens Noel only played five minutes. Dennis Schroder hit just 1-of-8 shots in 31 minutes, clearing the way for a bounce-back performance.

Nuggets 108, Blazers 100 – Nuggets starters Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic, Will Barton and Jamal Murray all put up nice numbers, while Gary Harris hit just 3-of-11 shots and committed five turnovers. I like Harris so I would not recommend dropping him after this dud. Jerami Grant played 21 minutes off the bench with nine points, two rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers, but will likely continue to struggle as long as Millsap is healthy. I dig Grant, but he’s definitely a drop candidate if you want to pick up a hot free agent, along with most of the other Denver bench players. 

For the Blazers, Zach Collins started and played 31 minutes for eight points, five boards and two blocks. Rotoworld is high on him and I’d recommend hanging onto him. Hassan Whiteside had a 16 & 19 double-double with two blocks in his PDX debut, C.J. McCollum hit just 5-of-18 shots for 12 points, and Damian Lillard was fun with 32 points, eight dimes, a steal and three 3-pointers. The Bench was unimpressive, but Kent Bazemore played 25 minutes (1-of-7 shooting, but 5 steals), meaning he’s still worth a close look in all leagues. 

Suns 124, Kings 95 – The Suns trounced the Kings and nearly got double-doubles from four of their five starters. Kelly Oubre had a 21-9-1-1-2-1 line, while Deandre Ayton (career-high 4 blocks), Ricky Rubio and Devin Booker all double-doubled, as Booker added 10 dimes to his 22 assists. Dario Saric started at PF and played 21 minutes, but had just seven points, four boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer. I think I’d rather own a guy like Brandon Clarke, but Saric could blossom in Phoenix once he gets going.  

The Kings got a 14 & 10 double-double from Marvin Bagley, 28 points and six triples from Buddy Hield (tweaked his foot tonight), and a dud (8 points, 5 assists, 3-of-7 shooting) from De’Aaron Fox (do not panic). Starting center Dewayne Dedmon played just 14 minutes with three points, six boards and a block. I was expecting mores so I’m going to give him another few games before panicking. 

I hope your teams did well tonight!

Steve Alexander

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