Discussion NBA RDT Dream Team Discussion

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https://www.rotoworld.com/article/basketball-daily-dose/embiid-lillard-may-need-bubble-wrap

Sixers at Thunder
Joel Embiid was ruled out a day in advance of this scrimmage due to "right calf discomfort." Philly coach Brett Brown has raved about Embiid's work ethic during the shutdown, which reportedly included six-day-a-week workouts for long stretches, so hopefully it's not a matter of overuse. Beyond team chemistry, the 'will he, won't he' dynamics of Ben Simmons' jumpshot, and Embiid's fit (or lack thereof) alongside Al Horford, it's probably Embiid's health that will determine Philly's fate in the postseason. They're only 2.0 games out of the No. 4 seed going into the seeding games, but 'homecourt advantage' is basically a non-factor and they're in no danger of being overtaken for the No. 6 seed. Expect Philly to be super-cautious with Embiid prior to the playoffs. When coach Brown was asked if Embiid might sit out any of the Sixers’ seeding games, he replied, “I believe we're just getting out in front of stuff, and being smart with it.”

With the Sixers' star big man unavailable, it was the Ben Simmons show. He fell one assist shy of a triple-double in just 26 minutes during this exhibition, and clearly the lower back nerve impingement that bothered him in March is no longer a concern. He had 21 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and one steal, and the triple-double categories are basically a lock every single night. Unfortunately, his usual fantasy deficiencies were still obvious, as he went 4-of-7 at the line with five turnovers and zero 3-point attempts. That matters far more for season-long value, though, so DFS owners can shrug it off.


Suns at Celtics
Deandre Ayton is 2-of-2 from downtown during exhibition play, after hitting another one as part of an 11-point, seven-rebound effort in limited minutes on Sunday. That's not an impressive feat without proper context – Ayton is a combined 0-of-7 from deep in 101 regular-season NBA games. He focused on 3-pointers during the NBA's break and said he has a "green light" to take them, with coach Monty Williams even remarking on Ayton's improved shooting arc. Will it carry over into real games? That remains to be seen. As a DFS owner, I'd rather see him living in the paint where his eFG% skyrockets and rebounds are plentiful. But as a season-long owner, it would be terrific if he could establish himself as even a mild perimeter threat – in addition to helping another category, it could eventually force defenses to counter him with more mobile big men, thus playing into his hands when he is backing them down on the block. Either way, he just turned 22 years old and has all the hallmarks of an early-round fantasy monster for years to come.

For the Celtics, the most impactful guy only played nine minutes. That's Kemba Walker, who returned from ongoing knee soreness to score six points with one rebound and zero assists. Overuse appears to be the culprit for his ailment, so the Celts likely had him on a strict 10-minute limit, easing him into things as cautiously as possible. He looked as quick as ever, which is critical, but DFS players should be wary of him during the 'seeding' portion of the Orlando bubble. "I would love to just be like, 'You know what? I don't care about no minutes restriction or anything of that nature.' But obviously I can't," Walker said after the game. "I want to be there for my teammates when we're in the playoffs. Hopefully, by then, the restrictions and things of that nature are completely off." Boston has sufficient depth and playmaking to limit Walker without conceding games, which all but ensures they'll keep his minutes in check until the postseason. Plan accordingly.

Gordon Hayward played well for Boston with 17 points, six boards and three assists, Jayson Tatum couldn't make a shot early but warmed up to finish with 16 points and nine boards, and Jaylen Brown led the team with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including three 3-pointers. The Tatum/Brown/Hayward trio is a handful, Marcus Smart (10 points on 5-of-5 shooting) continues to show improved offense to go along with his menacing defense, and if Kemba regains his typical swagger the Celtics will be a tough out in the playoffs. The biggest question mark is at center, where Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter (and possibly Robert Williams) form a somewhat awkward platoon. For fantasy purposes, Tatum is easily the safest bet in Boston.

Pacers at Mavericks
Victor Oladipo looked really good during Sunday's scrimmage, showing the speed and physicality that made him such a tough matchup prior to his ruptured quad. The old 'Dipo was back for stretches in this game, and although he somehow didn't get to the free-throw line, he wasn't shying away from contact at all. He shot 6-of-12 from the field and 4-of-8 from the deep, setting up his perimeter shots with drives that kept defenders on their heels. He finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one block and zero turnovers. Despite the excellent performance, though, he said afterward that he'll wait to see how his knee responds to playing 28 minutes before deciding if he'll play Tuesday vs. the Spurs. At the very least, this should improve the odds that he suits up when the games start to count (he's still undecided and "assessing [his status] every day”).

Aaron Holiday started in place of Domantas Sabonis (foot) and it sounds like he'll stick there, with Nate McMillan saying he's "been the guy that has pretty much filled in when we've lost a starter." He was pretty quiet with eight points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block, and I won't be eager to play him in DFS as long as Oladipo, Malcolm Brogdon (17 points, seven boards, six dimes), T.J. Warren (20 points) and Myles Turner (15 points, eight boards) are totally dominating the offense. Although Holiday's minutes will go up as a starter, there's clear downside since playing with the first unit should cut into his usage rate. In the footnote department, it looks like JaKarr Sampson will emerge as the default backup center for Indy ahead of T.J. Leaf. Neither guy has fantasy appeal.

Taking his cue from Ben Simmons, Luka Doncic also came one assist short of a triple-double on Sunday with 20 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in 24 minutes. He was limping after getting hit in the leg in the third quarter and didn't play after that, but the Mavs were likely going to pull him for the fourth quarter anyway. It didn't look serious enough to put him on the Rotoworld injury report, but if there's the slightest doubt about his health the Mavs will likely rest him for their exhibition finale on Tuesday. Thus far, Doncic has looked fantastic in scrimmage play and he's poised to pick up where he left off in March with averages of 28.7 points, 9.3 boards, 8.7 assists, 2.9 triples and 1.1 steals. Lest anyone forget, the kid is still 21 years old. His fantasy potential is unknowable.

As mentioned in the intro, Kristaps Porzingis wasn't available for this game because he missed his COVID-19 test on Saturday. He apologized to the team and should be cleared to rejoin all team activities on Monday, but it's a reminder that players don't need to have coronavirus (or leave the Orlando bubble without permission) to face DNPs.
 

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Blazers at Raptors
There were two main stories for the Blazers on Sunday. The most important was Damian Lillard being ruled out due to left foot inflammation. He had X-rays, which were negative, and coach Terry Stotts is reportedly "hopeful" to have his star play in Portland's exhibition finale on Tuesday. Lillard has soreness on the bottom of his foot and I don't understand why they'd take even the slightest risk in a scrimmage, but presumably that just indicates the Blazers' lack of concern. It sounds like he'll be fine when real games begin, but if not it'll be the C.J. McCollum show – McCollum was in mid-season form on Sunday, posting 21 points (7-of-12 FGs, 4-of-5 FTs) with an array of seemingly effortless moves to get buckets. As I wrote in his blurb, “Without Lillard on the court this season, [McCollum] is averaging 44.1 DFS points with 34.5% usage, compared to 32.0 DFS points and 23.3% usage with Dame on the court.”

The second main story was Hassan Whiteside returning from a calf/Achilles injury and starting alongside Jusuf Nurkic. Whiteside was on a minute-limit but still chipped in six points, five boards and two blocks in 18 minutes. Not to be overshadowed, Nurk was awesome with 17 points (4-of-13 FGs, 8-of-10 FTs), 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. He also took five 3-pointers, making one of them, which is three more attempts than he's ever taken in a regular-season game. His impact at both ends of the court can't be overstated. As I wrote in a blurb after Sunday's game, "If Portland is able to earn the No. 8 seed, or at least fend off New Orleans, Sacramento and San Antonio to force a play-in, Nurk will be a massive reason for their success." Head coach Terry Stotts obviously isn't messing around with his desire to pair these two in an oversized frontcourt, though you have to think it will be matchup-dependent. Against a team like the Mavs or Lakers, for instance, how can Whiteside/Nurkic defend mobile guys who step outside with ease? I'm not sure they can, but it'll be fascinating to watch the attempt.

The headline for Toronto is that Fred VanVleet exited early after banging his left knee in the first quarter. He did return to the bench, which is a good sign, and the Raptors simply had no incentive to risk playing him in an exhibition. Nick Nurse said as much after the game. Assuming the knee injury is minor, the Raptors may have found a silver lining in the play of Terence Davis and Matt Thomas, who combined to shoot 8-of-13 from downtown.

Rockets at Grizzlies
James Harden played 35 minutes in an exhibition game vs. the Grizzlies. That's the big takeaway for me, not the fact that he predictably scored a game-high 31 points along the way (7-of-15 FGs, 12-of-16 FTs, five 3-pointers). Harden also had eight rebounds, nine assists, seven turnovers, two steals and one block, but I can't get past the playing time. Every team in the bubble is playing their main guys 20-30 minutes out of an excess of caution, but Mike D'Antoni allowed Harden to play 35. He explained afterward, "I tried to take James out with about four minutes to go, but he wouldn't have it. He wanted to play and win." At least we know who calls the shots. Harden elaborated, "I just don't want to play 20 minutes, in reality when the eight [seeding] games come, I'll be playing 35-36 minutes, it's gonna be a huge shock. I wanna prepare myself." My assumption is that he'll sit out Tuesday's game vs. the Celtics, but based on that quote, maybe not.

Elsewhere for the Rockets, Russell Westbrook still looked rusty with 3-of-14 shooting and five turnovers (not that those are highly unusual numbers), but nothing about his movement or energy level on the court suggests a problem. He'll be fine. DeMarre Carroll returned from a hamstring injury and grabbed nine rebounds in 11 minutes. Houston was likely to be safe with him regardless, but it didn't help that he was thoroughly outplayed by fellow reserve forward Jeff Green (18 points on 6-of-7 shooting in 28 minutes). Harden played 35 minutes, P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington both fouled out, and coach D'Antoni was using coaches' challenges. In a scrimmage.

After the Rockets' first exhibition game, Harden said his team's defensive success will boil down to "transition defense and rebounds ... If we can do those two things, we give ourselves a chance." The Grizzlies led 18-0 in transition points in the first quarter alone tonight, and they won the battle of the boards 51-48. It wasn't enough for a victory, but it speaks to the style at which Memphis wants to play with Ja Morant running the show – he looked great with 17 points, nine assists, three steals, one block, one board and one 3-pointer in 31 minutes.
 
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Anyone like the look of Jarett Allen? Heres the blurb from rotoworld:

Jarrett Allen hit 9-of-12 shots (and 1-of-4 free throws) for 19 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 30 minutes of Monday's loss to the Jazz.
That's a nice game against the likes of Rudy Gobert and Allen should get all the minutes he can handle in the restart. He's likely going to be one of the most rostered centers in DFS for the restart with DeAndre Jordan at home.
 
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Will crunch the numbers tonight but at first glance.

Westbrook, Simmons
Harden, Doncic
Embid
Tatum, Ingram
Jokic, Bam

15mil wasted

Early thoughts are targeting teams who have more to play for week 1.
 
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Will crunch the numbers tonight but at first glance.

Westbrook, Simmons
Harden, Doncic
Embid
Tatum, Ingram
Jokic, Bam

15mil wasted

Early thoughts are targeting teams who have more to play for week 1.
Simmons and Embiid only 3 games in this week
 
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At this stage
Lillard, Doncic
Harden, DeRozan
Jokic
James Tatum
Davis Greek

Probably change by tip off, will monitor Davis, James and Lillard status
 
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Thanks, are you sure
Yep, hadn’t checked before you mentioned it though. Need to get back on it tonight.

Assumed there would be enough flexibility for all teams to have same schedule (2x4 game weeks). Just at random check it looks like LA have 6 games week 1🤔...which can’t be rite
 
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When I clicked on week 22, that indicates 76ers have 5 games

Week 21 goes Fri to Fri
Week 22 goes Sat to Sat
Presuming that’s Australian time
 
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