Pierce has yet to appear in a game this season and it doesn't look like he'll be suiting up anytime soon either. The future Hall of Famer saw his minutes drop drastically once joining the Clippers last season and once he returns, he'll be hard-pressed to match last year's MPG total of 18.1. For now, consider Pierce week-to-week.
Evans was listed as questionable heading into the season opener with a right ankle injury, but he was cleared to make his Grizzlies debut after coming out of warmups no worse for the wear. With the Memphis head coach David Fizdale opening the season with Andrew Harrison and James Ennis as his starting wings, Evans was tasked with leading the second unit. Though he was able to reach double figures, Evans' production off the bench was overshadowed by rookie second-round pick Dillon Brooks, who erupted for 19 points in 29 minutes. Evans' healthy shot total still suggests that he'll likely maintain the highest usage of any bench player on the roster, which should allow him to carry value in deeper settings if he's able to avoid the injury bug.
Despite garnering the start at small forward, Jackson was the least productive member of the starting five while also seeing the lowest minutes allotment among the first teamers. Veteran Garrett Temple ended up logging a robust 30 minutes off the bench at Jackson's expense, although he wasn't exactly efficient himself while generating just five points over that span. Jackson will look to make more of an impact in a Friday road tilt against the Mavericks.
Hill certainly did his part in the narrow loss, but he was hit with a critical foul on what initially appeared to be a steal of an Eric Gordon inbounds pass with 26 seconds remaining and the Kings down 98-95. The veteran point guard is expected to draw starts at point guard over rookie De'Aaron Fox for the time being, but that arrangement is certainly subject to change as the season unfolds. In the interim, however, Hill should remain a solid source of scoring, rebounds and assists as one of the elder statesmen of a young Kings squad.
The 2017 fifth overall pick didn't let a second-team assignment for the opener stop him from outscoring a couple of members of the starting five and making a splash in his regular-season pro debut. Fox yielded the start at point guard to veteran George Hill on Wednesday, and although that arrangement may prove to be the status quo for the time being, the rookie could well vault into the top spot in due time, especially if he's able to churn out stat lines the caliber of Wednesday's on a consistent basis off the bench.
After a rough finish to preseason in which he shot between 18.2 and 27.3 percent in three of the last four games, Hield bounced back with a much stronger effort to kick off his first full season in a Kings uniform. The 2016 sixth overall pick drained four consecutive shots midway through the third quarter, a stretch that included a fall-away jumper and pair of threes. The Kings will hope to get plenty of similar efforts from Hield in the coming season, as he's being counted on as one of the cornerstones of a promising young core that also includes Willie Cauley-Stein, 2017 first-round picks De'Aaron Fox and Justin Jackson, and Skal Labissiere.
Labissiere's team-high five turnovers served as the one notable blemish on his otherwise strong opening night, as the 21-year-old continued to flash the same impressive form as he often did during preseason. Labissiere played a solid 18.5 minutes per game in his rookie campaign last year and should be in for a boost in that allotment, even if he remains behind veteran Zach Randolph (mouth) on the depth chart.
Cauley-Stein drew the start at the five while Kosta Koufos came off the bench, as head coach Dave Joerger has apparently committed to a full-fledged youth movement in the frontcourt. Cauley-Stein and fellow emerging big man Skal Labissiere looked very good in tandem during preseason, and with the latter also generating a double-double Wednesday, they appear set to offer more of the same in the current campaign. With the notable shadow of DeMarcus Cousins no longer looming over him, Cauley-Stein could be poised for a breakout season and should be highly reliable source of scoring and rebounding on the majority of nights.
Hilario picked up where he left off last season in his 2017-18 debut, providing a solid offensive and rebounding presence off the bench behind Clint Capela. The 16-year veteran is likely to once again see just under 20.0 minutes per contest on average this season and should remain a viable source of scoring and rebounding in very deep leagues.
The veteran big man went 0-for-5 from two-point range, but he was able to drain a couple of long-distance shots while also turning in a perfect effort from the charity stripe. After seeing a drop in scoring average and overall shooting percentage over that of his final Pelicans campaign in his first season in Houston, Anderson is looking to offer much more consistency as a floor-stretching four and complementary option to James Harden, Chris Paul (knee) and Clint Capela. He'll look to extend his season-opening streak of double-digit scoring to three games during the Rockets' home opener against the Mavericks on Saturday night.
Wednesday's stat line was a perfect snapshot of one of Ariza's trademark disappearing acts, a troublesome trend that he's often exhibited in recent seasons. The 32-year-old couldn't get anything from the field to drop and is now 3-for-15 overall in the first two contests of the season. He wasn't able to make up for the poor shooting night with production elsewhere either, and he may see a more reduced offensive role than in prior Houston campaigns due to the addition of Chris Paul (knee), the ongoing development of Clint Capela and the expected improvement of Ryan Anderson in his second Rockets season.
A night after a decent but unspectacular opener in which he played just 18 minutes, Capela took it up several notches Wednesday, generating a career-high rebound total in the process. The 23-year-old's most important points may have well come on his alley-oop dunk off a James Harden assist with 28 seconds left that gave the Rockets valuable breathing room by extending their lead to 98-93. While modest minutes may cap Capela's overall upside at times this season, he clearly has the potential to provide eye-popping numbers in the right matchup. He'll look to put together a successful encore against the Mavericks in the Rockets' home opener on Saturday night.
With Chris Paul (knee) ailing Wednesday, James Harden shifted over to point guard in his stead, allowing Gordon to enter the starting lineup at two-guard. While he had a ragged shooting night and committed what appeared to be a critical turnover on an inbounds pass with 25 seconds remaining, Gordon was bailed out on the latter by a replay review that determined a foul should be issued to the Kings' George Hill on the play instead. The veteran sharpshooter has started off the campaign with back-to-back 20-point-plus tallies, and he's proven aptly capable of reaching the mark whether off the bench or in a starting role. Gordon could be in for another start in Saturday's home opener versus the Mavericks should Paul remain sidelined.
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