Brooklyn Nets @ Milwaukee Bucks
Spread: BKN -1.5
Kyrie Irving - OUT
Bobby Portis - OUT
Donte DiVincenzo - OUT
Semi Ojeleye - OUT
Khris Middleton - PROB
Rodney Hood - QUEST
Fireworks right out of the gate. I expect nothing less from the NBA. We have the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks hosting the team they bounced from the Eastern Conference playoffs last year, the Brooklyn Nets.
11th in pace last year (Pace up spot)
We know. We know. No Kyrie Irving here. Have no fear, however, Brooklyn still has Kevin Durant and James Harden. Without Kyrie Irving on the floor last year, Harden and Durant both had usage rates over 33% and both averaged over 1.6 FP/min. They’re as elite as they come and it’s hard not to look at both of them and think they won’t smash at their current salaries.
As for the rest of the Nets…
We know Joe Harris is going to be in the starting lineup, but the Nets could go in many different directions with the rest of their rotation. Harris ended his preseason with a bang playing 29 minutes while hitting seven three’s. The most common preseason starting lineup we saw was Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown joining the other three aforementioned.
The Nets have a very deep big man rotation with Nicolas Claxton, Paul Millsap and the return of LaMarcus Aldridge too. It was interesting to see in the final preseason tune-up, Aldridge saw 24 minutes off the bench. He’s seemingly worked his way back into game shape. I’d have more interest in Claxton if he were to draw the start. I have a lot of interest in Aldridge whether he’s starting or coming off the bench. Millsap is a solid FP/min guy, but he likely won't see a massive workload here.
We mentioned Bruce Brown’s name, but both he and Patty Mills should play a prominent role in the guard spots with Kyrie Irving out. We know Mills’ long history being a score-first guard and he could get a LOT of good looks with this BKN team this year. It’s worth mentioning that Jevon Carter played 20+ minutes in all four preseason games.
2nd in pace last year (Pace down spot)
The champs are here! The Bucks are going to be deploying a lot of the same guys as last year, at least in terms of their star players. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton are all in play and we know that, but who else?
With Donte DiVincenzo and Bobby Portis out, there are clear voids that have been left by this Bucks team that they’re looking to fill. We already know Brook Lopez is going to be starting here, but Portis was his backup, so we could see Lopez stretched a bit here with limited help at the center spot. Also...REVENGE! Grayson Allen likely is a name people gravitate to here as he could potentially draw the start at shooting-guard. He’s the higher upside play as opposed to Pat Connaughton as we suspect one of those two will start here.
Some other names to potentially consider for Milwaukee would be backup point-guard George Hill as Hill could play off the ball or be the primary ball handler in a lineup that has Holiday at SG. Jordan Nwora was a STAR during the preseason and maybe he did enough to crack Milwaukee’s rotation? Could be worth a flier on a two-gamer.
Golden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Lakers
Spread: LAL -3.5
Klay Thompson - OUT
James Wiseman - OUT
Jonathan Kuminga - OUT
Axel Toupane - OUT
Wayne Ellington - OUT
Trevor Ariza - OUT
Talen Horton-Tucker - OUT
Malik Monk - PROB
Kendrick Nunn - QUEST
3rd in pace last year (Pace down spot)
The Warriors roster percentage is going to be quite interesting on this slate. Everyone is going to rush to jam Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole into their lineups. It is what it is. Yes I’m including Jordan Poole into that mix because shooting-guard is thin and Poole had a big preseason and as long as Klay Thompson is out, Poole will be deployed heavily.
After that, I like Draymond Green here. I like what the Warriors did around Green, surrounding him with shooters everywhere you look. This could be a year and a game in which Green is finding open shooters left and right and ends up with a patented double or triple-double by the time the clock hits 0:0 in the fourth. UPDATED: Expected to be on minutes limit
Andrew Wiggins is fine but I wouldn’t consider him a must have. I like the other, cheaper pieces better here. Otto Porter Jr. is going to be someone who will make or break a lot of DFS lineups this year because he can really stroke it, but he can also be found standing in the corner doing absolutely nothing too. UPDATED: Expected to be on minutes limit
I think what Golden State does at the center spot is interesting. Sure they’re going to use Draymond Green at center some and start Kevon Looney there, but we saw last year that Steve Kerr loved Eric Paschall in that small-ball center role. Well, this offseason Nemanja Bjelica was in that role for Golden State and he can do a little of everything when he’s on the floor. He could push for 20 minutes or so in this spot and in that role, he has upside. Prefer Bjelica to Looney in tournaments.
21st in pace last year (Pace up spot)
What to do, what to do. That’s going to be the age old question this season when all three of the Lakers studs are playing. On this slate, I’d rank Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, but I’m tempted to go with Westbrook’s triple-double prowess against Stephen Curry’s poor defense first at the same time.
With the “Big 3” garnering a lot of attention, the Lakers have a LOT of position battles and a lot of different ways the minutes may play out. If Kendrick Nunn, currently listed as questionable, sits, then Rajon Rondo could enter the rotation and play a sizable role off the bench. We know what he can do in a short period of time.
Who grabs the final starting spot as well? I suspect it’s Kent Bazemore and he’s REALLY cheap and could have some appeal in all formats too. Whether Bazemore starts or not, we should expect Carmelo Anthony and Malik Monk to play a sizable roles off the Lakers’ bench too.
I think the most interesting part of the Lakers lineup is the center spot. Yes Anthony Davis is going to spend some time there, but Frank Vogel said he doesn’t love him at center. That means DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard are going to get some solid run. Jordan figures to get some solid ownership if/when he’s announced the starter against the Warriors front court.