Steve Alexander

Offseason Beat

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NBA Opening Night Preview

Monday, October 28, 2013


Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is dealing with a hamstring injury but it’s not thought to be serious, while Al Jefferson practiced through his ankle injury on Monday and looks like a go for the Bobcats on Wednesday.

 

Bulls center Joakim Noah says he’s playing through his groin injury on Tuesday, while Kirk Hinrich is iffy with a concussion. Hinrich shouldn’t be in most fantasy lineups, either way.

 

Cavs center Andrew Bynum actually practiced on Sunday and while he still hasn’t been cleared to play, it’s possible he could see action in Wednesday’s game. But he’s not a guy you want in your lineup until he’s proven that he can play.  Jarrett Jack is still not at full strength, but should have a big role in Cleveland.  I like burning a late pick on him in most leagues.

 

Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey was held out of contact in Monday’s practice leaving him iffy for the opener with a broken thumb. Bench him until you see him play. Brandon Jennings will miss at least the first four games of the season with a fractured jaw.

 

David Lee should be over his illness in time for the opener for the Warriors, while Harrison Barnes doesn’t sound likely to suit up for Wednesday night due to a foot injury.

 

Dwight Howard left Monday’s Rockets practice after being poked in the eye but it’s unlikely it would keep him from playing. Just watch for updates.  James Harden’s knee injury doesn’t sound serious and I expect him to go.

 

Danny Granger has been shut down for three weeks making Lance Stephenson the starting shooting guard in Indy.  Stephenson is worth owning in most leagues, in my opinion.

 

Brandon Knight practiced on Monday and should be good to go for the Bucks, despite a hamstring injury.  Ersan Ilyasova, who deems himself at “80 percent’” practiced on Monday but his status for the opener is still up in the air.  You can probably find a safer player to start.

 

Minnesota’s starting center, Nikola Pekovic, is dealing with a quad injury, but it’s not serious and he should be good to go.

 

Iman Shumpert missed Knicks practice on Monday due to soreness, and we’re guessing it’s related to his elbow.  With J.R. Smith suspended for five games, the Knicks need Shumpert to play, so I expect to see him out there on Wednesday.  Kenyon Martin and Amare Stoudemire could play in the opener, but I really don’t see any reason to own either player at this point.  They’re going to be hurt off and on all year and will see limited minutes when healthy enough to play.  There's also talk that Metta World Peace will start over Andrea Bargnani, who has struggled offensively and plays no defense.  MWP is worth a late look, as is Bargnani.

 

OKC’s Russell Westbrook will miss at least the first month of the season as Reggie Jackson will fill in for him.  But you already knew that.

 

Alex Len’s ankle injury isn’t serious and he should be good to go, but Miles Plumlee is now the starting center for the Suns.  Markieff Morris is suspended for the opener, meaning he’ll only play two games this week.  Channing Frye should get plenty of touches in the opener.

 

Wesley Matthews should start for the Blazers after being cleared from a heart problem.

 

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry will play with a splint on his broken finger.  He should be able to be effective despite the injury, but the splint will take some getting used to.

 

I hope you had a good drafting experience this year.  Good luck!

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Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2014-15 NBA season marks his 13th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
Email :Steve Alexander



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