Jordan Clarkson had an all-around solid game on Thursday, recording 11 points (5-11 FG), six assists, four rebounds and a steal in a 105-97 loss to Toronto.
Clarkson had a breakout campaign last year and the Los Angeles Lakers will continue to develop him as their starting shooting guard of the future. Some regression could be coming though, as the offseason additions of D'Angelo Russell and Lou Williams could take some minutes away from the guard. In any case, look for him to provide nice counting stats in an offense that needs as much support as possible.
Julius Randle was impressive on Thursday, dropping 17 points (7-10 FG) five rebounds and three assists across 23 minutes in a loss to the Raptors on Thursday,
Randle will make headlines with an impressive behind-the-back pass to Kobe and it shows his versatility. After a broken leg ended his season last year in his opening game, it appears Randle is here to do some damage. With the lack of depth the Los Angeles Lakers have, Randle should be a big contributor and the Lakers will give him all the minutes that he can handle to see what they got. He could be a nice sleeper pick in fantasy drafts with the Lakers leaning on him to do big things.
Kobe Bryant posted a solid line of Thursday, recording 16 points (5-11 FG, 4-4 FT), three rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 105-97 loss to Toronto.
This was probably Bryant's best game of the preseason and it's a bit surprsing seeing him playing so much. You'd think a 19-year veteran wouldn't play many preseason minutes, but this is a case of Bryant trying to get back into basketball shape. It's unclear which Kobe will show up this season, but a 20-point scorer with a low field-goal percentage sounds like a good bet. The best thing fantasy owners could ask for would be for him to become more of a distributor, as Kobe has the ability to do so.
Cory Joseph played well on Thursday, recording 18 points (8-13 FG), three rebounds and two assists in a 105-97 win over the Lakers.
Joseph showed some signs of promise in San Antonio when filling in for Tony PArker last season and he'll have a similar role in Toronto. The young guard will likely be used on days when Kyle Lowry needs rest and should provide value for daily formats when that occurs. Don's expect much in yearly formats, but he;s worth keeping an eye on if there are any injuries to the backcourt.
Kyle Lowry dropped 25 points (8-13 FG, 4-6 3PT, 5-6 FT) and six assists in a win over the Lakers on Thursday.
Lowry missed the preseason opener with some groin soreness, so the 25-point performance is definitely a good sign. After posting career-highs across the board last year, Lowry should have the keys to the Toronto Raptors offense once again. After struggling earlier in his career, Lowry has really blossomed into a special player and he credits it to staying healthy. He'll need to do just that to live up to expectations this season.
DeMarre Carroll put up 18 points (6-10 FG, 3-5 3PT), six rebounds, one assist and one steal in a 105-97 win over the Lakers on Thursday.
Carroll should see an almost identical role that he saw with the Hawks and that makes him relevant in almost every format. The only worry is that he'll have to play third-fiddle, behind the ball dominant-guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Look for Carroll to post a very similar line to his 12.6 point, 5.3 rebound, 1.7 assist, 1.3 steal averages from last season.
CJ McCollum contributed 19 points (7-13 FG, 4-6 FT), five assists, one steal and one block in a win over Golden State on Thursday.
McCollum is one of the breakout candidates of the season, as he may see the largest boost of minutes out of any player in the association. He has some fantastic ability to score, as he once led the NCAA in that category at his time at Lehigh University. It's hard to judge exactly what he'll do, but he should have no problem seeing 25-plus minutes per game with all the departures Portland had in the offseason.
Allen Crabbe was hot on Thursday, scoring 25 points (9-12 FG, 5-6 FT) and contributing four assists and two steals across 25 minutes in a 118-101 win over the Warriors.
With the losses of Nicholas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Trailblazers will need someone to step up and Crabbe is a formidable candidate. The most impressive stat of tonight's performance is that he posted an absurd +42 in the plus-minus category. There's not much depth at the shooting guard or small forward positions and that alone should garner Crabbe plenty of opportunities this season. He'll have to compete with Al-Farouq Aminu, Gerald Henderson, Maurice Harkless, and C.J. McCollum for minutes this season.
Damian Lillard posted a strange line on Thursday, scoring 22 points (3-18 FG, 15-17 FT) while recording six rebounds, three assists, and a steal in a win over the Warriors.
This may be a sign of what Lillard's season will look like, as he should put up millions of shots in an offense that will rely solely on him with the departures of LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicholas Batum. The counting stats should be up this season, but his percentages will likely see a decline. The assists may be lacking as well, as there aren't many other weapons in Portland to rely on.
Draymond Green posted a 14 point (4-7 FG, 1-4 3PT, 5-7 FT), eight rebound, four assist, and two steal line in a 101-118 loss to Portland on Thursday.
This is simply what Green does, as he provides in one way or another every single night. The roster is almost competently identical to the championship roster from last season and Green should have no problem matching or surpassing his impressive numbers. Green finished last year averaging 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.