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$10,000 Fantasy Basketball Contest — Tonight Only

Don’t get scared, it’s Halloween but you could win $10,000 playing Fantasy Basketball tonight and it’s FREE entry contest.

Ben Nadeau



If you’re preparing for a quiet night in this Halloween, you might as well make some money doing it. In fact, there are few things that sound better than scarfing down that ninth candy bar while watching your DraftKings squad run up the score.

So, ignore that doorbell, save yourself a pile of candy and enter DraftKings’ latest contest, the NBA $10K Hot Shot. Before you get started, here are the pertinent details:

FREE NBA Pick’em Fantasy Contest:
– $10,000 in prizes
– FREE with your first deposit of at least $5
– New pick’em format is faster to play
– Simply select your players from each tier
– Limited spots available, so join now
– Starts tonight at 7 PM EST

Below, I broke down some of the best value picks and sleepers for tonight’s lineup, minus a few players to keep things a bit mysterious.

Can you beat me?

PG — Giannis Antetokounmpo — Milwaukee Bucks — $12,500

There’s no reason to get cute with this one: Play Antetokounmpo no matter what. Stop right now and don’t do anything else until the Greek Freak has been plugged into all of your lineups. Antetokounmpo is averaging a gaudy, league-topping 34.7 points to go along with 10.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and two steals per game. On top of that, the 6-foot-11 wrecking ball has already been touted as a serious candidate for his first-ever MVP award.

Tonight, he’ll take on the Oklahoma City Thunder and, in all likelihood, Paul George. Although George is a fantastic defender, Antetokounmpo has been held under the 30-point mark just once so far this season. If you’re not choosing Antetokounmpo to build your team around, you’ll be starting at a disadvantage.

(Of course, Russell Westbrook is a fine choice here as well, but I’d suggest riding the hottest hand for as long as possible…)

SG — Allen Crabbe — Brooklyn Nets — $4,100

Thanks to a sprained ankle sustained in training camp late last month, the Nets have been extremely careful with Crabbe through the first seven games of the year. This makes the newly acquired sharpshooter a hit-or-miss play in daily fantasy sports and his DraftKings price certainly reflects that. However, when the guard is burning up, there are few shooters that can let it fly as efficiently as Crabbe can. Thankfully, a matchup with the Phoenix Suns may be just what the doctor ordered.

So far, opponents have shot a staggering 43 percent against the Suns from three-point range, above and beyond the highest mark in the NBA. Crabbe is averaging only three rebounds and just over an assist per game, so selecting him comes with the caveat of a potentially low floor. But at just $4,100 for tonight’s contest, Crabbe is my roster’s cheapest selection and faces a salivating opportunity against one of the league’s worst defenses — sign me up.

SF — Bogdan Bogdanovic — Sacramento Kings — $4,300

The Sacramento Kings are just 1-5 and sit in 14th place out in the Western Conference — still, things aren’t all bad as Bogdan Bogdanovic has emerged as an early bright spot. Bogdanovic is technically a rookie but his handful of overseas experience have helped him acclimate fast to the NBA brand of basketball. An ankle injury delayed Bogdanovic’s debut, but he’s played fine since rejoining the team last week. His averages of 12.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and two steals per game won’t get drafters overly excited, but his opportunity definitely should.

The Pacers are currently allowing 112 points per game, the fifth-highest average in the league, and will still be without budding superstar Myles Turner to anchor the defense. Even better, Bogdanovic brought in a haul of four steals during Sunday’s loss to the Washington Wizards — so he’s got the ability to make those DFS point-boosting contributions as well.

PF — Domantas Sabonis — Indiana Pacers — $5,700

With the aforementioned Turner struggling to fully recover from a concussion, Domantas Sabonis has quickly turned into a reliable fantasy option. Sabonis has earned double-doubles in three of his last four games, including his solid line of 22 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and a single three-pointer in the Pacers’ surprise win over San Antonio. The basement-dwelling Kings own a defensive rating of 108, the seventh-worst mark in the league, so there should be plenty of opportunities for Sabonis to go to work once again. With only four games on the schedule tonight, you could do worse than banking on a hungry sophomore that’s averaging 13 points and 10.2 rebounds.

As of publishing, Sabonis is questionable for tonight’s game as he battles an upper respiratory infection — but if he’s good to go, deploy him with confidence.

C — Steven Adams — Oklahoma City Thunder — $5,800

The popular selection at the center position will likely be Andre Drummond, but Adams offers similar production for a cut-rate cost. Everybody’s favorite New Zealander is off to a hot start in 2017-18, largely executing off the attention that must be funneled toward the new three-headed monster of Carmelo Anthony, Westbrook and George. Adams is averaging 14.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and a block per game and will now face a somewhat thin Bucks’ frontcourt. With Greg Monroe out for a few weeks, it’ll fall on Thon Maker and John Henson to contain Adams.

Drummond certainly outranks Adams in a few spots, but the $2,400 difference in cost means that the latter is a plunge worth taking this Tuesday night. Not every player on your roster will be a breakout candidate, but that’s OK — Adams will almost definitely get you somewhere within the range of 30-40 points each game. For those striving for a finish in the money, Adams is worth every dollar.

G — Lonzo Ball — Los Angeles Lakers — $7,000

Lonzo Ball has been a polarizing presence well into his rookie season and that dismal 31.1 percent rate from the floor hasn’t helped to persuade any of his detractors. Still, there’s no denying that Ball has the potential to be a fantasy goldmine every time he steps on the court. He struggled against the defensively-minded Utah Jazz (nine points, four assists on 3-for-10 shooting), but he should bounce back tonight against the Detroit Pistons.

Ball’s baseline averages of 10 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 three-pointers per game makes him a no-brainer gamble, even if he doesn’t explode like he did in Phoenix almost two weeks ago. He’ll likely be defended by the hard-nosed Avery Bradley but his intriguing floor and high ceiling are too good to pass up.

As I mentioned earlier, you can’t get all the answers from this cheat sheet and you’ll have to grab the few final pieces on your own. Still, I love nothing more than a little fantasy-friendly trash talk, so feel free to brag on Twitter if you beat me. I’m over at @Ben__Nadeau, so come let me know which players I missed out on and what your favorite type of candy is — Happy Halloween!

Again, when you’re ready to get started, click here to sign up for the NBA $10K Hot Shot.

Ben Nadeau is a Boston-based writer in his second year with Basketball Insiders. For five seasons, he covered the Brooklyn Nets for The Brooklyn Game.


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2018 NBA Draft Diary

NBA Daily: The Winners Of The NBA Draft

Simon Hannig breaks down the winners from Thursday’s 2018 NBA Draft.

Simon Hannig



The 2018 NBA Draft has come and gone, and although many teams have improved coming out of this loaded draft, five teams seemed to have walked away as the biggest winners.

The Phoenix Suns Got Their Guy

The Suns made a couple of splashes in the draft, selecting DeAndre Ayton with the first overall pick.

The Suns then drafted Zhaire Smith, but later traded his rights to the Philadelphia 76ers for Mikal Bridges.

In the second round of the draft, Phoenix selected Frenchman Elie Okobo and George King from Colorado, each of whom should be able to contribute right away. Ayton should be the starting center come opening night and Bridges could also start for the team immediately. If not, Bridges will be a valuable weapon coming off the bench for a team who is trying to win games and get back into the playoffs.

Does Mo Bamba Have The (Orlando) Magic?

The Orlando Magic got a stud in Mo Bamba, whom they surprisingly selected with the sixth overall pick in the draft. They later drafted Melvin Frazier in the second round. It was a bit surprising that the Tulane product lasted that long, but the Magic benefitted.

Orlando got a player who can contribute right away and could compete for a starting job. Frazier is a great rebounder and defender and could change the team’s defense all by himself. The club now has two young core pieces they can build around in Jonathan Isaac and Bamba and a young contributor in Frazier.

Although the team’s offense will likely be work in progress, they can be very scary on the defensive end.

Now, we’ll all wait to see if Bamba, the New York product, can carry the Magic back to respectability.

Atlanta Hawks Will Let It Fly

After drafting Luka Doncic with the third overall pick, the Hawks ended up sending him to Dallas in exchange for Trae Young and a future protected first round pick. The pick is top-five protected the next two years, top-three protected in 2021 and 2022 and unprotected in 2023, according to Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson.

With their second first round pick, the Hawks took sharpshooter Kevin Huerter from Maryland and, with the 30th overall pick, selected Omari Spellman from Villanova.

Atlanta appears to building themselves in the way of the Warriors, getting sharpshooters in Young and Huerter. It is no surprise they are doing this as their current general manager, Travis Schlenk, worked with Golden State before taking the job with the Hawks.

The Rich Got Richer In Boston

The Celtics once again got a steal in the draft, as they were the beneficiaries as it relates to Robert Williams from Texas A&M. He is an athletic big man who plays great defense and rebounds the ball very well. Williams has lottery talent but ended up falling to the Celtics, who selected him with the 27th pick of the draft.

Williams averaged 2.5 blocks per game at Texas and should also be able to provide second chance opportunities for the team. Williams, as he averaged three offensive rebounds per game in college.

Luka Doncic Found A Good Home

The Dallas Mavericks walked away from the 2018 NBA Draft with two foundational pieces in tow, Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic. Their other moves were also tremendous, as they drafted Jalen Brunson from Villanova, acquired Ray Spalding from Louisville in a trade with the Sixers and drafted Kostas Antetokounmpo (Giannis’ younger brother) with the last piece in the draft.

For Mark Cuban, it may take time to develop the pieces, but if things could go well, the Mavs might have some productive years ahead.

Doncic was thought to be one of, if not the best player available in the draft, so getting him at the expense of a protected future first round pick seems like a fair trade. Depending on how ready he is to contribute at the NBA level, the sky could be the limit.

Of course, every year, there are surprises. Some good, and some bad. However, walking away from the 2018 NBA Draft, these five teams all appear to have improved themselves immensely.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

NBA Draft Night Trades

David Yapkowitz breaks down the trades that took place during the 2018 NBA Draft.

David Yapkowitz



Another NBA Draft has come and gone. With rumors swirling all week about possible pick/player movement, the night remained relatively uneventful. There were a few trades that occurred, however. Here’s a quick breakdown of the movement that happened on draft night.

1. Atlanta Hawks/Dallas Mavericks

The Hawks and Mavericks completed the first trade of the night early on in the draft. Leading up to the draft, there were questions about how high Luka Doncic was going to be drafted. It was widely assumed that he wouldn’t slip past Dallas at No. 5. The Mavericks weren’t going to take that chance as the Hawks drafted Doncic with the intention of trading him to Dallas for Trae Young.

Both teams ultimately get what they need. It’s been reported that the Hawks might move on from Dennis Schroder this summer and they’ll need a point guard to replace him. Young is an explosive scorer who will fit in nicely with Atlanta’s rebuild. He can score from anywhere on the court and he’s a great playmaker as well.

For the Mavericks, they get a guy to add to their own young core with Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes. Doncic has the size to play next to Smith in the backcourt. He’s quite possibly the best playmaker in the draft with a solid offensive game as well.

2. Charlotte Hornets/Los Angeles Clippers

The Hornets and Clippers consummated the second move the night by swapping their own draft picks. The Hornets took Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with the 11th pick and then immediately traded him to the Clippers for Miles Bridges, whom Los Angeles selected at No. 12.

For the Hornets, they get a guy who can play both forward positions. Bridges is more of a small forward but in small ball lineups, he can slide over to the four. Offensively he is at his best when he puts the ball on the floor and attacks the rim. He’s a decent shooter too.

The Clippers get a point guard who was rumored to climbing up many draft boards as the night approached. Gilgeous-Alexander is a solid pick for them provided both Patrick Beverly and Milos Teodosic’ injury history. He can also play off the ball if need be. He’s got the physical tools to be a very good defender at the NBA level. It’s not at all far-fetched to imagine him as the future long-term starting point guard for the Clippers.

The Hornets also got two future second-round picks from the Clippers.

3. Philadelphia 76ers/Phoenix Suns

The Sixers and the Suns had the next move of draft night, also swapping their picks. The Sixers selected hometown hero Mikal Bridges with the No. 10 pick and later traded him to the Suns for the No. 16 pick, Zhaire Smith.

Bridges made a lot of sense for the Sixers. Not only is he a local guy, but his mother works for the team as well. He was a talented player who fit their team. He gave a post-draft press conference raving about being a Sixer all the while he had been traded already. But such is life in the NBA. Instead, Phoenix gets a guy that’s ready to contribute in the NBA right away. He’s the prototypical 3&D type guy.

For the Sixers, Zhaire Smith is another guy who was steadily climbing the boards in the days leading up to the draft. He’s a very athletic prospect with good defensive instincts. He probably won’t play much right away, but he does have the potential to end up being one of the better rotation players in this draft.

The Sixers also get a 2021 first-round pick from the Suns via the Miami Heat. It’s highly likely this ends up being a lottery pick and thus giving the Sixers the chance to add a high-end talent to an already potent group.

4. Second-Round moves

There are a few second-round moves that were made as well.

For one, the Hawks selected Devonte Graham with the 34th pick and traded him to the Hornets for two future second-round picks. Graham is another NBA ready guy who can come in and immediately contend for backup point guard minutes behind Kemba Walker.

The Sixers were involved in another deal sending the No. 38 pick Khyri Thomas to the Detroit Pistons for two future second-round picks. Thomas is a player that many projected to go in the first round. For a team that didn’t have a first-round pick coming into the night, the Pistons essentially picked one up. It’s possible he turns out better than Detroit’s most recent first-rounders Henry Ellenson and Luke Kennard.

The Sacramento Kings drafted Gary Trent Jr. with the 37th pick only to trade him to the Portland Trail Blazers for two future second-round picks. Trent was one of the better shooters in the draft and that’s what he projects to the be in the NBA. He’s probably a few years away from earning a spot in the rotation but he was also a possible first-round pick. He’s more NBA ready than Anfernee Simons who the Blazers took in the first-round.

The Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets swapped second-round picks with the Magic sending the No. 41 pick Jarred Vanderbilt to the Nuggets for the No. 43 pick Justin Jackson and a future second-round pick. Vanderbilt is a project in every sense of the word. He’s extremely raw and probably needed more time in college. But he’s got long-term potential and could pay off in the future. Jackson, on the other hand, was possibly a first-round talent had he entered the draft last year. He’s going to have to make the roster but could be a 3&D guy.

In the final move of the night, the Hornets traded the No. 45 pick Hamidou Diallo to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Diallo is a guy that had he come out last year, probably would’ve been a first-round guy. In any case, he is also very raw and will need seasoning in the G-League. He’s got all the physical tools and skill to be a good rotation NBA player.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#28 – Jacob Evans – Golden State Warriors

Jesse Blancarte



With the 28th overall pick, the Golden State Warriors selected Cincinnati Junior Jacob Evans.

Evans represents a solid pick for nearly any NBA team. Evans fits in the mold of a potential 3-and-D role player. Evans improved in his time at Cincinnati, culminating in his junior year, where he scored 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Evans spent three seasons at Cincinnati and rounded himself into a versatile two-way player who can bring a lot of value at the NBA level.

Evans is a very cognitive player, especially on the defensive end. He has a better grasp of his limitations than most players at this stage of their respective careers and is able to maximize his individual defensive ability within a team concept. Evans generally makes the right rotations, double-teams at the right times and funnels his opponents to where his teammates are when he cannot contain the ball-handler on his own. With the right coaching, he could become a valuable defensive wing in an NBA rotation sooner than some anticipate.

Additionally, Evans is more than just a shooter. He led his team in assists last season and has some skill as a playmaker. Evans will be more of a shooter and finisher in the NBA, but the ability to make the right pass, swing the ball when he isn’t open and take the ball off the dribble when necessary make him an intriguing prospect. This is especially true when you consider how valuable a player like Khris Middleton has become over the years, adding layers to his 3-and-D skill set each season.

The Warriors aren’t in need of an influx of talent but are happy to add Evans regardless.

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