The NBA season is here! The season tips off with two games, both of which featuring teams favored to compete for their conference championships. The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics 4 Ė 1 in last seasonís Eastern Conference Finals, but in the offseason Kyrie Irving requested a trade and ended up as the new leader of the Celtics. That game could have bad blood, and expect the Cavaliers crowd to boo him all night.
The second game of the night features two teams likely to lead the NBA in offense, with Chris Paul having joined James Harden and crew to try to compete with these Warriors. Thereís always the chance for rust in the early games of the season, but if these teams play to potential we could have two great match-ups with plenty of points scored all around.
James Harden, HOU at GS ($11,000): Harden is the highest-priced player on Tuesday, but the reality is that thereís such a huge gap between his expected value and that of the third or fourth best option that he makes a good play. This will be the first official game with both Harden and Chris Paul in the backcourt, but against the Warriors team that is the goal, look for Harden to play well.
Kyrie Irving, BOS at CLE ($8,200): Irving requested a trade out of Cleveland this summer, breaking up a team that had made three straight NBA Finals and won a ring. He put the target squarely on himself, and seemed to relish the attention. On Tuesday, he visits his old home of Cleveland for the only time this season, and it would seem that he would want to make a statement that he is ready to be a superstar in his own right.
Derrick Rose, CLE vs BOS ($5,500): Rose is the starting point guard in Cleveland, but is also expected to get plenty of run as the offensive engine for the second unit. He said in the offseason that he is in better than usual shape, and his price is so nice that heís close to a must-play on Tuesday.
Kevin Durant, GS vs HOU ($9,800): LeBron James is just a bit more expensive than Durant, and has the potential to outproduce him as he welcomes former teammate Kyrie Irving back to Cleveland. However, despite the likelihood that heíll play, LeBron is listed as questionable with an ankle issue. Plus, Durant also has huge potential and a great match-up against a Rockets team that scores a lot of points, plays a very high pace, and isnít known for playing a lot of defense.
Kevin Love, CLE vs BOS ($7,000): Love should be playing a lot of center on Tuesday, and he is facing a Celtics defense that still isnít very stout in the middle. Love absolutely obliterated the Celtics in the playoffs last season, averaging almost 23 points and more than 12 rebounds in those five games.
Trevor Ariza, HOU at GS ($5,600): Ariza had a really nice preseason, and enters the season with the hot hand. He averaged 16.5 points and 8.7 rebounds over his last three preseason games, and seems to play well with all of the space and opportunities set up by James Harden and Chris Paul.
Al Horford, BOS at CLE ($7,200): Horford is a consistently solid producer and has the best production history among centers playing on Friday. He also will spend much of the night matched up with Kevin Love, who is not a strong center and thus affords Horford the opportunity to have a good start to the season.
Clint Capela, HOU at GS ($6,000): Capela had an excellent preseason, averaging almost 17 points and almost 10 rebounds with multiple combined steals/blocks in his last three outings. He was a borderline breakout player last season, and seems primed to make a bit of a leap this season.
Tristan Thompson, CLE vs BOS ($5,100): Thompson lost his starting job to Kevin Love, but even as a sixth man he should get near starter minutes. He is not as good of a prospect on Tuesday as the other two centers listed, but with a modest price tag he does have double-double upside, even if those types of performances will be more of a rarity off the bench than in times past.