The final six teams make their season debuts on Thursday, several of which are sporting new looks after big player movement. The reigning MVP gets to play with new teammates Paul George and Carmelo Anthony for the first time, against Anthonyís old team. The Clippers enter the post-Chris-Paul era on the night that their cross-town rivals enter the Lonzo Ball era. And the Bulls trot out a roster almost completely devoid of front end NBA talent, against a consistent Raptors squad that basically returned its whole team. Should be an interest night, so letís look for some value.
Kyle Lowry, TOR vs CHI ($8600): Lowry is a known commodity at this point, a borderline DFS superstar when healthy that has a tendency to wear down as the year goes along. Since itís game one, though, he should be fresh and ready to take advantage of a grossly inexperienced Bulls team. Really, the biggest risk to his production might be the blowout potential of the game.
Lonzo Ball, LAL vs LAC ($6800): Ball has been incredibly hyped, in large part because of his dad, but he has a very NBA-friendly game and the Lakers have committed to this being his team. As such, he has nightly double-double potential at a currently modest price. The biggest difficulty may be his match-up against rugged defender Patrick Beverley, but Ball is more about creating for others than himself, so he should still be able to produce.
Tim Hardaway, Jr., NY at OKC ($5500): Hardaway was paid a boatload of money by the Knicks this summer, with intents that he become their primary perimeter offensive engine. The Knicks have a scoring void with the departures of Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose, and Hardaway is the main candidate to join Kristaps Porzingis as a front line scorer for the team.
Blake Griffin, LAC at LAL ($9500): Griffin has a history of playing well with Chris Paul, but erupting when Paul was injured. Paul is now in Houston, and Griffin is now healthy, so he should be poised to detonate on Thursday against a Lakers defense that is weak in the paint.
Danilo Gallinari, LAC at LAL ($6800): Gallinari has flirted with stardom while in Denver, with injuries and teammate competition as his biggest impediments. He sat much of the preseason for precautionary reasons with minor injuries, but he is expected to start on Thursday and has very little competition at all either at his position or as a scorer in the Clippersí starting lineup.
Brandon Ingram, LAL vs LAC ($5800): The Lakers have some interesting questions to answer at power forward, as Julius Randle is battling talented youngsters Larry Nance Jr. and Kyle Kuzma for minutes. And there could be value there, especially if Nance or Kuzma get a big opportunity. But Ingram is the safe, steady choice among Lakers forwards. He ended last season on a very positive note, and in the preseason he seems ready to pick up from that spot and improve going into his sophomore season.
DeAndre Jordan, LAC at LAL ($8200): Jordan will have to answer questions about whether he can score now that Chris Paul is gone, but on Tuesday he has a good matchup against an offensive minded/light defense/light rebounding center in Brook Lopez. That should allow Jordan to do the things that he likes to do on the court.
Robin Lopez, CHI at TOR ($5600): Lopez was overall solid, with moments of brilliance and moments of disappearance last season. This year he starts off on a thin frontline, with teammates Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic unavailable after a practice scuffle. On a team without a lot of options, Lopez could have a solid game on Thursday.
Jonas Valanciunas, TOR vs CHI ($5400): Valanciunas is a nightly double-double threat when he gets the minutes. Thatís the big question, because the Raptors like to play small ball. All of the centers on Thursday come with some degree of question marks, but Valanciunas is the least expensive one with a realistic expected value that could span legitimate starter scoring range.