• Friday’s Daily Dish: Come to the Whiteside

    Can we all take a moment and appreciate the fact that Hassan Whiteside has grabbed 22 or more rebounds four times since December 18 after chipping in 23 points, 21 rebounds and five blocks in Friday’s game against Washington? Whiteside continues to be one of the biggest steals in drafts through the first part of the season and even though it’s become popular to hate on Whiteside due to the looming return of Jusuf Nurkic, I think it’s time to recognize he may be playing his way toward a secure role regardless. On to the adds and drops.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Jordan McRae, SG, Washington Wizards – 33 minutes, 35 points, five rebounds, four assists, four 3-pointers, one block, 12-for-26 FG

    Jordan McCrae was absolutely on fire off the bench in this one, and is a clear add while Bradley Beal is out. With big performances like this one though, and the dearth of talented options on this Wizards roster, McRae could have some value even when Beal returns. His play definitely warrants an opportunity to be a part of the regular rotation. Ride the wave and know the best-case scenario is the Wizards shut down Beal at some point and McRae becomes a late-season game changer.

    If you’re looking for more potential adds, check out our Pickups of the Night, part of the Hoop Ball Gametime Premium package.

    Drop Zone

    We’re not saying that you have to drop any of these guys, only that you should at least consider it depending who’s on your waiver wire. Your mileage may vary based on league size and team build, but for the most part we’ll try to cut dead weight in the 12-team range.

    Dario Saric

    Friday night gave us a look at the Suns plan for the frontcourt with DeAndre Ayton back and it wasn’t great for Dario Saric, who went to the bench in favor of Aron Baynes. Saric was already experiencing a downward trend in minutes, and appears he’s in danger of being out of the rotation all together after only logging four minutes on Friday. Move on from Saric, as he isn’t a player who can extract value out of limited minutes.

    Injury Report

    John Collins suffered a back contusion after colliding with Jayson Tatum and did not return on Friday,

    Come to the Whiteside

    When the Blazers made the move to grab Hassan Whiteside from the Heat last summer, it was viewed as a great acquisition to help soften the blow of losing Nurkic for most of the season. Ever since then, Whiteside has been viewed as having a theoretical expiration date in fantasy when Nurkic, who was quite productive last season, returns from injury. While all that may still be true, Whiteside is performing at a level nobody really saw coming and is easily one of the biggest values of the first half of the season.

    Through Friday’s games, Whiteside is averaging roughly 16 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks per game with 60% shooting from the field and 76% shooting from the line. That’s good for top-10 type production in category leagues from a guy that was taken mid to late rounds. Regardless of whether or not Nurkic may eventually spoil his value, his contributions so far this season have been a game changer for anyone who has him and that value should hold for longer than many think as Nurkic is still a ways from returning and will take some time to ramp up even when he does.

    Don’t expect THIS level of production to continue, but it seems something might be clicking for Whiteside in Portland and if someone in your league is itching to sell him it’s worth your while. There is always a chance that he keeps Nurkic from being full reintegrated into last season’s role for this year.

    Is it time to trust Lonzo Ball?

    With another excellent performance on Friday (23 points, five assists, two rebounds, two steals and two triples) Lonzo Ball is quietly averaging 21 points per game over his last three. That’s quite an uptick over his 11.3 points per game average on the season.

    Part of me wants to believe that Ball is finally healthy and beginning to realize some of the potential that made him the number two overall pick. There is even some evidence to that theory as Friday was his fourth straight game recording 30 or more minutes, including last Sunday’s 40 minutes against the Rockets which he had a triple double.

    The main reason to be skeptical would be the fact that this scoring outburst seems to be relying on some vastly superior three-point shooting than anything we’ve seen from Ball to this point in his career. There’s no way the 4.6 threes per game he’s averaging over his last three can sustain when he is only averaging 2.2 on the season. Either way, make sure Ball isn’t on any of your waivers and if you have him on your roster weigh some sell-high options and see if there are any big ballers in your league who think this hot streak is legit.

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