• After dropping in a Rockets career-high 45 points on a night when James Harden scored a season-low 12 points, it is now more clear than ever that Russell Westbrook is no mere sidekick in Houston. While the Rockets are Harden’s team, Westbrook has been kicking into high gear in a way we’ve nevers seen a Rockets teammate of Harden produce ever. More on how Westbrook can “Russ-cue” the Rockets later, first, let’s check in on our add/drops and injury update from another Friday night in the Association.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Daniel Theis, C, Boston Celtics – 32 minutes, 16 points, six rebounds, four assists, one block, 7-for-12 FG

    Enes Kanter is hurting and looking likely to miss the weekend so if you’re in need of some big man stats give Daniel Theis a look. He was putting up solid value even before the Kanter injury and may warrant holding even beyond the time that Kanter is hurt. He is looking strong for the Celtics lately and it won’t be too hard for him to carve out a consistent role considering their need for good play from their big men.

    Elfrid Payton, PG, New York Knicks – 34 minutes, 13 points, 11 assists, four rebounds, one triple, two steals, 5-for-11 FG

    The Knicks seemed determined to give Elfrid Payton as many minutes as he can handle which means he is more than worth a look for your fantasy team. With assists being so scarce, Payton shouldn’t be available on any waiver wires given the role he has been playing for this Knicks team. It won’t feel sexy, but grab Payton and enjoy the well-rounded production for your team.

    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.

    Tomas Satoransky

    Tomas Satoransky came into this season with a promising role as the starting point guard for a lowkey talented Chicago Bulls team. With the Bulls still several seasons from seriously competing among the NBA elite, head coach Jim Boylen has even more reason to mess with rotations and play some younger and more developmental options in the rotation, causing Satoransky’s minutes to come down. I think you can do better at the end of your roster fishing for upside and Satoransky is safe to drop.

    Monte Morris

    When it was announced that Jamal Murray would miss some games due to injury, many fantasy players rushed to add Monte Morris – the presumed backup that would get a boost in value while Murray missed time. Unfortunately, Morris hasn’t done anything with the extra time and on Friday he moved back to a bench role. It seems there is nothing to see here after all and fantasy players can move on from this situation and look elsewhere form some waiver value.

    Injury Report

    Jimmy Butler sprained his right ankle in Friday’s game and did not return to action

    James Harden left the game on Friday with a thigh injury before returning later on.

    Alex Len suffered a left hip flexor injury on Friday and did not return to the game.

     

    “Russ-cuing” the Rockets

    It’s no secret that the Houston Rockets have been struggling to string together wins lately, but on Friday night Russell Westbrook offered some reasons for optimism in the Space City. Westbrook finished the game with 45 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, one steal and a perfect 13-for-13 from the free throw line. This comes one game after Westbrook scored 28 points with 16 rebounds, 8 assists and four steals. Over his last six games, he’s averaging 32.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 9 assists on excellent efficiency – especially from the free throw line, where he’s struggled in recent seasons.

    This is significant for a few reasons. First of all, these numbers are crazy and would be impressive regardless of the context. However, you consider the fact that Westbrook has really turned it on ever since James Harden started to really struggle, it shows how this Rockets team has a new dynamic that it’s been missing in recent years thanks to Russ. 

    Perhaps more importantly than the numbers themselves, is what the shot selection can tell us about Westbrook’s mentality playing with his old pal Harden in Houston. Without attempting a single three-pointer on Friday, Westbrook has now only attempted one triple in his last four games. For a guy who is frequently criticized for not being aware of his own flaws, this is a major development.

    Westbrook is being real with himself and committing to taking the types of shots that are most valuable to him – attacking the basket – rather than the contested middies and long-range triples that have often plagued him in recent years. This, more than anything, should give Rockets fans hope that he can “Russ-cue” them from the team’s recent struggles.

    Kawhi Leonard notches first triple-double

    On Friday, Kawhi Leonard notched a triple-double with 33 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. This doesn’t seem that crazy because Kawhi is an excellent basketball player and we’re used to seeing him do crazy things on the court. However this was crazy because it was actually the first triple-double of Leonard’s career.

    Leonard is always going to be load managed this season, but when he gets opportunities to play without Paul George like he did on Friday night it seems he has the potential to be even more special than we are used to on a regular basis.

Fantasy News

  • DeMarre Carroll
    SF, San Antonio Spurs

    The Rockets are expected to sign DeMarre Carroll after he clears waivers.

    The Spurs just waived Carroll, who played sparingly this season in San Antonio. He figures to be fill a depth role on the Rockets.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Jeff Green
    SF, Houston Rockets

    The Rockets have reportedly signed Jeff Green to a 10-day contract.

    Green was waived by the Jazz in late December. He played just 18.4 minutes per game there, averaging 7.8 points and 2.7 rebounds.

    Source: Tim MacMahon on Twitter

  • DeMarre Carroll
    SF, San Antonio Spurs

    The Spurs have agreed to buy out DeMarre Carroll.

    Carroll only played 15 games this season with the Spurs and there were rumors that he would be traded. It's possible that the Rockets will sign him, but he hasn't been worth owning in fantasy at any point this campaign.

    Source: Jeff McDonald on Twitter

  • Kris Dunn
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    According to reports, there is a growing expectation within the Bulls organization that Kris Dunn may miss the remainder of the season due to his right knee MCL sprain.

    Nothing is certain at the moment, but fantasy owners should prepare for the possibility that Dunn will be shut down. He has dealt with a lot of swelling and the Bulls are now five games behind the Magic, who currently hold the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Coby White could see steady minutes at guard the rest of the way, but he has only shot 37 percent from the field this season.

    Source: NBC Sports Chicago

  • Brandon Ingram
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    It's reportedly a "foregone conclusion" that the Pelicans offer Brandon Ingram a max contract this summer.

    No surprises there, as Ingram has erased the health concerns that lingered this summer with a huge season. He's blossomed into an All-Star after missing the end of last year with DVT in his right arm and is averaging career-highs across the board. New Orleans is a great spot for fantasy value so this is a win for everyone involved, assuming pen does eventually meet paper.

    Source: The Athletic

  • John Beilein
    , Cleveland Cavaliers

    John Beilein and the Cavs have discussed the possibility of Beilein stepping down from his head coaching job during the All-Star break, per Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Beilein's transition to the NBA has not gone well, but abandoning a five-year commitment so soon would be absolutely shocking. He has struggled to make the jump from the college game, altering his game plans and terminology in an effort to help get the Cavs on the same page, though he's had a few notable off-court missteps and has had trouble relating to his players. Even if he doesn't leave in the coming days, one has to imagine that Beilein won't be in Cleveland much longer.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    Giannis Antetokounmpo could not will his team to the win against Team LeBron on Sunday in what was the most competitive All-Star Game we have seen in quite some time.

    Antetokounmpo scored 25 points with 11 boards on 12-of-21 shooting. He had two clutch blocks on LeBron James to keep his team alive, but ultimately Team LeBron was able to overpower Team Giannis. Antetokounmpo's value is being dragged down by free-throw shooting and turnovers, but he remains a top-30 asset nonetheless.

  • Anthony Davis
    PF-C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Anthony Davis secured the win for Team LeBron on Sunday with a game-winning free throw.

    Davis scored 19 points with nine boards on 9-of-16 shooting. Kyle Lowry pulled him to the ground to send him to the line with a chance to win the game and AD delivered. Davis remains the No. 1 player in 9-cat formats and should have no issue maintaining that spot.

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Kawhi Leonard won the first Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP Award with 30 points as Team LeBron beat Team Giannis 157-155 on Sunday.

    Leonard came out the gate hot as he knocked down eight triples prior to the extremely competitive fourth quarter. He turned it up with some clutch steals down the stretch and helped Team LeBron secure the win. Leonard is a lock for top-10 value as we shift our focus to the second half of the season.

  • Derrick Jones Jr.
    SF, Miami Heat

    Derrick Jones Jr. won the Dunk Contest on Saturday in an epic showdown with Aaron Gordon.

    Jones and Gordon extended the Dunk Contest into overtime and treated us to some of the best dunks in recent memory. Jones put on a spectacular performance with one 360, between-the-legs dunk that was reminiscent of Vince Carter. Gordon dunked over Tacko Fall in his final dunk and put up dunks worthy of a trophy himself. Jones earned the nickname of Airplane Mode on Saturday and is an option at the end of your bench in 14-team leagues.