• It was a good Thursday night overall. We were greeted with the news that D’Angelo Russell and Rudy Gobert are expected back in their upcoming games. In last night’s games, James Harden, who was out for a couple weeks with a hamstring injury, made his return for the Rockets. Out much longer for the Cavaliers, Derrick Rose played on a minutes limit off the bench. He’s not quite the impact player he once was, but should he come close to 80 percent of his former self, then Rose could prove useful to some managers in deep leagues.

    Missing Kyrie Irving

    The Sixers defeated a Kyrie-less Celtics team 89-80. As expected they leaned on the production of their dominant big man, Joel Embiid. The Process did not disappoint with 26 points and 16 boards. Ben Simmons had a quiet night, while Robert Covington underwhelmed with a 5-point performance. With J.J. Redick out, T.J. McConnell stepped up for the Sixers with 15 points and three steals off the bench. As expected, Marcus Smart slid into the starting lineup for the Celtics. He uncharacteristically had just one assist to go with his 13 points. Young studs, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown buckled under the pressure and struggled with their offensive games. Thankfully, Marcus Morris provided a spark off the bench with 14 points and six boards.

    The Book of Isaiah

    Isaiah Thomas led the Cavaliers to this close 104-103 victory over the Magic with 21 points, four dimes, and three triples. This allowed LeBron James, who was the focus of Orlando’s defense, to take a backseat in a while. He finished the game with 16 points, six assists and six turnovers.  Kevin Love had an off shooting night (30% from the field) but still ended up with a double-double and some peripheral contributions. As mentioned earlier, Derrick Rose returned after an extended absence from the game and scored nine points in 13 minutes. He will be eased in slowly. A now, deeper Cavs squad means that LeBron could throttle down a bit and just might slip out of fantasy’s top-8. Elfrid Payton was the top performer in fantasy for the Magic with 19 points, eight assists and a full stat line.  Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier chipped in with 17 points apiece, while Bismack Biyombo‘s scoring finally fell back down to Earth with his 8-point, 10-rebound game.

    A Beard in the Hand is Better than Two Suspended Guys

    The Rockets steamrolled over the Timberwolves 116-98, despite the absence of Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green, who were both serving out suspensions after they decided to re-enact the invasion of Normandy in the Clippers’ locker room. Houston got James Harden (hamstring) back in this game but he was clearly dealing with some rust, as he ended up with just 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting from the field. No problem. Chris Paul (19 points, nine assists), Clint Capel (20 points) and Eric Gordon (30 points, seven threes) took care of business. The Rockets’ solid team effort overshadowed the monster line dropped by Karl-Anthony Towns who stuffed the stat sheet with 22 points, 16 boards, three dimes, two steals and five blocks. Of course, Jimmy Butler did his thing with 23 points and a diverse stat line. Unfortunately, Chris Paul got the better of Jeff Teague in this game and Wolves guard was limited to six points and three assists.

    Nurk It Like It’s Hot

    This game was all about the “Lillard-Nurkic Show” as the duo ran rings around the Pacers to lift the Trail Blazers 100-86. Lillard finished with 26 points and eight dimes, while Jusuf Nurkic finished with a 19-point, 17-rebound double-double. Shabazz Napier delivered off the bench with 13 points and a full line.

    Darren Collison and Victor Oladipo were the lone bright spots for the Pacers, who missed Myles Turner‘s (elbow) presence in the paint. The guard duo combined for 46 points but the rest of the team did not step up to their level of play in this outing.

Fantasy News

  • PelicansCast: Chat with Mark Romig of New Orleans and Company

    Huge episode alert!!! This week on the Pelicans’ Scoop Lyle chats with Mark Romig,  Chief Marketing Officer of New Orleans and Company (and Mercedes-Benz Superdome Announcer).  Lyle and Mark chat New Orleans tourism and the City’s Covid-19 response!


    SUBSCRIBE on iTunes and follow @HoopBallPels for Pelicans updates all season long!

    Follow @HoopBallPels for Pelicans updates all season long!

    Check out Manscaped.com and use code HOOPBALL20 for 20% off your order PLUS free shipping! #manscapedpod


  • Dwight Howard
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that Dwight Howard remains in his Atlanta-area home and the Lakers hope he will eventually join them in Orlando.

    The Lakers do not plan to replace Howard on the roster. They are being patient with Howard, but if he decides to not play in Orlando the Lakers will likely look to sign another center.

    Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter

  • Luc Mbah a Moute
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Shams Charania reported that the Houston Rockets plan to sign Luc Mbah a Moute for the Orlando restart.

    Thabo Sefolosha announced on Wednesday that he will not participate in the Orlando restart, leaving the Rockets with a need for an additional three-and-D wing. Mbah a Moute played 61 games for the Rockets in 2017-18 and averaged 25.6 minutes per game, so he is familiar with their system. Mbah a Moute will be a low-usage player that the Rockets can plug in at the end of their rotation and will provide them more depth, which could be imperative for teams given the COVID-19 concerns surrounding this Orlando restart.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Dwight Powell
    PF, Dallas Mavericks

    Dwight Powell has advanced in his rehab from a torn Achilles as he has been able to do some light shooting, agility work, and has been able to do some jogging on the treadmill.

    Powell suffered a torn Achilles in January and has no chance of participating in Orlando's restart. However, it is always good news to hear a player reach a milestone in terms of their rehab. Powell may not play an NBA game until the 2021-22 season as he continues to recover from one of the toughest injuries in basketball. This is a situation that will continue to evolve over the next year or so.

    Source: Callie Caplan on Twitter

  • Jaren Jackson Jr.
    PF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Head coach Taylor Jenkins told the media that they are "looking good, feeling good" in regards to the health of Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee), Brandon Clarke (right quad) and Justise Winslow (back soreness).

    Jackson and Clarke missed nine and eight games respectively prior to the shutdown while Winslow has yet to play a game for the Grizzlies due to an ongoing back injury. This appears to be great news for the young team as they will be at full strength when the league does resume. Clarke and Jackson definitely have fantasy appeal as they both finished inside the top-80 on the season. Winslow has potential but he is the riskiest of the three based on a brand new situation and the back injury that has caused him to miss 53 games so far this season. It is probably best to avoid Winslow for the league resumption and re-evaluate his fantasy value prior to the 2020-21 campaign.

    Source: Michael Wallace on Twitter

  • Thomas Bryant
    C, Washington Wizards

    Wizards center Thomas Bryant told the media that he is "100 percent healed" from a stress fracture in his foot and is doing everything on the basketball court ahead of the NBA resumption in Orlando.

    Bryant struggled to stay healthy prior to the league suspension as he played in 38 out of 64 games while the team also had him on a strict minutes limit for several of the contests that he was able to play. He is an intriguing fantasy option for the NBA restart but his recent injury history should be considered at draft time.

    Source: Fred Katz on Twitter

  • Caleb Swanigan
    PF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Blazers forward, Caleb Swanigan, has opted out of the resumption of the NBA season in Orlando.

    Swanigan averaged 13.3 mpg for the Blazers across 20 contests and is off the radar from a fantasy perspective. He will join Trevor Ariza who will also be sitting out the NBA restart. There was very little likelihood that Swanigan would have been part of the rotation in Orlando with Jusuf Nurkić and Zach Collins returning from injury.

    Source: NBC Sports Northwest

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Thabo Sefolosha will not participate in Orlando when the league resumes.

    Sefolosha was a deep rotation piece for the Rockets as he only eclipsed the 20 minute mark once this season. There isn't much of a fantasy impact here as Sefolosha played in just two of the team's final nine games.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Jusuf Nurkic
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    In regards to the health of Jusuf Nurkić and Zach Collins, head coach Terry Stotts said that "they both look great" and will be available for the restart of the NBA season in Orlando.

    Nurkić was close to returning when the league was suspended while Collins was further away from playing basketball in March. However, the additional three months allowed Collins to recover as he has no limitations heading into the restart in Orlando. It is likely that they will find themselves in the starting unit while Nurkić is the more proven player in terms of fantasy production.

    Source: Sean Highkin on Twitter

  • Marvin Bagley III
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    The Kings training staff believes that Marvin Bagley (left foot sprain) will be available for game action shortly.

    Bagley hasn't appeared in a game since January. While Bagley would likely have a bench role, his return may cut into the playing time of teammates like Harrison Barnes and Harry Giles.

    Source: Jason Jones on Twitter