• ‘Twas the night before All-Star Break and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

    That’s what you’d think to expect given a light, two-game slate. Well, think again. What was stirred up last night, you ask? The NBA history books. How? Well, Nikola Jokic recorded the fastest triple-double in the past 20 years (14 minutes and 33 seconds). Yup, in the that’s just in the first half. But he didn’t stop there. After was said and done, and shot, and passed, and rebounded, Jokic finished the game with 30 points, 15 rebounds and 17 assists. Just a reminder that our friendly neighborhood Joker loves to finish seasons strong. This performance could just be the tip of the iceberg. You’ve been warned.

    Jokic’s historic night helped propel the Nuggets to a 134-123 win over the Bucks. The Nugs were on fire from downtown, shooting 24-of-40 shots from long range. Jamal Murray hit five threes en route to his 26 points, while Gary Harris did “Gary Harris things” 28 points and five triples of his own. Even Wilson Chandler decided to stuff the stat sheet with a low-end line.

    Giannis Antetokounmpo did his best to lift the Bucks with a 36/11/13 triple-double of his own. While Eric Bledsoe was solid with 27 points, eight dimes and five steals. Their heroics fell short as the Nuggets simply outgunned them all night long.

    The other game on tap was not as statistically exciting nor all around impressive. The Lakers collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Timberwolves to sneak by with a 119-111 win. The surpriseĀ of the night came from Ivica Zubac, who came out of nowhere to drop 19 points and 11 boards off the bench. What? Yeah. Add him? Nah. (at least not yet).

    Julius Randle continues to play well in the post-trade-deadline era 23 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block. Isaiah Thomas, on the other, has not been playing too well since landing in L.A., kind of like Brook Lopez. Unlike Lopez, Thomas might recover from his seven-point game on 20 percent shooting from the field. Thomas is a buy-low, while Lopez looks like he’s doomed to just suck for the rest of the season. With Thomas still unable to poach backcourt minutes, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope delivered an uncharacteristic double-double with 17 points, 11 boards and six assists.

    Speaking of uncharacteristic performances, Taj Gibson, yes Taj Gibson, led the Timberwolves in scoring with 28 points and seven rebounds. Karl-Anthony Towns played clean-up duty on the glass with 19 boards and 10 points.

    Andrew Wiggins is on a suck streak with back-to-back terrible outings, while Jimmy Butler did his thing. Jeff Teague has been playing well lately, recording a second straight game where he scored 20 points or more.

    That’s it folks! The NBA pre-ASB cutoff is here. Hopefully, a lot of our injured stars will get to make their returns after the ASB. See you all on the other side…

Fantasy News

  • Dewan Hernandez
    PF, Toronto Raptors

    Dewan Hernandez, who suffered a severe right ankle sprain in December, says he expects to play in the Orlando restart.

    Hernandez missed the final 37 games of the season and was often seen in a walking boot on the bench. The rookie wasn't really in the rotation to begin with so the fantasy impact is minimal, but it's good to know that he's healthy.

    Source: Austin Kent on Twitter

  • Nikola Jokic
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic posted his fourth straight elite fantasy season and his best season to date, finishing as the 9th best option in 9-category formats.

    Jokic is as reliable as they come with another season of huge popcorn numbers. He scored 20.2 points (a career-high) to go with 10.2 boards and 6.9 assists on a strong 52.8% shooting from the floor and 81.3% from the line. The cash counter output also maintained from past seasons, with 1.2 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.1 triples. At this point, Jokic's best asset is his consistency. This is what we've grown to expect from him as someone who always shows up to work. He played every game for the Nuggets this season and has missed just 20 games total in his five-year career. As long as he is healthy, he's money in the bank.

  • Jamal Murray
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    Jamal Murray took a nice step forward in his fourth NBA campaign and approached top-50 value in 9-category leagues due to a large increase in shooting efficiency.

    Murray was limited to 55 games due to a sprained left ankle but performed well when he was on the court. The popcorn numbers were similar to his 2018-19 season, with 18.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.9 3-pointers in 32.8 minutes. The 25 spot jump to the 52nd player in 9-category format was directly tied to a 1.8% improvement to 45.5% from the floor and a 4.5% improvement to 89.3% from the charity stripe. If he can continue to improve his passing and game management, he can hop into the top-50 with ease going forward.

  • Paul Millsap
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Paul Millsap maintained his typical per-minute production, finishing as the 97th player in 9-category formats in just 24.4 minutes per game.

    Millsap's minute decline over the past three seasons in Denver have muted the upside he enjoyed during his heyday in Atlanta. In 44 games and a few nagging injuries including a left knee contusion and a sprained right ankle, he put up 12.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks on good percentages (48.6 from the floor and a career-high 83.3% from the free throw line). Millsap should continue to be a good per-minute producer even if he moves on to a new destination for 2021, but expect the minutes to be the real sticking point as he enters his age 35 season.

  • Mason Plumlee
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Mason Plumlee slogged his way to an unimpressive 2019-20 season, finishing well outside the top-250 in 9-category formats and averaging 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds without much else worth noting.

    On top of unexciting popcorn numbers, Plumlee shot an abysmal 53.6% from the charity stripe. He was a volume play only who didn't really provide anything exciting in limited minutes. Playing behind Nikola Jokic was always going to limit Plumlee's production and keep him even out of streaming range.

  • Monte Morris
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    Monte Morris compiled top-150 value in 9-category formats as the primary backup option to Jamal Murray during the 2019-20 season.

    Morris had a strong season splitting time between backup point guard and fill-in starter when Jamal Murray went down with a sprained ankle. Morris enjoyed top-100 value during Murray's absence and put together a solid line of 8.4 points, 3.5 assists and 0.8 steals in 21.4 minutes. It was a solid campaign on compiled volume, but it was a step back from a top-100 season in 2018-19 where he got three more minutes per contest and made good for two more points with heightened efficiency. Going forward, Morris should be a solid deep-league point guard who can provide assists cheaply without any major weaknesses.

  • Torrey Craig
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Torrey Craig played serviceable streamer minutes when called upon for the Nuggets and was an underappreciated starter at various points for a good Nuggets team.

    Craig is an unheralded player who is one of the prime examples of the "better in real life" syndrome. He won't wow anyone on the stat sheet and therefore he's hard to love in fantasy basketball. His 5.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 0.7 triples on decent shooting from the floor was good for just 297th in 9-category formats. He did have good stretches and was an acceptable daily play on the right night, but getting into an everyday streamer role is tough in a crowded wing situation in Denver.

  • Keita Bates-Diop
    SF, Denver Nuggets

    Keita Bates-Diop played sparingly for the Nuggets in 2019 as one of the many pieces involved in the four-team deadline trade and finished on the fringes of the top-300 for fantasy purposes.

    Bates-Diop got shuffled into the deck in a crowded Nuggets organization. He was limited to two games with his new club and just 9.5 minutes when he did appear. He spent time in the G-League after joining the Nuggets and on the season he appeared in 39 games, mainly as an injury replacement, and provided 17.1 minutes of 6.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.9 defensive counters, 0.8 triples and some needed energy. Bates-Diop has some potential in the right situation to be a streamer and we'll have to see whether he makes an impact during the NBA restart and if he will be able to crack the rotation in the upcoming season as well.

  • Thomas Bryant
    C, Washington Wizards

    Both Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton II have tested positive for COVID-19 and did not accompany the Wizards to Orlando on Thursday.

    Scott Brooks mentioned that the Wizards were missing some players and didn't disclose why they were absent, so the dots were fairly easy to connect. Bryant's the big name for fantasy purposes here, and if he ends up sitting out the Orlando games it'll mean plenty of work for Moe Wagner, Ian Mahinmi and Anzejs Pasecniks. As for Payton, he was in line for minutes in a thinned-out backcourt but his potential absence would help players like Troy Brown and Jerome Robinson.

    Source: Ava Wallace on Twitter

  • Noah Vonleh
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Noah Vonleh mainly rode the bench for the Nuggets, appearing in only four games after being acquired at the deadline in the large four-team trade that sent Malik Beasley to the Timberwolves.

    Vonleh had a decent season in New York in 2018-19 as a perfectly reasonable streamer just outside the top-150. In 33 games this season split between Minnesota and Denver, he averaged 3.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.5 defensive counters in 11 minutes per game. The Nuggets aren't the team to be on to try to get depth minutes in a crowded rotation so if there's any hope for Vonleh to be a streamer again, it'll be on a different team.