• I hope everyone is having a great All-Star and President’s Day weekend. While the weekend is unlikely to help your fantasy standings there’s still lots of interesting basketball being played. On Sunday, we saw Stephen Curry pull off one of the most impressive assists in All-Star game history when he delivered an alley-oop that touched the ground and the heavens before being delivered into Giannis Antetokounmpo’s outstretched hand for the dunk. The ASG finished with a 176-164 final score with Team LeBron dispatching Team Giannis. Kevin Durant was named the All-Star MVP behind a Team LeBron high-31 points. Giannis did his part with an ASG-high 38 points but it wasn’t enough to stave off a run Team LeBron.

    With no real games to recap I wanted to quickly walk you through my three All-Stars who might fall off and those that still have some room to rise in the rest-of-season rankings.

    Three Stars at risk to finish the season.

    Anthony Davis

    This selection was easy considering all of the trade rumors, Anthony Davis’ recurring shoulder issues and the apparent lack of support from upper management in the Pelicans’ front office. Davis might be “forced” into action by the league office but it’s hard to envision him playing in back-to-backs and through any sort of injuries. Davis is second overall on the season in 8-cat leagues but his total output from here on out will be limited.

    Nikola Vucevic

    Nikola Vucevic is 15th in 8-cat per game rankings on the season and has delivered the 11th most value thus far this season when considering games played. Vucevic has only missed one game this season after averaging over 16 missed games per season over his last three seasons. There’s no guarantee that he gets hurt but with the Magic also on the outside looking in on the playoff situation there’s a risk that Vucevic’s minutes get toned down later in the year in favor of keeping him fresh and injury-free heading into the summer.

    Blake Griffin

    I’ll admit that I am not the biggest fan of Mr. Griffin for a litany of reasons. He’s the 21st most productive 8-cat player on the season and has been producing at his highest clip since 2013-2014, the last season when he played at least 80 games. Similar to Vooch, Blake is on the fringe of making the playoffs in the East and is due for some time on the bench with some nagging injury. It’s possible that the Pistons’ make an impressive run at the post-season led by Coach Casey, but we could also see the axels come off the wagon in Detroit.

    Other Candidates – Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard – All of whom have added depth stepping into their lineups post-trade deadline.

    Three Stars on the Rise

    Karl-Anthony Towns

    Big KAT is finally getting settled after a strange start to the season with the whole Jimmy Butler fiasco. Towns is the 7th overall player in 8-cat leagues and has yet to miss a game in his career. If you own KAT in a roto league, strap in, he’s got more games to play than most of his peers post-ASB. Over the last two months Towns has been the 5th overall value and once Dario Saric and Robert Covington get to spacing the floor KAT will have more room than ever to operate.

    Damian Lillard

    During the All-Star pre-game warmups, Lillard was asked: “When does Lillard time start?” He responded with, “Any time in the second half.” No truer words have ever been spoken when it comes to Dame’s fantasy value. He’s currently situated as the 12th overall value in 8-cat leagues despite putting up top-6 numbers over the last month. Dame tends to get blazing hot post-ASB and we don’t see anything preventing him from doing so this season either. Expect Dame to keep up his top-6 clip while the Blazers jockey for playoff seeding in the hyper-competitive Western Conference.

    Bradley Beal

    “Bealieve” it or not, the Washington Wizards are still in the playoff chase, sitting three games out of the eighth seed in the East. Bradley Beal finally has all of the freedom he could have asked for to stage his own Harden-esque performance with John Wall out for the remainder of the season and Kelly Oubre Jr. and Markieff Morris both shipped out of town. Beal is the 14th overall performer on the season and he returned a top-6 performance over the last two weeks. He’s never played this well in his career so he’s in uncharted territory. Most importantly for Beal, he’s played in all 58 games this season after playing in all 82 games the season prior. The 25-year-old is in the zone and has very little stopping him from popping into the top-10 before this season wraps up.

    P.S. I’m a bit bummed Dirk Nowitzki didn’t make it back into the ASG in the second half after hitting three deep triples in the first.

Fantasy News

  • Reggie Bullock
    SG-SF, New York Knicks

    Reggie Bullock has agreed to sign a two-year deal with the Knicks for less than the $4.7 million exception.

    It was reported that Bullock intitally had an offer for two years and $20 million so this is a considerable drop on the monetary terms. The two parties had to rework their agreement after unanticipated health issues that almost made the deal fall through. This is also the end of the domino that had Marcus Morris back off his initial agreement with the Spurs and sign a deal with the Knicks instead. New York seems to be loaded in the forward positions and it’s anyone’s guess who earns the minutes to become fantasy relevant next year.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Dragan Bender
    PF, Phoenix Suns

    As Dragan Bender continues to explore the NBA market, the Cavs and the Raptors are among the teams that have inquired about the former lottery pick.

    The European market also remains an option for the Croatian forward as CSKA Moscow and Fenerbache are monitoring his situation. Bender is still only 21 years old and teams around the NBA could still take a chance on him after what has been a disappointing NBA career so far with averages of 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 131 career games.

    Source: Orazio Francesco Cauchi on Twitter

  • Raul Neto
    PG, Philadelphia Sixers

    Raul Neto could end up being Ben Simmons' backup to begin the 2019-20 season.

    Right now, the two candidates to be the backup to starter Ben Simmons are Neto and former two-way player Shake Milton, a second-year combo guard who earned a lot of minutes at the point in the NBA Summer League. Neto started 53 of the 81 games in which he appeared as a rookie in 2015-16, but only started once over the past three seasons. He has averages of 4.8 points, 1.9 assists and 37.7 percent shooting from 3-point range in 14.2 minutes and it’s highly unlikely that he gains fantasy value even if he earns the backup job.

    Source: Bucks County Courier Times

  • Chris Paul
    PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Brian Windhorst of ESPN is reporting that the Heat are open to the idea of teaming up Chris Paul with Jimmy Butler, but what has hung the entire negotiation up is the discussion of picks.

    The Thunder holds two of Miami’s future first round draft picks, an unprotected selection in 2021 and a protected one in 2023. The Heat want those included in a potential deal and Oklahoma City has no shortage of assets as, since draft night, Sam Presti has acquired a remarkable eight first-round picks. Windhorst also added that the Heat seem to be CP3’s preferred destination and if he actually ends up in South Beach, he could retain his strong fantasy value.

    Source: NESN.com

  • Kyle Lowry
    PG, Toronto Raptors

    Josh Lewenberg of TSN is hearing that the Raptors have no intention of moving Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka, at least not before the season.

    All three veterans are on expiring deals and Masai Ujiri will give this group an opportunity to sink or swim before choosing a path and deciding what comes next. With those three and Fred VanVleet hitting the open market next summer, the Raptors will have over $90 million coming off their books and plenty of flexibility. It’s clear that there won’t be a fire sale in Toronto anytime soon while this group has proved that it is capable of winning games even without Kawhi Leonard. Things could change quickly though and Ujiri has never been shy of pulling the trigger so the future looks murky for the veteran champions.

    Source: TSN

  • Daniel Theis
    PF, Boston Celtics

    The Celtics have rescinded their qualifying offer to big man Daniel Theis, making him an unrestricted free agent.

    This is move is to maximize the team's remaining cap space. Theis will eventually be signed to a deal using his Early Bird Rights. Theis will have value as a deep-league source of blocks. He will be competing with Robert Williams to backup starting center, Enes Kanter.

    Source: Keith Smith on Twitter

  • Kelan Martin
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Kelan Martin led the Wolves in their 92-95 loss against the Grizzlies on Monday with 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting while adding three 3-pointers, five rebounds and an assist.

    Martin helped the Wolves claw back into the game with a big third quarter, but the team just fell flat. He was by far the best player on the Wolves tonight, but it's still uncertain as to whether or not tonight's performance was enough to push him onto an NBA team to start next season.

  • Keita Bates-Diop
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Keita Bates-Diop scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting with four rebounds, an assist and a 3-pointer in Monday's loss to the Wolves.

    Bates-Diop was outplayed by his fellow benchmates in this one, but nailed a clutch 3-pointer to bring the Wolves within a single possession late in the fourth. He's struggled with consistency which is why it'll be hard to envision him having an impactful role to start next season.

  • Naz Reid
    C, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Naz Reid scored eight points on 3-of-13 shooting while adding 10 rebounds, two dimes, a steal and a block in Monday's loss to the Grizzlies.

    Reid has been fairly impressive throughout the Summer League, but tonight he just couldn't buy a bucket. The silver lining is that he had the best plus-minus (plus-0) out of all the starters.

  • Brandon Clarke
    PF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Brandon Clarke led the Grizzlies to their 95-92 Summer League championship win over the Wolves on Monday with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting while chipping in a 3-pointer, a game-high 16 rebounds, four assists, a steal and three blocks.

    What a monster stat line. Clarke was named Summer League MVP prior to tonight and he lived up to the name. He's hyper athletic with a high motor and has a great feel for the game on both ends of the floor and it looks like his talent should win out and earn him a regular spot in the rotation alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. Keep an eye out for him in the later rounds on draft day, especially in dynasty leagues.