February 23, 2021, 12:57 am
We’ll get this out of the way at the top. The big story of Monday night’s games undoubtedly will revolve around the Lakers blowing a 17-point lead to the lowly Wizards in an eventual 127-124 overtime loss. The Lakers have now dropped four of their last five games without Anthony Davis, and you can bet hysteria will clock in on all morning shows tomorrow debating what they need to do to stay afloat. Ultimately, they’ll be fine once they are able to get AD and Dennis Schroder back on the floor, and perhaps they’ll be involved in the trade and/or free agency market earlier than anticipated to paper over some of the glaring holes they face at the moment (DeMarcus Cousins anyone?)
In the end though, this team is going to be fine, and they’re still my favorites to repeat as champions. A terrible loss to a bad Wizards team in late February won’t change that for me.
Elsewhere, Monday’s 6-game slate was defined by new beginnings for the plucky Rockets, an unfortunately familiar situation for Gordon Hayward and notable sustained play from inconsistent players such as Josh Richardson and Kendrick Nunn. Read below for all you need to know on the day’s action!
Adds of the Night
Jae’Sean Tate, G/F, Houston Rockets
Tate is only rostered in 42% of Yahoo leagues, and he should clear the 50% mark easily this week as he continues to absorb more opportunities in Houston. His value comes primarily in the defensive stat department, but with Houston set to go smaller as a unit with DeMarcus Cousins likely having played his final game in H-Town, Tate looks ready to thrive in small ball lineups that should help increase his boards production. He’s already getting it done from 3 and in the passing game too, and the combination of those stats with the steals, blocks and boards make him very appealing down the line. It remains to be seen how much he is able to continue scoring when Victor Oladipo (right foot) makes his return, and may have his issues getting involved in small ball whenever Chrtian Wood (ankle) comes back, but add him now and worry about that later. With the tenacious way with which he plays, you just know he’ll find ways to stay on the court.
Danuel House, F/C, Houston Rockets
Another Rocket! House stands as another beneficiary of the DeMarcus Cousins news, both in the immediate and potential down the road as well once the roster is up to full strength. House is the logical PF for this team going forward, and has established a groove as a stretch big who is capable of getting it done for your fantasy team in both defensive stats. He gets an immediate boost in small ball lineups now, and could make for a nice compliment to Wood in the frontcourt once he is able to make his return. Houses’ long term value is also aided by the likely eventual departure of P.J Tucker.
De’Anthony Melton, G, Memphis Grizzlies
If y’all follow me at all on social media, you understand my love for Melton’s game runs deep, but I am sad to report that coach Taylor Jenkins is not. We’ve been down this road plenty with Melton already, so it shouldn’t be a huge shock to see him in this section. He’s continuously productive when he gets the minutes, but the more bodies the Grizzlies get back, the less those minutes come by him Cast him back onto the waivers until the guard rotation around him thins or Jenkins has a Come to Jesus moment on Grayson Allen.
OUT – Covid Protocol
San Antonio Spurs – Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, Rudy Gay & Devin Vassell
Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday
Los Angeles Lakers: Dennis Schroder
Charlotte Hornets: Caleb & Cody Martin
Gordon Hayward (hand) left Monday’s game after re-aggravating a previous right hand injury. Not great.
Kristaps Porzingis (back) was ruled out of Monday’s game, which is curious considering how the Mavs missed over a week of play due to weather related postponements.
DeMarcus Cousins (heel) was ruled out of Monday’s game, though it could very easily be asset management on the Rockets part following the weekend report that they’re looking to move him. Victor Oladipo (right foot strain) missed his fourth game in five days with the injury.
Devonte’ Graham (left knee patella femoral discomfort) missed another game with the injury,
Tyler Herro (hip) missed Monday’s game after injuring it in Miami’s last game. Goran Dragic (sprained left ankle continued to miss time with the injury,
Dillon Brooks (sore right thigh) missed Monday’s game, continuing the Grizzlies trend of annoyingly having a key rotation player out at all times so we can’t get a good read on who gets what minutes long term.
Maxi Kleber (ankle) left Monday’s game and did not return.
Stephen Curry (illness) is considered questionable for Tuesday after being a late scratch this past weekend, He is expected to play though. James Wiseman (wrist) and Kevon Looney (ankle) are also listed questionable. Both have missed the majority of February with their respective injuries.
Jeff Green (shoulder) is questionable for Tuesday’s game after being forced to leave his last game against the Clippers. Kevin Durant (hamstring) remains without a timetable to return,
Paul Millsap (knee) and JaMychal Green (shoulder) have been ruled out for Tuesday’s game against the Blazers, leaving the Nuggets rather thin at PF.
Harrison Barnes (foot) is considered questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Nets
Blazers’ Backup Bigs Bringing Blocks Boost: With Harry Giles (calf) out of commission for the Blazers, they’ve had to turn to Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. to provide some small-ball center minutes behind Enes Kanter. The result has been a boon to both’s blocks totals over the Blazers’ last four games. Covington has blocked 16 shots (4.0 bpg) and Jones Jr. has blocked 7 (1.75) in that span. That is delicious consistency out of those two, and we should expect this trend to continue as long as Giles is out.
Josh Richardson Heating up: J-Rich has been slowly putting it all together after dealing with a lengthy absence from his COVID-19 diagnosis. Through the month of February, he’s settled into a groove of 13.7 PPG, 1.8 3PM, 3.6 RPG, 4.1 APG and 1.0 SPG on 45% shooting from the field and 93% shooting from the line. He’s moved just inside the top-100 on these numbers for the month.
They’re awfully reminiscent of his averages during his last season with Miami during the 18/19 season. During that campaign, Richardson averaged more points (16.6) but held remarkably consistent averages across his other counting stats with 2.2 3PM, 3.6 RPG, 4.1 APG and 1.1 SPG on 41% shooting from the field and 86% from the line. The fit in Dallas has been far better for him than it was in Philly, and though he may not be the top-70 player he was during that Heat season, a top-100 finish for J-Rich is in the cards.
Kendrick Nunn, More than a Scorer: In Nunn’s last 9 games (all without Goran Dragic) he’s flexed the scoring stats that put him on the radar as an undrafted rookie last season. The 17.1 ppg and 3.3 triples per game during that span were as expected, what’s less so is the surprisingly consistent steals rate that he’s brought to the table. Nunn has averaged 1.6 steals per-game during this stint, which is a large step up from the 0.8 on the season he averaged in 29 mpg last year. The consistency with which he is coming across high steal numbers this season is a refreshing wrinkle to his game, and is one worth remembering the next time he walks into guaranteed playing time like this in the future.