November 26, 2018, 7:57 am
Sunday Night brought a festive and turkey-filled week to an emphatic end with a “block-a-palooza.” Two players logged seven swats on the eve, JaVale McGee and Jaren Jackson Jr., while Marc Gasol added five. There were also a handful of guys with three swats making it a block party as we closed up a week. In an unfortunate note for the big men out there Jusuf Nurkic did suffer a right shoulder contusion and missed the second half of the Blazers vs. Clippers game. He finished with a block in 15 minutes.
From A to Vooch
What better way to ring in the start of Sunday’s basketball action than with a career-best game from Nikola Vucevic who delivered 31 points, 15 boards, seven assists, three triples, three blocks and two steals on 8-of-8 from the line and 10-of-20 from the field. This performance pushed the Magic over the Lakers 108-104 for their second win over the Lakeshow in the last two weeks. Vooch is a first-round value on the year and seems poised to maintain that value as long as the Magic continue to stay in the playoff chase. Despite the massive game from Vooch, Mo Bamba found a way to be productive in 12 minutes with five points, a triple, two steals and a block with four boards. We should probably see more of these lines from Bamba as he continues to learn to play in the NBA and when the Magic play against teams that like to go big. In the short-term, he’s hard to roster outside of 16-team leagues. If you didn’t know, Terrence Ross is currently hot. Pick him up if you’re in a 12-teamer.
The name’s “Blocks”… “Blocks McGee”
JaVale McGee has had an impressive season for the Lakers, returning top-30 value in a shade over 25 minutes per game thanks to an astronomical block rate. On Sunday he set a season-high with seven swats while adding a dozen points and seven boards. It’s understandable if you’re a bit skittish about McGee keeping it up as Tyson Chandler has been closing out games and limiting McGee’s minutes but the Shaqtin-a-Fool mainstay has actually put together a top-20 week over his last three games. Feel free to move McGee if you can get a solid top-40 player but honestly it might be worth riding this one out. Lonzo Ball is starting to get his shooting right, averaging a 50 percent clip from the field this week, helping him make it into the top-120 over the period. His defensive stats are still lagging behind last season’s performance which should change as he continues to get comfortable with his new teammates. The low defensive stats could also speak to his recovery from offseason surgery. The Lakers play four times this upcoming week so feel free to get them active.
Pistons travel in packs
As of now, the Detroit Pistons are a top-4 team in the East with a 10-7 record. On Sunday they dispatched the hot Suns, with a little help from the refs, who ejected T.J. Warren for complaining after the refs completely botched a call. Feel free to add that to the team effort that the Pistons put in, with six players in double-digit scoring with no player reaching 20-points. Andre Drummond did his job on the boards with 16 and 19 points but faltered at the line with 1-of-8 shooting from the stripe. Blake Griffin, on the other hand, passed out 11 assists while scoring 16 with two triples. Reggie Jackson was inefficient, hitting 6-of-20 shots but was the most productive fantasy contributor with 19 points, four triples, eight assists and two steals. Both Langston Galloway and Stanley Johnson delivered off the bench with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Throw the Booker at them!
It was less than a week ago that Devin Booker mentioned being a step slow as he recovered from his offseason surgery. Well over the last week Booker posted top-10 value in 8-cat leagues to the tune of 31.5 points, 2.8 triples, 1.5 steals and 6.5 assists on 50 percent shooting. On Sunday that translated to 37 points and five assists while he started at point guard again. Booker now has three starts as the lead guard in the last four games and he should continue to play there as the Suns look to prioritize the development of their star. With Booker shifting to the one Mikal Bridges drew his fifth start in six games and looks to be ready to take over the role full-time. What separates Bridges from his competition in Josh Jackson has been his ability to hit triples, Bridges has five games with two or more triples while Jackson only has three such games. Bridges looks to be a solid top-150 play as a starter with upside to push for a top-100 role after he settles at about 28-30 minutes a night. Deandre Ayton isn’t scared of big men, he dropped 25 and 13 against Drummond while swatting three shots. He’s been a top-40 value so far this season and could see his rankings continue to climb as his blocks could climb a bit closer to one per game.
Step Back Jimmy Buckets
Jimmy Buckets logged his first back-to-back 20-plus point games as a Sixer while hitting his second game-winner in eight days on Sunday. Butler nailed a juicy step back triple to put the Sixers up 127-125 and finished the evening with 34 points, 12 boards, four steals and five triples. The Sixers are currently lacking bench talent with only Landry Shamet currently stepping up, he scored 16 on four triples with two boards and an assist. View Shamet as a streaming option if you’re punting assists or if you need help with your triples. If he can get his steals up to a respectable number, his value could jump but for now, view him as a threes specialist. Wilson Chandler is slowly working off the rust, he’s been at 30-plus minutes for four straight games and has double-digit scoring in two of those. He should be able to push for a top-150 value in December simply by increasing his defensive stats. It’s common for these to fall off for players returning from injury and Chandler is only averaging a combined 0.4 steals/blocks per game. This is a far cry from the combined 1.1 he averaged over the last three seasons.
D’Angelo Russell scored a Nets career-best 38 points with eight boards, eight assists and a block on 16-of-28 shooting while Spencer Dinwiddie tied his career-high with 31 points, five assists, four triples and three boards. It’s uncommon for both of the point guards to go off for the Nets as they tend to trade off explosive performances but this becomes more possible with Caris LeVert out and more touches to go around. Jarrett Allen did a fine job against Joel Embiid, double-doubling with 17 points and 10 boards while failing to add anything else in the box. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson drew his first start at PF, displacing Jared Dudley and was productive with 13 points, six boards and a block. This change should stick moving forward and keep an eye out for RHJ on the waiver wire. He’s currently outside of the top-200 but should settle right near the top-100 once he’s back in the swing of things in late December.
Could you please miss, Siakam?
Pascal Siakam might just become the Raptors best player before Kawhi’s contract is even up.
Before you get all up in arms… take a look at the last week.
16.3 points, 6.8 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 1 block, 68 percent shooting and 83 percent from the line
24.7 points, 8.7 boards, 2 assists, 1.3 steals, .7 block, 48 percent shooting and 72 percent from the line
The top stats are Siakam’s and the bottom row is Kawhi. Leonard has been outplayed over the last two weeks by Siakam in 8-cat leagues and while Leonard is expected to finish as a top-12 per game player Siakam has shown that he has all the tools to be a top-tier contributor in this league. Siakam has simply been on fire and on Sunday he logged his best game as a pro with 21 points, six boards, two steals, two blocks, a triple and three assists on 8-of-9 shooting and 4-of-4 from the line.
Not to be forgotten in the 125-115 win, Kawhi Leonard double-doubled with 29 points, 10 boards, three triples, two assists, two blocks and a steal on 8-of-20 shooting. The Raptors play three times next week with no back-to-backs so Leonard should be safe from any rest games. Both Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry joined Leonard with double-doubles of their own.
It’s gotta be the South Beach Diet
Dwyane Wade set another Heat recording, scoring 35 points, the most ever by a Heat bench player on Sunday. His performance was needed as the Raptors were running away with the game before Wade’s efficient 13-of-22 shooting made this a game worth watching. It will be hard to start Wade whenever the Heat doesn’t play four games but he’ll have a few more outbursts like this as his swan-song season continues. Joining Wade off the bench was Bam Adebayo with 16 points, a career-high 21 boards and two blocks in 36 minutes. Hassan Whiteside struggled with foul trouble and Bam took care of business. Bam will struggle to find consistent time unless the Heat make a move to free up space by moving either Whiteside or some combination of James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk. Johnson has now started the last two games for the Heat and he should stick in the starting five thanks to his ability to guard 1-5. He’s yet to log a block or a steal on the season, give him some time to shake the rust off.
My Knickerbockers are on FIRE!
The Knicks are hot and after Sunday’s 103-98 win over the Grizzlies, they are now tied for the league’s second-longest win streak at three. The most impressive thing is the teams the Knicks beat, Boston, New Orleans and Memphis. Somehow the Knicks have been able to squeeze top-50 production out of Emmanuel Mudiay over his last four games, in only 24 minutes a game. On Sunday he delivered again in 23 minutes with 17 points, four assists, two triples, a steal, a block and two boards. Over the last two weeks, Trey Burke has been just as hot, clocking in as the 48th overall value in 8-cat leagues despite coming off the bench and averaging under 27 minutes. Despite only hitting 3-of-15 shots on Sunday he was productive with 8-of-8 from the line to finish with 15 points, a triple, three assists, three boards, two steals and a block. My main takeaway is that the Knicks’ winning streak is highly contingent on the continued hot play of their point guards.
On the flip side of the court, we have Enes Kanter pulling in a career-high 26 boards with 21 points and three assists. Kanter now has four 20-20 games on the year and will continue to deliver all season long.
Get that weak Ritz out of here!
The Grizzlies swatted 19 shots on Sunday! That’s equal to the next two teams on Sunday combined (LAL – 10, ATL – 9) Jaren Jackson Jr. led the way with a franchise-high tying seven blocks as a rookie, Pau did it twice as a rookie. Marc Gasol jumped into the fray with five blocks while Garrett Temple, JaMychal Green and Kyle Anderson all added a pair of blocks to their lines.
Jackson Jr. didn’t just swat a lot of shots, he also became the seventh player in NBA history to log a game with seven blocks and at least three triples, finishing with 16 points, four triples, six boards, three assists and seven blocks on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. Ultimately the Grizzlies fell short as they struggled to score, only Mike Conley (23 points, 11 assists), Marc Gasol (27 points, eight boards) joined Jackson Jr. In double-figures on Sunday.
Don’t forget to Baze the Turkey
Kent Bazemore lead by example on Sunday, accepting his demotion to the bench in favor of rookie Kevin Huerter with class. He even joked with the rookie and gave him a handshake right before tipoff. The good karma paid off late as the lefty put the Hornets on ice late with a crossover layup after he blew by Marvin Williams who seemed to think that Bazemore was a righty. Baze finished with 20 points, two triples, four boards and two assists. If you own him in any leagues consider moving him now while his value is still intact. It’s likely that he will struggle to continue producing at his top-70 rate and he could be outside of the top-100 before the end of December. One guy putting pressure on Bazemore from the bench is DeAndre’ Bembry, who dropped 16 in the 124-123 win while adding six assists, six boards, two triples and a block on 7-of-10 shooting. Bembry can play 2-4 and Bazemore plays 2-3. With Huerter starting they will cannibalize a bit of each other’s value but I see Bembry as the long-term play here as he’s only in his third season and fits the rest of the team’s timeline. John Collins is back, with 23 points, 11 boards and four assists.
Monk’s Meditations: Revenge comes in threes
Malik Monk tied his career-high 26 points on Sunday while hitting a career-high seven triples on 9-of-15 shooting with a steal. Monk is in a strange situation as the team drafted him with the 11th overall pick last year but he just logged a DNP-CD on Friday against the Thunder. There was no word of it being a disciplinary move, speaking to just how streaky Monk and his role are. Treat Monk similarly to Terrence Ross, if he’s hot have him active, otherwise feel free to cut him. Next week the Hornets go four times so he may be worth a look in a 16-team format. Kemba really struggled for the first 45 minutes of the game on Sunday, he finished with 22 points, nine assists, five boards and four triples on 7-of-23 shooting. He’s been a top-10 value on the season in 8-cat and as of now looks poised to continue that type of output for the foreseeable future. Marvin Williams’ isn’t done with his revenge yet, dropping 20 points with four triples and 13 boards against his former team.
Asking for Favors off the bench – no problem
Derrick Favors was demoted to the bench on Sunday so the Utah Jazz could better matchup with the Kings. It worked out wonderfully with the Jazz dominating 133-112 while Favors found himself being productive with 11 points, seven boards, three steals and three blocks. Favors should float right around top-110 value all season and he only needs 24 minutes a night to be productive. He should be back to starting shortly. Joe Ingles put together his second solid game in a row with 18 points, two steals, two triples and six assists while Ricky Rubio added 27 points with seven boards, five assists and two triples. Both of these lines could have been better but no Jazz starter even made it to 29 minutes due to the blowout. Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 15 rebounds while adding five assists a block and a steal.
A new King on the court
Bogdan Bogdanovic continued his return from injury by earning his first start of the season alongside the Kings’ backcourt of the future (De’Aaron Fox & Buddy Hield). He didn’t disappoint by scoring a team-high 20 points with two triples three boards, three assists and a steal on 6-of-14 shooting. Bogdan drew the start with Iman Shumpert getting a night off for “rest” but should be the full-time starter at some point this season. Shumpert has actually been amazing this season, after being an afterthought for the previous three. He’s a top-120 value and was a top-90 player over the last two weeks. Considering he might lose most of this value in the coming weeks it might be best if you trade him now for another top-120 contributor or simply cut him once Bogdanovic is named the starter full time. Speaking of becoming a starter, Marvin Bagley continued his solid play with 18 points, six boards and two blocks, his counterpart Nemanja Bjelica scored 12 points with five boards, a triple and a steal. At some point we’ll likely see the two swap roles, feel free to try to float an offer if you currently have Bjelica on your roster.
Sometimes you just get lucky
After the Clippers dispatched with the Blazers 104-100 on Sunday Jusuf Nurkic ran into Doc Rivers in the hallway and said “You got lucky” in reference to his injury that prevented him from playing in the second half. The Clippers converted on that luck to reverse the 13-point deficit they faced at the start of the third quarter. Tobias Harris led the way with 34 points, 11 boards, two triples, a steal and an assist. Danilo Gallinari continued his resurgence with 17 points, eight boards and five assists while Montrezl Harrell struggled from the line only hitting 4-of-12 freebies to finish with 14 points, 10 boards, two steals and two blocks.
No Nurk? Big problems
The Blazers lost Jusuf Nurkic to a right shoulder contusion on Sunday during halftime. There’s yet to be any follow up reporting but given that Nurkic was joking around with Doc Rivers after the game you’d hope its nothing major. Meyer Leonard started the second half, which caught everyone by surprise. Leonard finished the night with 16 boards, nine points, two triples and three assists in 24 minutes. Zach Collins who is the preferred add if Nurkic misses time fouled out in 19 minutes but still logged a more impressive game with nine points, three blocks, 4-of-7 shooting, three boards and two assists. Collins can also step out and hit triples and early in the season, it looked like he might actually unseat Nurkic as the starting center. That changed with Nurkic taking a noticeable step forward while Collins has struggled to find consistency. Damian Lillard scored 30 for the Blazers and almost pulled out the win late despite a flat second-half from the Blazers. He will remain a top-12 per game contributor but needs help from C.J. McCollum if the Blazers plan on making any noise in the playoffs. C.J. finished the loss with 18 points, nine boards and two triples on 38 percent shooting.
May 29, 2020, 7:43 pmEric GordonSG, Houston Rockets
Rockets guard Eric Gordon has improved his diet, focused on sprints, and has apparently shed 12 pounds in the process, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
Gordon has battled knee ailments for essentially his whole career and has dealt with his fair share of nagging injuries this season as well. Losing weight to create a lighter frame would seem sensible, especially with the knee issues. The Rockets, remember, fully adopted the "small ball" lineup and move fast so Gordon is smart to keep his endurance and fitness at high levels. He's going to have to play well and make shots for the Rockets when the NBA returns to action, otherwise coach Mike D'Antoni won't be able to justify giving Gordon minutes. We don't anticipate much fantasy value out of him if and when the league starts back up.
Source: The Athletic
May 29, 2020, 6:03 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the NBA is planning for a Board of Governors vote on Thursday, during which they are expected to approve Adam Silver's proposal for re-starting the season in Orlando.
The trend lines are all moving in this direction, and this adds another bullet point on the schedule as the league prepares for launching games on July 31. Adam Silver has been able to bridge any divides between ownership and the players, and has been taking into account all his key constituent's views as we approach approval of a plan for moving forward. We still have plenty of items to resolve before we see game action, but the NBA is gaining momentum as these details come into place.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 4:44 pmBradley BealSG, Washington Wizards
On Friday, the Wizards resumed holding voluntary workouts at their practice facilities.
The Wizards have joined a chorus of teams that are returning in limited capacities to their facilities at this point. The NBA as a whole is continuing its march towards the resumption of play with a target date of July 31 now established. The District of Columbia also entered phase one of reopening today, and it makes sense for the team to proceed on a similar trajectory.
Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 4:03 pmJulius RandlePF, New York Knicks
Part of the Knicks' off-season thinking is to shape the roster around RJ Barrett, and it unclear where Julius Randle will fit in those plans.
Barrett and Randle have similar offensive styles, as they typically have an advantage relying upon their strength to attack the basket, but neither has a component deep ball at this stage in their careers. As Barrett is the younger option it makes sense that the Knicks want to sign shooters to give him more space to operate with. Randle's lousy percentages and turnovers has made for a disappointing season with the Knicks thus far, and Barrett will also need to make some strides in the shooting department to become a 12-team asset. Randle is under contract for next season is owed at least $4,000,000 in 2021-22.
May 29, 2020, 3:46 pmJayson TatumSF, Boston Celtics
On Friday, the Celtics' announced that their practice facilities would reopen on June 1.
That leaves us with four NBA teams without access to their facilities. Things are beginning to accelerate throughout the league as teams ramp up activities in hopes of resuming competition in Orlando on July 31. So far so good, but the NBA still has many hurdles to overcome on the path to resuming the season.
Source: Celtics PR on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 3:40 pmRJ BarrettSF, New York Knicks
The Knicks reopened their practice facility for voluntary workouts on Friday.
Another step in the right direction for the NBA's return to action at the end of July. It's still unclear if the Knicks will even be involved in whatever plan is agreed upon, but it is good to learn that the players can now access their facilities in New York. Only five team facilities have not opened up in some capacity at this point.
Source: Knicks PR on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 3:15 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
On a call with the Board of Governors on Friday, Adam Silver and the league office confirmed July 31 as a target date for the resumption of the NBA season, according to a report from Shams Charania.
We have to imagine that this is just one of the possible options on the table, as the league still has much to figure out. Charania adds that the league has four scenarios for the return: 16 teams move directly to the playoffs, 20 teams engage in group/stage play, 22 teams have games to determine seeding with a play-in tournament, and all 30 teams reconvene for a 72-game season with a play-in tournament. It's seemed unlikely that we'll have a full 30-team return given the stated priorities for player safety. There are still tons of logistical hurdles to clear but the NBA is getting its ducks in a row for a potential return.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
May 27, 2020, 9:06 pmAndre IguodalaSF, Miami Heat
Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida after living in California since the NBA season was suspended.
Iguodala returning to the market where his team is could mean that he believes team workouts will begin soon. However, there is no official timetable on when team workouts will begin and Jimmy Butler has yet to return to Miami.
Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter
May 27, 2020, 7:52 pmZach LaVineSG, Chicago Bulls
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls were cleared by the Governor of Illinois and are in talks with city officials to open practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts that would follow the NBA guidelines.
The NBA's guidelines currently state that a maximum of four players are allowed in the facility at any given time and there can only be one player per hoop. The Bulls are currently eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls may not play again this season given how far behind they are in the standings and the recent reports of proposals to not continue the regular season.
Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter
May 27, 2020, 7:08 pmLuka DoncicPG-SF, Dallas Mavericks
Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Mavs plan to open their practice facility on Thursday.
This news would make the Mavs the 23rd team to have their facilities open for "voluntary and socially distanced player workouts". Continue to monitor the wire as we should learn more about the potential of the league resuming in early June.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter