December 17, 2018, 5:15 am
Over a third of the NBA season is finished and on Sunday we saw seven games played with each team missing at least one rotational player. This has led to some interesting lineups and some fringe players stepping up into larger roles. As you look at your fantasy league the transactions you make in the coming weeks will likely be the ones that set you up for a solid finish. To quickly recap the top players out-of-action on Sunday.
Taurean Prince, Omari Spellman, Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, Markelle Fultz, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Alonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson, Kristaps Porzingis, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Ingram, JaVale McGee, Otto Porter, Marvin Bagley III, Iman Shumpert, J.J. Barea, Dennis Smith Jr., Goran Dragic, Nikola Mirotic, Elfrid Payton, Pascal Siakam, Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Will Barton, Paul Millsap, Gary Harris.
This list doesn’t include players who were unable to finish out Sunday due to injuries like Justise Winslow, Julius Randle, and Markieff Morris.
The takeaway here should be that each of the rotations we discuss tonight had minutes up for grabs and real weekly streaming value in certain cases. Strike while the iron is hot, and don’t get attached to players.
Would you like some Kurucs with that?
The Nets are a team built to withstand injuries thanks to their depth and lack of a true bonified All-Star. One could argue that Caris LeVert was stepping into that role but we’ll have to wait till next season to really see how that develops. On Sunday the Nets delivered a 144-127 victory over the Hawks to stay in playoff contention. Despite being led by D’Angelo Russell’s 32 points, seven assists, six boards, five triples and two steals, the Nets had eight players in double-figure scoring. Rodions Kurucs continued starting in Allen Crabbe’s stead, scoring 11 points with six boards and four assists while Jarrett Allen only logged 15 minutes due to foul trouble to also score 11 with two blocks and four boards. In his last three games, Kurucs has been a top-90 value. If the Nets make a move to trade away any of their assets for future picks Kurucs could emerge to have a solid role. In other news DeMarre Carroll logged a team-high 32 minutes in the game off the bench, scoring 15 with two steals and two triples. His value isn’t back to last season’s levels but he could replace Jared Dudley (16 points, three steals, three triples) at some point in the rotation.
Dewayne Dedmon is a top-40 option over the last two weeks and has made every other center on the Hawks roster an afterthought. On Sunday he delivered a juicy double-double with 24 points, 15 boards, five triples, three assists, a block and a steal. The points and threes were both career-highs and Dedmon has no competition considering his skillset outside of Omari Spellman who is currently injured. John Collins also had a solid game with 29 points, eight boards and a block. His poor free throw shooting was on display; he only hit 3-of-6 on the night. Kent Bazemore (20 points, seven assists, three steals and three triples) is in must own-territory while Taurean Prince is out.
Ben Meets World
Ben Simmons came ready to do work on Sunday, recording a triple-double in 32 minutes in the 128-105 win over the Cavs. While Simmons only added a steal to his core stats the line was succulent, 22 points, 14 assists and 11 boards. Jimmy Butler played well in his first game back, scoring 19 points while filling up the box with three triples in 25 minutes. The Sixers play again tomorrow evening against the Spurs, Butler might be forced to sit out the back-to-back. If he misses the game, he will only have two games for weekly league owners. Proceed at your own caution. Landry Shamet had his first hot shooting night in the last month, hitting four triples for 16 points and two boards. This is Shamet’s fourth game with four triples in his rookie year and tonight was his finest, hitting 6-of-7 shots. With Fultz out Shamet will continue to find consistent run but his value is just that of a threes specialist on weeks where the Sixers play four times.
Tune into the Delly!
Matthew Dellavedova is back in Cleveland and he’s picked up right where he left off, scoring 13 points while handing out a team-high seven assists and hitting a team-high three triples. Over his four games in a Cavs uniform, Delly is a top-80 option in just 21 minutes a night. His percentages are currently high but the Cavs lack a clear pecking order so we might see Dellavedova emerge as a leader off the bench. I wouldn’t reach for him outside of a 14-team league. Both Jordan Clarkson and Cedi Osman scored a team-high 18 points on two triples apiece. Larry Nance Jr. finally cooled off on the defensive stats, only managing a steal on Sunday while adding seven points, six assists and four boards. Nance is a top-40 option over the last two weeks thanks to averaging double-digit scoring while combining for 3.2 cash counters per game. He won’t keep it up but for now, he’s a must-start option with four games next week.
I’ll take five of those (steals) and five of those (triples).
Victor Oladipo logged his finest game of the season, officially removing the question of a minute limit moving forward with 26 points, eight boards, seven assists, five steals and five triples on 7-of-13 shooting. The line did come against the Knicks, but either way the 110-99 win on Sunday can be seen as a statement game. Myles Turner, who has at least one block in every game this season, added two more to the tally while scoring 24 points, with six boards, a triple and an assist. Not to be forgotten, backup Domantas Sabonis double-doubled with 13 points, 12 boards, four assists and one steal. Bojan Bogdanovic only hit 4-of-12 shots to score 12 points with four boards, three assists, a steal and a triple. Bogdanovic is shooting over 52 percent from the field on the season after making a three percent jump from the field last season. He’s a top-100 option with a top-120 floor.
Taking a few Knox along the way
The Knicks had three players lead them with 35 or 36 minutes on Sunday, in Enes Kanter, Kevin Knox and Tim Hardaway Jr. Kanter, the most consistent of the three, scored 20 points with 15 boards adding a triple in 36 minutes. Hardaway Jr. wasn’t far behind with 19 points, three assists, two steals, two boards, a block and a triple on Sunday against the Pacers. Knox (15 points, three triples, two steals, four boards) tied his longest double-digit scoring stretch with four straight games on Sunday. He’s been a top-120 contributor over the last week thanks to his strong contributions in threes, steals and blocks. He’s averaging five counting stats per game over the stretch.
“You Shall Not Pass!” – John Wall the Grey
John Wall led the Wizards on Sunday as they rebuffed the siege laid by King James and his fellow Lakers, scoring 40 points with 14 assists, six boards, four triples, three steals and two blocks. Wall has been a top-6 contributor over the last week after being a top-25 value on the season. Wall was a lock for top-12 production before his injury-riddled campaign last season. The Wizards saw a combination of in game-injury strike with Markieff Morris straining his neck while still being without recent acquisition Trevor Ariza. Sam Dekker made the most of the opportunity by scoring 20 points with five boards, four assists and three steals. Bradley Beal double-doubled in the 128-110 win over the Lakers on Sunday, hitting four triples on his way to 25 points, 12 boards and three assists. In the starting three spot, Jeff Green drew his third straight start delivering 20 points, seven boards, four triples, a block and an assist. Green should be a solid value with Porter out but long term has less minutes available as Ariza is expected to play more minutes than Kelly Oubre Jr. did.
Take the Ball and run with it
Lonzo Ball started off the season struggling but has slowly learned how to play alongside LeBron James. Over the last two weeks, he’s been a top-50 option, while seeing his steals almost double. They’ll fall back off but the sophomore has plenty of paths to maintaining top-70 value if he can get his shot under control. On Sunday he delivered 10 points, five boards, four assists, three steals, two blocks and two triples on 4-of-11 shooting. He was able to log a team-high 35 minutes due to the blowout nature of the game. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was also able to earn extended run, knocking down four triples to score a team-high 25 points with six boards and five assists. Kyle Kuzma hit 9-of-15 shots to score 20 points with a steal and a block. LeBron only scored 13 points with six boards and three assists. He only logged two minutes in the fourth as the Wizards were able to maintain a lead that hovered near 20 for most of the quarter.
All the King’s Horses, all the King’s Men
The Sacramento Kings went into the Mavs house and delivered a 120-113 outcome, helping them stay in a three-way tie for the 6th seed in the west. Had the Mavs won, they would have been in the same three-way tie. Bogdan Bogdanovic had a solid game with 15 points with seven boards, five assists and two triples as he continues to rediscover his rhythm after missing the start of the season. Most of his stats are back to normal, but he has a bit of slack on our expectations on his steals and blocks numbers. These will be back around the All-Star break. Fellow European Nemanja Bjelica (15 points, 10 boards) double-doubled while swatting a career-high four shots, adding four triples for good measure. His value will be solid until Marvin Bagley returns. The Kings backcourt of the future, De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield both scored 28 points on a combined 23-of-42 shooting.
It’s not about you Luka, it’s about the deep distrust within the Kings front-office
Heading into the game, Kings coach Dave Joerger said that he doesn’t see Luka Doncic having a ceiling, a concern that seemed to emerge during the Kings decision to draft Marvin Bagley III over the phenom. The Kings have lots of interesting things occurring in the front office so the verbal jabs have more layers than most dips. Luka Doncic did his best to back up coach Joerger though, scoring a team-high 28 points with nine assists, six boards, one steal and a triple on Sunday. Fellow forward Harrison Barnes logged 29 minutes, scoring 15 points on three triples with two boards, a block and a steal. Doncic has severely capped Barnes’ upside and he will struggle to rise above the top-120. Jalen Brunson was back in the starting lineup with Dennis Smith Jr. and J.J. Barea out, scoring 12 points with four boards and three assists. DeAndre Jordan was the man in the middle as he pulled down 23 boards, adding eight points, three assists and three blocks.
It’s getting awfully hot in the Big Easy
The Heat came into the Pelicans’ house on Sunday and emerged victorious thanks to a team effort. Five players scored in double-figures in the 102-96 win, led by Josh Richardson’s 22 points, three steals, two triples and four assists. With Justise Winslow going down at halftime we saw Kelly Olynyk continue his high minute total with 32 on the evening. Olynyk only managed eight points, six boards and an assist but has been averaging almost seven more minutes above his season average over the last two weeks. He’s been a top-85 option. Dwyane Wade continued to prove that the South Beach diet works, scoring 19 points with six boards, two assists and three triples. As long as Goran Dragic is out Wade will continue to lead the Heat in usage. Hassan Whiteside did his best against Anthony Davis with 17 points, 12 boards and three blocks.
Pelicans don’t deal well in the Heat
Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans are currently two games out of the eight seed in the west and they just lost Julius Randle (17 points, 10 boards, one steal, one block, one triple) to an ankle sprain on Sunday. The Pelicans play three times on the road next week (things swell at altitude) and will likely have Nikola Mirotic available for some of these games. Look out for some gaudy lines from Davis (27 points, 12 boards, seven assists, three steals, three blocks, two triples) and Jrue Holiday (22 points, four triples, four assists, three steals, one block). Their first chance will come against the Bucks who have amazing wing defenders but struggle against bigs and at times lead guards.
There’s a lot of ham on those there bones
The Raptors tried to guard Nikola Jokic with Kawhi Leonard on Sunday, that worked out wonderfully for Jokic who scored 26 points with nine boards, four assists and two steals. The Nuggets won 95-86 as both teams were short-handed. Jamal Murray filled up the box with 19 points, three triples, five boards, four assists, a steal and a block. He would have solid value this upcoming week but the Nuggets only play twice, ruining an opportunity for the Blue Arrow to continue his recent (last week) top-35 play. Monte Morris reportedly improved his three-point shooting this offseason by shooting with a piece of gum held between his thumb and pointer finger on his off hand. This trick prevented him from pushing his threes with his off thumb and resulted in him hitting two triples on Sunday en route to 12 points, four assists, four boards and two steals. Juan Hernangomez has hit a wall, over the last week he’s outside the top-180, only hitting 33 percent of his shots, while logging 33 minutes a night. The minutes will be there but the production will be spotty and he should remain on your bench with the Nuggets only playing twice next week.
Nothing some home-cooking can’t fix
The Raptors are beat-up. They recently lost Jonas Valanciunas and they had three key players enter the day with the questionable tag. This was the last game of the Raptors road trip and they should be in much better shape next week when they face the Pacers on Wednesday at home. Kawhi Leonard did his best with a team-high 29 points and 14 boards and a triple. Delon Wright drew the start, logging 38 minutes to score a season-high 15 points with eight boards, four assists and a steal. Wright was a defensive specialist delivering a steal a game in 21 minutes a game last year. He’s taken some time to warm up this season after being injured during the offseason. If you’re in a dynasty league you might want to keep an eye on him as he’s a restricted free agent and could find a solid home and approach top-100 value if he can secure starters minutes. Serge Ibaka had another good shooting night, hitting 6-of-10 shots to score 14 points with seven boards, a block and a triple.