January 14, 2020, 12:24 am
Any discussion of Monday’s happenings has to start with an immaculate game from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who set career-highs in rebounds and assists while also notching the first triple-double of his bright young career.
SGA popped off for 20 points (on 8-of-12 shooting, no less), 20 rebounds, 10 assists, a block and two 3-pointers against the Wolves on Monday night, becoming just the second guard in the last 30 years to go for 20-20-10, joining — you guessed it — Russell Westbrook.
Throughout history, there have been 90 such games, achieved by 24 players. Of those 90, 13 have been achieved by guards: Gilgeous-Alexander, Westbrook, Guy Rodgers, Fat Lever (twice) and Oscar Robertson (a whopping eight times).
Although Gilgeous-Alexander has been forced into almost a pure shooting guard role given Oklahoma City’s roster, he’s been thriving and is posting top-60 value this season, which is sure to jump when tonight’s line gets factored in. He’s been even better over the last month with top-25 value, and even though it looks as though the Thunder won’t trade Chris Paul, it’s clear that SGA has legitimate early-round game. It’s been an absolute blast to watch him grow in only his second NBA season and his dynasty stock is slamming right through any ceiling. Anyone who saw through the noise and picked him in the middle rounds (ADPs of 67 on Yahoo and a laughable 89 on ESPN) is laughing all the way to the bank.
And for the curious, the other players to go for 20-20-10 are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (four times), Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor (nine times), DeMarcus Cousins (three times), Dave Cowens, Billy Cunningham (twice), Kevin Garnett, Larry Johnson, David Lee, Maurice Lucas, George McGinnis (twice), Bob Pettit, Bill Russell (twice), Ray Scott, Paul Silas, Maurice Stokes (four times), Nate Thurmond, Chris Webber, and of course, Wilt Chamberlain (40 times).
Add(s) of the Night
Nemanja Bjelica, PF, Sacramento Kings
It’s a pretty weak night for adds, with all the usual suspects coming through for their typical games. Bjelica makes the grade because he continues to be overlooked, and any time someone in the frontcourt gets hurt he’s an automatic play in all formats. If he’s still on your waiver wire then go make a move. Odds are someone will after his dynamite showing against Orlando — 13-of-16 from the field, 34 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and an insane eight 3-pointers.
Our Pickups of the Night article will have a fuller breakdown and look at some of the less obvious names from tonight.
Jeff Teague, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves
This is a very lukewarm suggestion given Teague’s track record as well as the rest of Minnesota’s backcourt, but it’s worth pointing out that Teague has been a top-170/230 (8/9-cat) guy over the last month, averaging only 25.3 mpg in that span. On the full season Teague is a more respectable top-105/130 option, but things appear to be trending in the wrong direction for him. As an impending free agent on a team that has plummeted out of the playoff picture, there’s really no need for the Wolves to prioritize Teague’s minutes. Whether they should be exchanging them for Shabazz Napier minutes is another question entirely, but that’s where things are headed right now. Tonight Teague had six points, five assists and a steal in 21 minutes off the bench.
While we still believe that Teague can turn it around, we understand making a move in a 12-team format if there’s a hot free agent or someone with fantastic upside sitting on waivers. This is also a nice way of saying that there wasn’t a ton of unpredictable stuff happening on tonight’s slate, with most of the potential pickups likely to have already been picked up in most formats and most of the mediocre players doing their usual mediocre business.
Marvin Bagley returned from a left foot sprain, and he should get lots of runway to work with now that Richaun Holmes is out for a couple weeks or more.
An MRI revealed that Rajon Rondo is dealing with a fracture in his right ring finger, so he may miss some time. Elsewhere in Lakerland, LeBron James played through an illness while Anthony Davis (glute contusion) missed his third straight. He’s been questionable for the last couple so a return could be coming soon there.
For the other LA guys, Paul George missed his third straight game with a left hamstring strain. That’s good news for Kawhi Leonard’s fantasy managers in that it might force him to play more, but bad news for everyone else.
Karl-Anthony Towns missed yet another game, though that was said to be because of his illness and not his knee. If that’s the case, KAT could be back in the next one.
Malcolm Brogdon played through strep throat while Domantas Sabonis (left knee) suited up after going for an MRI on the weekend.
Trae Young (back) and De’Andre Hunter (finger sprain) are questionable for Tuesday.
Jae Crowder (hip) and Brandon Clarke (finger sprain) are also questionable for Tuesday.
Damion Lee won’t play as a result of his ongoing contract dance. It’s expected that he signs a deal sometime this week so he shouldn’t be out much longer.
Clint Capela (heel) and PJ Tucker (shoulder) are good to go for Tuesday, while Russell Westbrook will sit that one out and play on Wednesday night.
Kyrie Irving (shoulder) says he’s going to try and play in the Tuesday-Wednesday back-to-back, though we’ll see if the Brooklyn docs are on the same page.
Kristaps Porzingis (right knee) might return on Tuesday, but even if he does he’ll sit on Wednesday.
The Pelicans keep getting gut punched, as Brandon Ingram (knee), JJ Redick (hamstring), Jrue Holiday (elbow) and Derrick Favors (right hamstring) were all ruled out. Holiday is expected to be back on Thursday, and there are rumors that Zion Williamson (knee surgery) will be making his debut then as well…
I Don’t Wanna Work / I Just Wanna Bang on the Drum All Day
As the trade deadline approaches, it seems that each week we get another voice predicting an Andre Drummond trade to add to the chorus. The Pistons are in such a bad way that we wouldn’t anticipate an outright benching to preserve his health, and therefore trade value, but his benching tonight is going to raise eyebrows. Most of it had to do with the fact that he wasn’t that good and Christian Wood was all over the place, but one can’t help but wonder if the Pistons will look for excuses to keep Drummond’s minutes in check until a move happens. Especially if Drummond’s effort level continues to be blatantly below par.
Tonight he sat for the final 20 minutes of action, finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks while shooting 5-of-14 from the field in 22 minutes. Wood had 18 points, nine rebounds, two steals, three blocks and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. If nothing else, it was good to see him get minutes after it looked like he might be behind Sekou Doumbouya and Markieff Morris in the pecking order.
Still, it’s not like Wood is a hotshot prospect. He’s two years younger than Drummond and there’s a reason that he’s bounced around the league without ever carving out a real role so far. His time figures to be coming but Dwane Casey won’t just hand him a gig.
At this point fantasy GMs should probably be hoping for a deal, as playing out the string on a terrible Detroit team is a prime shutdown scenario.
Changing in Charlotte
The Hornets have been an under-the-radar interesting team, and the fact that the bottom half of the East has been so bad has also helped them hang around the playoff picture despite a few interesting choices this year. Of course, even though they sit in ninth they are a clear cut below the 7-8 pack of Orlando and Brooklyn, and this year is not going to be measured by whether or not they make the playoffs. It’s another situation that’s ripe for rotational change just to see how the pieces fit.
Tonight, Nicolas Batum reasserted himself with a nice performance in 30 minutes, tallying nine points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a 3-pointer. This may have been James Borrego doing right by the veteran in a return to his old Portland stomping grounds as Batum had only played in two of the previous nine games. This is obviously a wait-and-see situation outside of deeper leagues but Batum was terribly frustrating last year and still posted late-middle-round numbers. If we can get any kind of insurance that he’d actually hold down steady work, there’s pickup potential.
In the frontcourt, Bismack Biyombo relinquished his starting role and was totally out of the rotation. We’d say that it could be a matchup thing given Portland’s bench, but Willy Hernangomez, who has less to offer as a defender than Biz, took over the backup work. Biyombo did have to briefly leave Sunday’s game after getting hit on the nose but he wasn’t on the injury report tonight so it looks like a straight DNP-CD.
Cody Zeller remains the most appealing fantasy option of the bunch but has been stuck as a miscast power forward or backup center of late. He had six points, five rebounds and a steal in 23 minutes tonight while Hernangomez took full advantage of his opportunity with 14 points, four rebounds and a block on 7-of-8 shooting in just 16 minutes.
It’s been a little surprising that the Hornets haven’t even tried to give Hernangomez a look this season, but maybe that’s changing now. Like the Batum situation, Hernangomez does have a history of top-100 numbers, albeit a couple years back with the Knicks, though his position as a young guy on a rebuilding team with only veterans around him leaves a little glimmer of hope for the second half.