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.
January 24, 2020, 12:59 amDamian LillardPG, Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard was on fire again in Thursday's 125-133 loss to the Mavs, scoring 47 points on 16-of-28 shooting to go with six boards, eight assists, a steal and eight 3-pointers.
Lillard put forth his best efforts to Carry the Blazers to another win tonight and it's going to be looking like this for the foreseeable future. He's the No. 6 player overall in 9-cat leagues and there's no reason he can't finish there with some upside beyond that with how much the Blazers are leaning on him.
January 24, 2020, 12:58 amTrevor ArizaSF, Portland Trail Blazers
Trevor Ariza started on Thursday and scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go with seven boards, two dimes, two steals and four triples.
Ariza did a great job on offense in his start and the Blazers have no real reason to not play him big minutes as they don't have many reliable options. His defensive abilities are still limited, but it might be worth it to scoop up Ariza just to see where this thing goes as the Blazers have revived a few fantasy careers this year already.
January 24, 2020, 12:57 amHassan WhitesideC, Portland Trail Blazers
Hassan Whiteside had some foul trouble (5) on Thursday, but still managed to play 33 minutes, tallying 14 pointson 6-of-8 shooting to go with 10 boards and a block.
Whiteside couldn't really keep up with the Mavs tonight, which led to his poor stat line. He's the No. 7 player in 9-cat leagues so we'll give him some leash considering the Mavs are the No. 1 offense in the NBA. Even with Jusuf Nurkic (leg) resuming practice, as long as Whiteside stays in Portland, he should maintain early-round value.
January 24, 2020, 12:56 amCarmelo AnthonyPF, Portland Trail Blazers
Carmelo Anthony double-doubled on Thursday with 16 points and 11 boardsto go with five dimes, one steal, one block and two triples on Thursday.
Anthony recorded his first double-double since his game against Houston on January 15th and added his usual inefficient scoring to his line. He had a couple extra dimes thanks to closing out the game in garbage time minutes so don't expect those to come too often.
January 24, 2020, 12:55 amLuka DoncicPG-SF, Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic scored 27 points on 11-of-25 shooting to go with six rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two triples on Thursday.
Doncic was his usual superstar self on Thursday and was named as an All-Star starter tonight, making him the youngest player to earn this honor since LeBron James in 2005. He's in elite company already in reality and fantasy and his historic year should end with him inside the top-12.
January 24, 2020, 12:54 amMaxi KleberPF, Dallas Mavericks
Maxi Kleber scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting with four boards, one dime, three blocks and two triples on Thursday.
Kleber came off the bench, but he's stepped into his increased role and easily landed with standard league value for the remainder of the year. He's going to be good for traditional big man stats with a couple cash counters here and there to keep his head above water.
January 24, 2020, 12:54 amKristaps PorzingisPF-C, Dallas Mavericks
Kristaps Porzingis scored 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go with five rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers on Thursday.
Porzingis' playing time will be on the lower end of 30 minutes at a maximum and his shooting most likely won't get back on track, but his contributions on triples (2.2) and blocks (2.1) are enough to keep him within the top-50 at a minimum.
January 24, 2020, 12:53 amTim Hardaway Jr.SF, Dallas Mavericks
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting to go with one rebound, four assists and three triples on Thursday.
Hardaway Jr. has scored in double figures for the ninth consecutive game and has found some consistency in his play as of late. The Mavs lost Dwight Powell (Achilles) for the season and Kristaps Porzingis will always be on a minutes limit due to his knee which means THJ should have some extra opportunity to deliver on his scoring numbers.
January 24, 2020, 12:53 amSeth CurrySG, Dallas Mavericks
Seth Curry scored 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go with one rebound, two assists, a steal and four triples on Thursday.
Curry has had a solid stretch lately and is worth owning for owners in need of triples, but outside of that he holds little value. Jalen Brunson (17 points, three rebounds, one assist and four triples) also had a solid game off the bench with Delon Wright (nine points, eight boards and four dimes) always finding a way to put up a solid line as well. The three-headed monster at guard isn't the most ideal situation in fantasy hoops, but target Brunson for dimes, Curry for treys and Wright for a little bit of everything.
January 24, 2020, 12:04 amJarrett AllenC, Brooklyn Nets
Jarrett Allen didn't take advantage of DeAndre Jordan's absence on Thursday, scoring seven points and grabbing eight boards as the Nets fell 128-113 to the Lakers.
Allen added just one blocked shot in his 30 minutes. He should still be a decent mid-round value going forward, even if DeAndre Jordan is around to gobble up rebounds.