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.
April 7, 2020, 11:18 pmLauri MarkkanenPF, Chicago Bulls
Report: Nuggets' General Manager Arturas Karnisovas is the early frontrunner for the Bulls' top exec spot.
The Bulls are finally planning to move on from the Gar Foreman and John Paxson-led front office, though both may stay with the organization. Karnisovas has the draft and development track record that the Bulls are seeking. The search is in the early stages, though the Bulls do plan to have someone hired prior to the resumption of the season.
April 7, 2020, 11:07 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Report: NBA players that received advanced payments or regular payments on a six-month cycle instead of a 12-month cycle could return significant amounts to owners as part of a compensation deal.
Owners may already get back a pro-rated amount of their players' salaries for each game that is not made up this season. And these players that have been paid some of their salary early would need to return the advanced portion, as well. The takeaway here is that both sides would clearly benefit by playing as many regular season games as possible, but the painful talks about how to handle the missing revenue from the inevitable missed games are moving along.
April 7, 2020, 8:39 pmCassius StanleySG, College
Duke freshman shooting guard Cassius Stanley (6-foot-6, 193 pounds) has announced his plans to enter the 2020 NBA draft, after racking up averages of 12.6 PTS, 2.9 REB and 1.1 3-pointers per game, while setting averages of 47.4 percent FG, 36.0 percent from long range and 73.3 percent from the free throw line in his only season with the Blue Devils.
Stanley had a solid shortened (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) freshman year at Duke and has decided to follow the ever-popular one-and-done route for college players coming out of perennial powerhouse programs. While his numbers don't jump off the stat sheet, he is immensely talented and can put the ball in the bucket. At this point, whenever the 2020 draft happens, Stanley projects as a second-round selection.
Source: Adam Zagoria on Twitter
April 7, 2020, 8:29 pmBoth GachSG, College
Sophomore Both Gach, a 6-foot-3 ,183 pound guard out of Utah, announced his plans on Tuesday to enter the 2020 NBA draft after concluding his second (shortened; due to COVID-19 pandemic) season with the Utes, averaging 10.7 PTS, 3.6 REB and 2.9 AST in 2019-20.
Unlike Nico Mannion, who also declared for the draft Tuesday, this announcement was less expected. Gach is likely looking to gauge interest from NBA teams and may not hire an agent, at least not initially. He caught some eyes with his play early in the season, but currently does not project as a selection in either round of the upcoming draft. There's a chance we see Gach back with Utah next season.
Source: Evan Daniels on Twitter
April 7, 2020, 8:13 pmNico MannionPG, College
Nico Mannion, a highly-touted freshman guard out of Arizona, has entered his name into the 2020 NBA draft pool on Tuesday.
Mannion has garnered national attention since his high school days, largely due to his impressive video clips on social media and YouTube. He has been projected as a lottery pick in the 2020 draft for some time now, so it's safe to say this isn't surprising in the least. Mannion has incredible skill as a distributor and despite his low shooting percentages in his lone season at Arizona (39.2 percent FG and 32.7 percent from deep), he should not be on the board beyond the lottery picks, whenever the 2020 draft occurs.
April 7, 2020, 5:48 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
The NBA "would like to have a champion crowned by Labor Day weekend," per Adrian Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski was on "Get Up" on Tuesday morning with host Mike Greenberg when he gave the latest timeline that he is hearing. Woj made it a point of emphasis that this is the ideal timeline that the NBA is hoping to complete this season by, and added that if this comes to fruition there is no question that the start of next season would be delayed. This is the latest timeline that we are hearing about, and we will have to see how realistic this is as time passes.
April 6, 2020, 9:11 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
NBA teams will not be allowed to conduct in-person or live video workouts for NBA Draft prospects but will be allowed up to four hours of virtual meetings per prospect.
Whenever the draft happens, it will be with the least amount of research in quite a while. Teams will be without tournament game tape for college prospects and without the ability to watch live workouts. Combined with a lack of consensus on who the best players are, this could lead to a wild draft with the eventual best players going much later than usual.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
April 6, 2020, 8:36 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Adam Silver said there will be no way to know the NBA season's fate until at least May 1st.
It's not much of a surprise to hear that Silver doesn't expect to have enough information to make a determination about the season until next month at the very least. He also mentioned that the NBA has looked a lot at games without fans.
Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter
April 6, 2020, 5:15 pmTyrese MaxeySG, College
Tyrese Maxey has declared for the NBA draft.
The freshman from Kentucky finished the college season with averages of 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 dimes, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.1 threes per contest. Maxey is gifted with a tremendous knack for scoring and has the looks of a lottery selection, though obviously this draft season could be a very strange one.
Source: Malika Andrews on Twitter
April 5, 2020, 8:40 pmDennis Smith Jr.PG, New York Knicks
Marc Berman of the New York Post is reporting that with new leadership in place for the Knicks, the team is likely to shop Dennis Smith Jr. this offseason.
Knicks President Leon Rose has no attachment to Smith, and with head coach David Fizdale and assistant coach Keith Smart no longer around to justify his retention, there is little reason for the Knicks to continue relying upon DSJ's services. He struggled all season, from a back injury, to the loss of his stepmother, to an obscure oblique injury, and a concussion in February. Smith will be worth a flyer for another team to roll the dice on, but it is unlikely he gets a real chance to be the Knicks point guard of the future again. It will be difficult for Smith to become a standard league option no matter where he is playing next season. He is simply too lousy a shooter from the field and free-throw line. His turnover rate also remains an issue in 9-CAT formats.
Source: NY Post