May 2, 2021, 3:01 am
20 teams in action on what was a busy night in the NBA. The Hornets welcomed back LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk as they took care of business against the Pistons. Ball was more than serviceable in 28 minutes and should basically be able to hit the ground running. Miles Bridges has been a revelation since Gordon Hayward went down and is certainly going to be a league-winning player in more than one situation. The Pistons are resting anyone and everyone at this point, making Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart the only must-add players on the roster. The Warriors blew out the Rockets thanks to nine defensive counters courtesy of Juan Toscano-Anderson. Steph Curry shot under 40 percent but still managed to score 30 points, which tells you a lot about where he is at right now. Kevin Porter Jr. cooled off but still had himself a decent outing. Kelly Olynyk also finally slowed down but should look to bounce back in their game against the Knicks on Sunday.
Domantas Sabonis returned as the Pacers beat the Thunder by 57 points. The playing time was all over the place in this one but it does look as though Oshae Brissett is going to have value moving forward, at least until Myles Turner returns. The Thunder are a dumpster fire at this point and I’m not sure anyone is a must-roster player. The Heat held on to beat the Cavs who finally got a decent game out of Kevin Love. Cedi Osman double-doubled and has been playing better lately, making him a possible pickup. Duncan Robinson found his range, dropping in six triples in just 21 minutes. Kendrick Nunn has been on a scoring tear of late and that continued again. Until we get word that Victor Oladipo is back, Nunn should continue to have value.
Cole Anthony drained a 3-pointer to snatch victory from the Grizzlies, capping off another productive night for the rookie. Since returning from injury, he has been playing very well and is basically a must-roster player at this point. Mo Wagner had his best game of the season and if the Magic continue to roll him out there for significant minutes, he could be worth a flier. De’Anthony Melton turned in a gem despite playing just 19 minutes. Fine to stream in but the playing time is just not there in terms of him maintaining consistent value. Jaren Jackson struggled and given the uncertainty from game to game, I don’t see him as a priority pickup. Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson carried the Pelicans to an overtime victory over the Wolves. Ball has been incredible of late and is the 13th ranked player over the past month. Ricky Rubio racked up six steals and seven assists and that in itself is enough for him to be considered a must-roster player.
The Hawks scraped by the Bulls who lost Nikola Vucevic just prior to tipoff. Thad Young stepped into the starting lineup and once again, came through with a well-rounded performance. Trae Young scored 33 points on only 14 shot attempts, adding seven assists and two steals. As long as he is healthy, he should continue putting up gaudy numbers. Bogdan Bogdanovic returned and continued where he left off prior to his injury. The Wizards fell one-point short in Dallas despite Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal combining for 71 points. Willie Cauley-Stein has been playing well enough to be considered in deeper formats and that continued on Saturday as he hauled in 12 rebounds to go with four defensive stats. Dorian Finney-Smith is balling out right now and simply needs to be added everywhere.
The Nuggets continue to play well despite the fact they are without Jamal Murray and Will Barton. Michel Porter Jr. looks fantastic as the second option on offense, while on the other side of the equation, Aaron Gordon can be dropped. Rajon Rondo contributed across the board in a whopping 30 minutes. We know he can put up numbers when he is healthy and so give him a look if you need assists and steals. Kawhi Leonard returned and was fine, without being spectacular. Finally, the Jazz came from behind to defeat the Raptors who got another strong performance out of Khem Birch. Based on what we have seen over the past two weeks, Birch has to be rostered everywhere. Fred VanVleet returned after a game on the sidelines and had his best game in quite a while. Malachi Flynn looks as though he will have value the rest of the way based on the fact the Raptors seem as though they are going to continue resting players on a regular basis. Bojan Bogdanovic led all scorers with 34 points and he is worth a look with both Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell on the sideline. Likewise, Joe Ingles should be rostered everywhere right now.
Add(s) of the Night
Frank Jackson, G, Detroit Pistons – Jackson has scored in double digits in three straight games and looks to have established himself a meaningful spot in the rotation. He offers basically nothing on the defensive end but his ability to score and hit 3’s can be valuable.
Oshae Brissett, F, Indiana Pacers – Chances are Brissett was added a week or so ago but with the return of Domantas Sabonis, people may have been quick to part ways with him. If that was the case, go and grab because it appears as though he should continue to have value moving forward, especially with Myles Turner out indefinitely.
Aaron Gordon, F, Denver Nuggets – Gordon is playing decent minutes but failing to deliver anything close to standard league value. He is the 247th ranked player over the past two weeks, something that should tell you everything you need to know if you are considering picking him up.
Lauri Markkanen, F, Chicago Bulls – This move should have been made a few weeks ago but for those still clinging to hope, rest assured Markkanen is a safe drop at this point.
The Pistons were without Mason Plumlee, Jerami Grant, Hamidou Diallo, Cory Joseph, Dennis Smith Jr, Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder and Jahlil Okafor
Devonte’ Graham was a late scratch for the Hornets with a knee injury
LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk returned to action
Kelly Oubre was ruled out due to his ongoing wrist injury and could miss further time
The Rockets were without their usual guys
Domanta Sabonis returned and looked fantastic
Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb were ruled out but the opposition may have been a factor
Much like the Pistons, the Thunder are openly tanking at this point and so there will be a bevy of players unavailable on a nightly basis
Darius Garland didn’t play due to an ankle injury
Brandon Clarke was a DNP-CD
Grayson Allen was ruled out with a hand injury
Terrence Ross continues to miss time with a back injury
Steven Adams did not play due to his ongoing toe injury
Nikola Vucevic was a late scratch due to an adductor strain
Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter both returned for the Hawks
Kristaps Porzingis did not play, continuing what has been a frustrating season
Kyle Lowry was rested against the Jazz
Fred VanVleet returned from his one-game rest
Gary Trent Jr. continues to be ruled out with a leg injury
Donovan Mitchell appears as though he will be sidelined for at least another week
Mike Conley is also battling a hamstring complaint
League Winning Pickups
We are well and truly at the pointy end of the fantasy basketball season and for many of you, your playoffs may be wrapping up this week. Wherever you find yourself, whether it be roto or head-to-head, the waiver wire is surely an area you have had to target over the past few weeks. Although typically reserved for streaming purposes, occasionally a player finds his way onto your roster and as fate would have it, a partnership is born. With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few players who were mere waiver wire fodder only a handful of weeks ago, yet now stand on the brink of carrying you towards a fantasy championship.
Oshae Brissett, F, Indiana Pacers – Here we have a player who many would not have heard of only one month ago. Yet now, here we are with Brissett putting up top-15 numbers over the past two weeks. The Pacers have been without Myles Turner, Goga Bitadze and Domantas Sabonis, allowing Brissett to step into a favorable situation, to say the least. Not only has the playing time been more than adequate, but he has also demonstrated an ability to put up numbers across the board, highlighting why the team recently signed him to a long-term deal. Sabonis returned on Saturday and the game wasn’t even remotely close, meaning Brissett still played a ton of minutes. That said, Turner and Bitadze remain on the shelf and the Pacers are likely to continue rolling with Brissett for the time being.
Dorian Finney-Smith, F, Dallas Mavericks – Finney-Smith is a far different player to Brissett and one who may have been rostered in your league throughout the season. He has been a consistent producer for the Mavs, much like he has in previous seasons, yet typically flies under the radar. However, over the past two weeks, he has taken his game to another level and comes in as the 21st ranked player in 12-team formats. Kristaps Prrzingis is one of the most oft-injured players in the league and so Finney-Smith seemingly has a path to minutes the rest of the way. His elevated scoring is likely to drop off at some point but his multi-faceted game should keep him inside the top-100 without too much trouble.
Khem Birch, C, Toronto Raptors – Birch has flashed limited upside in the past but has never been able to land himself a consistent role. Coming to the Raptors, his role was once again up in the air and GMs saw him as a bit of a flier, at best. Cue an injury to Chris Boucher and add to that the fact the Aron Baynes has been terrible, and we finally have a situation where Birch can spread his wings without fear of reprimand. He is the 58th ranked player over the past two weeks, elevating that to be a second-round producer across the last week. It appears the Raptors are not going to rest him as they are doing with a host of other players and so the playing time seems all but assured.
Kendrick Nunn, G, Miami Heat – Nunn has been able to do this before, generally putting up value when injury befalls his teammates. The arrival of Victor Oladipo sent Nunn back to the bench and even out of the rotation completely, on occasions. However, as has been the case with Oladipo over the past two seasons, he succumbed to yet another injury, opening the door for Nunn to shift back into the starting lineup. Since that time, he has been a top-50 player, thanks primarily to his efficient scoring. As long as the Heat are without Oladipo, Nunn should remain a key piece of their offense and the fantasy value seems likely to follow.
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