March 9, 2020, 8:48 am
An unusually large Sunday night slate at this time of year gives us a lot of news and offerings to choose from for The Dish. It also adds more opportunity for players to get hurt and give us an unnecessary headache to start the week. Oh the joys of fantasy season in March where half the battle is just praying for our guys to come out of games unscathed.
Regardless of how you’re feeling about your team this Sunday night into Monday morning, you’re going to want to try to stay ahead of the curve or make more adjustments. As the season progresses, you’re going to need to get more creative with the moves you make and we hope it isn’t because you are running out of IR spots. Whether you’re taking that celebratory morning sip of coffee or just waiting to be put out of your fantasy misery here are some pointers no matter what type of fantasy mood you’re in.
Add(s) of the Night
Otto Porter Jr., SF, Chicago Bulls – 25 minutes, 23 points, three rebounds, two assists, four steals, three 3-pointers, 9-of-17 FG, 2-of-4 FT.
For those of us who hung on for dear life, we’d like to give a warm welcome back to Otto Porter Jr. top-50 NBA fantasy player.
It took him a while but the rust from his long-lasting foot injury seems to have worn off. His minutes have increased into the mid-20s and the confidence seems to be back as well considering his ability to bounce back from a couple of poor outings previously. The result was a very Otto Porter type of line with scoring, 3-pointers, efficiency, and a bunch of steals.
There’s always risk with players who have dealt with lengthy foot injuries but if anyone can provide a boost with this kind of time made available to him, it’s OPJ. In addition, he only has Denzel Valentine to worry about at his position on a Bulls team that still has an outside shot at the playoffs. All it will take is a strong final few weeks for fantasy owners to regain a lot of the goodwill we had thought Porter had squandered some time ago.
Duncan Robinson, SG/SF, Miami Heat – 39 minutes, 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, seven 3-pointers, 8-of-12 FG.
What if I told you that Duncan Robinson has played more minutes per game and delivered more value per game than his teammate Jimmy Butler has over the past month of basketball?
Now what if I told you that Duncan Robinson was available in nearly half of all CBS and Yahoo leagues?
And now what if I told you that Butler is now dealing with a toe injury and Butler is notorious for missing chunks of time during the season? Would that all make for a good ‘30 for 30?’
Ok, enough telling. What Duncan Robinson has done from deep this season is nothing short of unfathomable. He has the trust of Erik Spoelstra and does enough in the popcorn stats during his minutes to make him more than just a one-trick pony. All those ‘what ifs’ now make Robinson a nice horse to ride during the stretch run of the season. Giddy up.
We’re not saying that you have to drop any of these guys, only that you should at least consider it depending who’s on your waiver wire. Your mileage may vary based on league size and team build, but for the most part we’ll try to cut dead weight in the 12-team range.
We anticipated this kind of stretch from Heat Check Lou with the additions of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard this offseason. There’s only one basketball and only so much someone can do when players of their caliber enter the fold. There were bound to be stretches of cold shooting and less usage. The problem for Williams now is that even more players have come to Los Angeles as the focus has shifted toward depth and Williams seems to be getting lost in the shuffle.
Lou-Will has only seen minutes in the 30s once since the All-Star Break and has been in a shooting funk to boot. Normally Williams could shoot his way back into rhythm, but again, this is a contending Clippers team and George and Leonard (and Marcus Morris for that matter) aren’t just going to stand around and let Sweet Lou shoot the ball 25 times to see if he can find a hot streak. Without the scoring volume Williams is just a stash in case one of the two Clippers stars go down at the worst possible time.
We begin with the news that on Sunday, DeAndre Jordan moved into the Nets starting lineup ahead of Jarrett Allen. Allen isn’t dealing with an injury, he’s perfectly fine. However, on the heels of the firing of Kenny Atkinson, it’s my spirit that is now week-to-week.
The real big injury news is that Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss the next couple of games with a joint capsule strain in his knee. On one hand it’s good news that Giannis won’t miss too much time and that he avoided a major issue. On the other hand, any missed time from a star of his caliber is really bad news for fantasy owners at this time of year and it can’t be all that heartwarming that his knee issues have persisted throughout the season.
Andre Drummond returned to the Cavs lineup after dealing with a calf injury and the hope is that he can finish strong after a very rocky start to his Cleveland tenure.
Cavs rookies Darius Garland and Kevin Porter remained out for the Cavs with groin and concussion issues respectively.
Zach LaVine didn’t play on Sunday but is nearing a return from a quad strain after missing a week of action.
Ryan Arcidiacono was also unavailable for the Bulls due to an Achilles injury and Shaq Harrison’s days of being a streaming delight will come to an end once LaVine and Arcidiacono return.
Both Eric Gordon and Ben McLemore were ruled out on Sunday for the Rockets and I seriously can’t believe we’re still watching an NBA where Jeff Green is getting significant minutes on a contending team.
Gordon Hayward returned to the Celtics lineup after a brief absence due to a knee contusion.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Celtics with a hip injury, making it the first game SGA has missed in his young career. He’ll have time to heal up with the Thunder not playing until Wednesday of this coming week.
Kristaps Porzingis played through an ankle sprain on Sunday with lackluaster results but his owners are hopeful that he can remain on his obscene tear uninterrupted.
Tim Hardaway Jr. also returned to the Mavs lineup after dealing with an illness.
The Pacers needed some positive injury news and got it on Friday when Victor Oladipo returned after missing a couple of games with a sore knee and again on Sunday when T.J. Warren was able to make it back to the lineup after receiving stitches in his leg.
One pair of Hawks in John Collins and Kevin Huerter are probable for Monday so they’re safe to get back into lineups. Another Hawks pair of DeAndres in Bembry and Hunter are both questionable to play on Monday with a case of irreconcilable differences in apostrophes.
Jeff Teague must have picked up the same bug as Trae Young as he is now questionable as well for the Hawks on Monday.
George Hill returned on Sunday so the cavalry is back right on time for the Bucks without Giannis.
Fred VanVleet has now missed over a week with a shoulder issue despite being tagged as questionable the last couple of games.
Marc Gasol has finally returned for the Raptors from a lengthy battle with a hamstring injury but was on a minutes limit off the bench and will likely be very restricted from now until the playoffs.
John Henson left Sunday’s game against the Knicks with what looked like a serious ankle injury and any hope of Henson being a sneaky streamer for big man stats is all but gone.
Tristan Thompson left Sunday’s game after getting poked in the eye. Rather than make a cornea joke, Iris that Thompson can return in a blink.
Moe Wagner was with trainers in the locker room during the 4th quarter of Sunday’s game.
And finally, Jimmy Butler left Sunday night’s game with a toe injury and the reports say that Buckets is pretty sore. We know the numbers Butler can put up but the injuries are starting to mount which has always been the story with Butler’s career.
Oh My God, They Killed Kenny
I was not expecting to begin my weekend with the news that the Nets were relieving Kenny Atkinson of his duties as head coach. The news was universally shocking around the league and even more so when you consider how injured the Nets have been this season and that they are still well positioned to make the playoffs for a second consecutive season. Atkinson was let go right after his team destroyed the Spurs on their home court no less.
It doesn’t take much to deduce that the new stars that came to Brooklyn this summer weren’t going to go to bat for Atkinson when push came to shove. If the reports are true that Atkinson pushed to leave then he clearly recognized that everything he had built over the past few seasons had changed and not for the better.
We heard similar grumblings out of Los Angeles that the Clippers locker room was not a happy place when considering the star treatment that Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were getting that replaced a scrappy underdog mentality that lifted the Clippers to a surprise playoff berth last season. At some point culture only gets you so far in today’s NBA and it’s the stars get you championships. The difference here is that Doc Rivers is seasoned enough to navigate these types of personalities whereas Atkinson has always been a builder and developer, not a babysitter. In Brooklyn, the builder sensed that something was wrong with the foundation, which then led to the decision to tear it down and start over.
Meanwhile across town, the Knicks are one self-made PR disaster after another. They went an alienated their most recognizable fan after doing the same to plenty of other less famous fans over the past several decades. They have no roadmap for change. No culture to speak of. Even the most optimistic of basketball scouts would say that this roster can be built around R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson with perhaps Kevin Knox being salvageable but the rest of it needs to go.
There are no star free agents in this year’s class. No Zion Williamson to tank for in the lottery. There isn’t a quick fix that a mountain of salary cap money will help solve. Just a long road of losing and the hope that someone is willing to deal with the whims of James Dolan and the hope that Leon Rose is finally the right guy to bring the Knicks back to just mere respectability.
The Knicks need someone who can see that light at the end of the tunnel to lead the team on the court and won’t flinch at every loss or setback. They need someone who can get the most out of a depleted roster and get them to look at the bigger picture. They need someone to give them hope that the previous retreads of David Fizdale, Jeff Hornacek and Mike Woodson could not provide.
This weekend, the Nets just handed their rivals a lifeline. We’ll see if the Knicks are smart enough to grab it.
March 27, 2020, 8:36 pmKillian HayesSG, International
Killian Hayes, a highly touted 18-year old point guard who has played three years professionally in France and Germany, has declared for the 2020 NBA draft after submitting the paperwork to the NBA league office.
Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Hayes has been on scouts' radars for quite some time after riding some very impressive YouTube highlight videos to prospect relevancy. In his most recent season, with ratiopharm Ulm in Germany, Hayes averaged 12.8 PTS, 6.2 AST, 2.3 REB and 1.5 STL while seeing his NBA draft stock rise as a result. He is a very talented shooter and it is seemingly more and more likely that Hayes will see his name called in the lottery when draft night arrives.
March 27, 2020, 8:24 pmPatrick WilliamsSF, College
Patrick Williams, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound small forward out of Florida State, has declared for the 2020 NBA draft after a shortened freshman season off the bench, averaging 9.2 PTS, 4.0 REB and 1.0 AST while not starting a single game for a deep Seminoles squad.
The intriguing aspect of Williams' draft aspirations lies in his dimensions; particularly his 7-foot wingspan. He had modest numbers but that can largely be attributed to how deep their rotation was in 2019-20, similar to fellow 'Nole Devin Vassell, who also declared for the draft recently. Williams has incredible athleticism and has made himself into an intriguing prospect who could find himself landing in the first round if his draft stock maintains momentum.
Source: Patrick Williams on Twitter
March 27, 2020, 12:14 pmRudy GobertC, Utah Jazz
The Utah Department of Health has cleared both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, meaning they no longer pose a risk of infection to others.
Both Gobert and Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19, and although Gobert mentioned that he briefly lost his senses of taste and smell, the duo seems to be fully recovered. This is great news as we wait for word on when or if the NBA season will be able to continue.
Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter
March 26, 2020, 4:11 pmReggie BullockSG-SF, New York Knicks
Reggie Bullock will likely return to the Knicks for another season, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
If the Knicks chose not to bring back Bullock for next year, the team would suffer a $1M cap hit. That means that bringing him back for another season will only have a cap hit of $3.2M. That amount is only 2 percent of the projected salary cap for next season. The Knicks appear to be focused on creating cap flexibility for future years in the hopes that they can land some big-name free agents. Continue to monitor this situation as it develops but it appears likely that Bullock will be in a Knicks uniform for at least one more season.
Source: The New York Post
March 26, 2020, 3:57 pmDamyean DotsonSG, New York Knicks
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Damyean Dotson's time with the Knicks could come to an end after this season and the Jazz, Bucks and Warriors are among the teams that are expected to have interest in signing Dotson for the 2020-21 campaign.
Dotson saw his role with the Knicks evaporate towards the end of the season as he received a DNP-CD for eight of the Knicks' final nine contests. Interim head coach, Mike Miller, chose to play veterans Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock over the 25-year-old that they drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft. Dotson will look to land in a situation that will give him a more consistent role as a three-and-D wing as he enters his fourth season in the association.
Source: The New York Post
March 25, 2020, 11:12 pmMalik FittsSF, College
Malik Fitts announced on Twitter that he is declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Fitts was the second leading scorer for a Saint Marys' team that was top-10 in offensive efficiency. He averaged 16.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting .472 from the field and .408 from beyond the arc. Fitts is an under-the-radar draft prospect who will likely be a second-round pick at best. He is likely to have a limited role if he makes an NBA roster next season, but his 3-point efficiency and steals are two fantasy skills that translate well from college to the pros. He could be a threes and steals specialist if he gets minutes in the upper-20s.
Source: Malik Fitts on Twitter
March 25, 2020, 9:11 pmJae CrowderPF, Miami Heat
Jae Crowder said that Miami "felt like home" and he always wanted to play for the Heat.
Crowder is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and he is making it clear that he would prefer to remain in a Heat uniform next season. Crowder has played 28.7 minutes per game as a member of the Heat and has posted top-80 value during that stretch. Despite his great play so far in Miami he will likely fall into a more reduced role next season if he were to return. Crowder's best outcome for his fantasy value would be to sign with a rebuilding team where he can play big minutes as a veteran, similar to his role in Memphis this season.
Source: Anthony Chiang on Twitter
March 25, 2020, 6:37 pmChristian WoodPF, Detroit Pistons
Christian Wood has fully recovered from the coronavirus, according to James Edwards III.
Wood only showed the mildest of symptoms prior to the NBA season being suspended two weeks ago. The NBA has chosen to suspend play in the hopes that the virus will not spread as quickly. It is still unclear when the NBA will resume or if they will even play out the rest of the regular season. However, it is a good sign to see people recovering from the virus and the hope is that we stop seeing players who contract the illness.
Source: James Edwards III on Twitter
March 25, 2020, 3:54 pmJohn WallPG, Washington Wizards
Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reported that John Wall (left Achilles) will not return for the remainder of the 2019-20 season despite the hiatus.
Wall has missed all of the 2019-20 season so far and was only able to play in 73 games over the prior two seasons due to a variety of injuries. The Wizards' GM, Tommy Sheppard, told Buckner in an interview regarding Wall's availability going forward, “We’re very anxious to see John Wall in uniform next year. I don’t think any of this changes that.” We'll have to wait until next season to see Wall return to the court even when/if the NBA season resumes later on this calendar year.
Source: The Washington Post
March 24, 2020, 11:37 pmKenyon Martin Jr.PF, College
Kenyon Martin Jr., forward from IMG Academy, has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft.
You guessed it, Kenyon Martin Jr. is the son of 2000 NBA Draft first pick Kenyon Martin Sr. He is eligible for draft after a year at IMG since he graduated from Sierra Canyon High School a year ago. Martin had committed to Vanderbilt last May before heading to IMG Academy. This year's draft order looks to be more unpredictable than most, so based on Martin's athleticism and pedigree, he has a shot to make some noise on draft night.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter