February 22, 2021, 6:15 am
Week nine ended with a bang as six of the eight road teams walked away with a victory. Opening the night, the Pelicans staged their biggest comeback in franchise history to overcome a lethargic Celtics team. It was the usual suspects for the Pelicans with Josh Hart also continuing his recent surge. Robert Williams blocked four shots for the second consecutive game and seems to be carving out a consistent role for himself. The Thunder easily accounted for the Cavs with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander turning in a majestic performance. Jarrett Allen had arguably his best game of the season and the arrow is firmly pointed up for him moving forward. The Magic were powered by another masterclass by Nikola Vucevic as they took care of business against the visiting Pistons. With Delon Wright ruled out for the next two weeks, it was Saben Lee who stepped up, playing a very solid 33 minutes compared to only 15 minutes for Dennis Smith Jr. The Raptors, minus Kyle Lowry, proved they are still a force to be reckoned with, closing against the Sixers. Chris Boucher finished with 17 points and three blocks, proving that size doesn’t always matter. Joel Embiid managed to finish with yet another impressive total despite shooting just 30 percent from the field.
The Knicks handed the Wolves another loss which was subsequently followed by the surprise firing of head coach Ryan Saunders. The Wolves have the worst record in the league and so while this was a bit of a shock, we can’t say it came entirely out of left-field. The Hawks finally defeated a class opponent, thanks to 35 points and 15 assists at the hands of Trae Young. For the Nuggets, Jamal Murray continued his hot shooting, dropping another 30 points on 11-of-20 from the field. The Nets won their fifth straight road game in what was perhaps their most impressive victory of the season. While James Harden and Kyrie Irving did most of the damage, veteran DeAndre Jordan had his best game in quite a while and could be in for a boost in playing time should Jeff Green be forced to miss time. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were the Clippers’ best on the night but unfortunately, they received very little help. To end the night, the Bucks rolled through the Kings, with Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo having their way. Tyrese Haliburton was the best player on the floor for the Kings and now sits as the 42nd ranked player on the season.
Add(s) of the Night
Josh Hart, G, New Orleans Pelicans – Hart has been the 76th ranked player over the past two weeks and is clearly outplaying Eric Bledsoe right now. He won’t always score a ton but he rebounds like a mad-man and is worth adding until he cools off.
Saben Lee, G, Detroit Pistons – We all assumed Dennis Smith Jr. was going to be the man to step up after Delon Wright was ruled out for two weeks. To our surprise, Lee played the bulk of the point guard minutes and while there are certainly no assurances here, he is worth picking up to see how things play out.
Hamidou Diallo, G/F, Oklahoma City Thunder – Diallo’s time as a standard league player appears as though it is coming to an end, for now. It’s time to move on but do still keep an eye on him in case things change in Oklahoma City.
Marcus Morris, F, Los Angeles Clippers – Morris had been playing well but with the Clippers getting healthy again, it is time to release him back into the wild.
Steven Adams was questionable but ended up sitting out
Al Horford played on Sunday, meaning he could be rested on Monday
Taurean Prince has been questionable for the last few games but continues to miss time
Kyle Lowry was doubtful on Sunday and subsequently missed his third game
The Nuggets were without Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green and Gary Harris, all of whom could miss further time
Jeff Green was unable to finish the game due to a shoulder injury
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot also left the game early with a hip contusion
Kevin Durant is battling a hamstring injury and there is a decent chance they opt to play it safe here
Richaun Holmes returned for the Kings, while Harrison Barnes was ruled out again
Jrue Holiday remains out for the Pelicans as he works through the health and safety protocols
Long Term Streaming
Courtesy of Dan Besbris’ brilliant mind, I thought I would talk about a handful of streaming options that could potentially have some long-term value in 12-team formats. These are players who are rostered in less than 50 percent of leagues and while their immediate future may be clear, their rest-of-season prospects could also be worth gambling on.
Jae’Sean Tate, F, Houston Rockets – The Rockets have already decided to move on from DeMarcus Cousins and will likely be adopting more of a small-ball approach. While this solidifies Christian Wood as their long-term centre, it also opens up playing time for players like Tate. Over the past two weeks, Tate has been the 67th ranked player across a sample size of six games. His minutes are basically locked in at this stage and the scoring has been up of late. He has the ability to contribute on both ends of the floor and is generally very efficient from the floor. While it is unlikely he closes as a top-70 player, the top-100 is absolutely within sight.
Theo Maledon, G, Oklahoma City Thunder – Maledon is certainly not as clear cut as someone like Tate, although the opportunity is clear. He is starting for the Thunder right now and has played at least 30 minutes in three consecutive games. He has been a top-120 player over the past two weeks and based on what we have seen, this could be his floor moving forward. George Hill is nowhere in sight and there is a reasonable chance he is moved at some point later in the season. The Thunder want to see what a backcourt of Maledon and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander might look like and so there is a lot of incentive for them to simply hand him the reigns.
Isaiah Roby, C, Oklahoma City Thunder – Not unlike Maledon, Roby is a player who could benefit if another player is shipped out. Al Horford is clearly locked in as the starting center but Roby has managed to carve out a meaningful and productive role in just 20 minutes off the bench. Obviously, the playing time is not there as it is with Maledon, but he is being thrown in with the openers on those nights when Horford is resting. If Horford does hang around, the Thunder may even elect to scale back his playing time as the season progresses, affording Roby a more sizeable role. This one is a little more uncertain but the upside is there for Roby to have some sneaky value come the fantasy playoffs.
Jarred Vanderbilt / Jaden McDaniels, F, Minnesota Timberwolves – The Wolves very publicly parted ways with Ryan Saunders after their loss to the Knicks on Sunday. Not only did they decide to move on but they immediately subbed in a long-term replacement in Raptors assistant coach, Chris Finch. Now we have no idea what Finch is going to do when he arrives but one move he could make is to scale up the playing time for either Vanderbilt or McDaniels. Deciding which one is going to be tricky given they play a very similar role and both have quite unique skillsets. We have seen both players flirt with standard league value this season, only to see their playing time taken away as quickly as it came. Based on the three most recent performances for each player, McDaniels may seem like the most likely to be given the first crack.
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