February 7, 2021, 11:48 pm
Super Bowl Sunday meant the NBA cleared off the evening schedule and treated us to a five-game afternoon slate. Three of those games featured wins by surging Western Conference teams. The Kings moved to 4-1 in their last five on the back of a 113-110 win over the Paul George-less Clippers, with De’Aaron Fox dropping 36 on 15-of-25 shooting. The Jazz solidified their best-in-the-NBA 19-5 record with a 103-95 victory against the Pacers. Donovan Mitchell excelled at point guard with Mike Conley (hamstring) sidelined, nearly triple-doubling with 27 points, nine rebounds and a season-high 11 assists. Devin Booker followed Mitchell’s lead, dishing out his own season-high 11 assists in the Suns’ 100-91 defeat of the Celtics. The Suns are quietly pushing back up the ranks in the West, putting together five wins in their last six games.
But the story that probably garnered most people’s attention this afternoon was the Pistons agreeing to trade Derrick Rose to the Knicks in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr. and a 2021 second-round pick (via the Hornets). Smith Jr. has largely been out of the Knicks’ rotation all year and has thus been irrelevant as far as fantasy is concerned. What is relevant is Rose’s move to New York, which is going to have unfortunate fantasy consequences for all parties involved. Rose excels in the same kind of scoring role that the Knicks have looked to Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley to fulfill. Quickley’s playing time has been all over the place and Rose’s arrival is only going to make the rookie’s role more inconsistent. As for Burks, he’s clung to 12-team value while playing just 26.2 minutes per game this season, but adding another guard to the mix will likely mean his playing time is squeezed too much to maintain those marks. Elfrid Payton could also see his role diminished, though he probably has the best chance of survival out of these four players, at least as far as playing time is concerned.
Looking at this situation, it’s tough to stop yourself from coming to the conclusion that all four of these players will all end up as drop candidates in standard leagues. But hey, with Tom Thibodeau, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson reunited the Knicks finally have their Big Three.
Add(s) of the Day
Ivica Zubac, C, LA Clippers – Advanced Ownership: 59%
Zubac has quietly had an excellent week, averaging 9.5 points on 65.2 percent from the field, 9.8 rebounds, 0.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game over the Clippers’ last four outings. Today, he double-doubled with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting (4-of-4 from the line), 14 rebounds and one assist. He and Serge Ibaka are still in a time-share and that’s unlikely to change, but Zubac is worth rostering in 12-team leagues while he’s playing this well.
Payton Pritchard, PG, Boston Celtics – Advanced Ownership: 3%
Pritchard is two games back from a knee injury but he’s already ahead of Jeff Teague in the rotation. The rookie played 22 minutes tonight, while the veteran Teague saw just 17. Marcus Smart (calf strain) still isn’t expected back for at least another week, which serves to elevate Pritchard as well. This afternoon he produced 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting with four threes, five rebounds and one steal. He’s not a must-add, but he’s probably rostered in too few leagues given his upside and the Celtics’ current injuries.
Be sure to check out Pickups of the Night for more intel on some key waiver adds.
Robert Williams, C, Boston Celtics – Advanced Ownership: 50%
Williams played 10 minutes in the Celtics’ loss this afternoon, scoring a single point with two rebounds in that time. You can tell me all you want about Williams’ high ceiling, but the Celtics’ jam-packed frontcourt means you aren’t going to be seeing that ceiling very often. Over the last month, Williams has ranked as 192nd/180th overall player in 8/9-cat respectively and that’s around where he’s going to stay unless a freak injury strikes down Daniel Theis or Tristan Thompson. There’s little reason 50 percent of teams in competitive leagues should be actively rostering him.
Paul George (bone edema) currently has no timetable for return. This is apparently a difficult injury to predict, as it’s all about pain tolerance and the only cure is rest. Robert Williams had a hip bone edema last season which forced him off the court for a month, while Otto Porter Jr.’s foot bone edema cost him almost the entirety of last season. Rostering PG-13 through this injury will likely be a headache, but unless someone offers you another top-20 player for him, it would be fairly pointless to sell-low right now. Lou Williams and Reggie Jackson both played well today without George and should see a big boost to their usage while he’s sidelined.
De’Andre Hunter (right knee discomfort) will undergo a lateral meniscus arthroscopic debridement on Monday and the Hawks will announce a timeline for his return in two weeks. This is unfortunate news and there should be no expectation that Hunter will be back anytime soon after those two weeks are up. We will likely be waiting four to six weeks to see the young breakout back on the court again. Kevin Huerter has benefitted greatly from Hunter’s absence and shouldn’t be on any waiver wires at the moment.
Larry Nance Jr. (left hand fracture) is expected to have surgery and miss between four to six weeks. This is a tough break for a guy having such a fantastic year. Taurean Prince has started for Nance previously, so keep an eye on his production going forward. He’s a decent speculative add, but his ceiling is low and his play inconsistent. Kevin Love (calf) seems to be nearing a return but is apparently unlikely to accompany the Cavs on their upcoming five-game road trip.
LeBron James (left ankle sprain) and Anthony Davis (right Achilles tendonitis) are both questionable for Monday. These two are on the injury report prior to every game, so this wouldn’t be news except for the fact that Davis’ tendonitis hasn’t been listed before. Either the Lakers are getting creative or the Brow suffered a new injury recently. Keep an eye on his status tomorrow. If he does sit out, the go-to streamer is usually Kyle Kuzma, but you could look to Talen Horton-Tucker too, as he’s been playing well of late.
Jamal Murray (left knee soreness) is listed as questionable for the Nuggets game against the Bucks on Monday, while Gary Harris (left adductor strain) has already been ruled out. Monte Morris had a strong 11-point, 9-assist outing with Murray sidelined on Saturday. He’s worth rostering if Murray gets ruled out tomorrow.
D’Angelo Russell (right quad contusion) is questionable for Monday’s game, while Karl-Anthony Towns (COVID-19) is doubtful but appears close to making his return.
Jaylen Brown (left knee soreness) didn’t play in the Celtics’ game this afternoon but did go through a workout, indicating he’s getting closer to a return.
OG Anunoby (left calf strain) will miss his sixth straight game on Monday.
Lauri Markkanen (right acromioclavicular) is doubtful for Monday while Otto Porter Jr. (lower back) has been ruled out. Patrick Williams has played over 30 minutes in the Bulls’ last three games and is worth adding until his two teammates return.
Isaiah Roby (right foot soreness) will sit out the Thunder’s game against the Lakers on Monday. Mike Muscala (concussion protocol) and Theo Maledon (health protocols) have also been ruled out.
LaMarcus Aldridge (right hip flexor soreness) has been ruled out for the Spurs’ matchup with the Warriors on Monday. Jakob Poeltl should be a great streaming option as a result. Lonnie Walker IV (illness) will also sit out Monday’s game.
De’Anthony Melton (left shoulder soreness) and Brandon Clarke (right calf soreness) will both sit out the Grizzlies’ matchup with the Raptors on Monday.
Devonte’ Graham (left groin strain) sat out the Hornets’ 119-97 blowout win over the Wizards today. LaMelo Ball enjoyed another start as a result and kept rolling with 19 points, three 3-pointers, seven rebounds, five assists and one steal.
Mike Conley (right hamstring tightness) missed this afternoon’s game as mentioned above. Joe Ingles started in his place and had a mediocre outing, but he’s generally worth streaming whenever the Jazz’s starting backcourt is hurt.
Goran Dragic (left hip flexor strain) sat out the Heat’s 109-103 win over the Knicks. Kendrick Nunn got the spot start in his stead and played well, scoring 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting with four triples, four rebounds and three assists. It doesn’t appear like Dragic’s injury is serious so he could be back soon, but Nunn is a worthy stream in the meantime.
Nerlens Noel (left knee soreness) missed his second game in a row today.
There are few things more impressive than a player completely transforming their game and tossing aside the stereotypes and narratives that previously defined them. That’s what Terry Rozier has done this season and he deserves more attention for what he’s accomplished. To many, Rozier has been a chucker for his entire career. Prior to this year, he’s only shot over 40 percent from the field in a single one of his five seasons in the NBA. Now, he’s become an incredibly efficient sharpshooter and one of the most efficient scoring guards in the league, shooting 47.2 percent from the field this season. His biggest improvement has come in the mid-range, where he’s shooting 52.2 percent, a massive increase from 36.1 percent last year. He’s embraced the arrival of a high-usage player in Gordon Hayward and found a way to fit his offense into the flow of the game instead of forcing things. He’s on pace for a top-50/45 season in 8/9-category leagues and we should be talking about him more as one of 2020-21’s biggest draft steals.