February 10, 2020, 10:05 am
The All-Star Break is coming up and some teams probably can’t wait to get some R & R in after the dizzying trade deadline. But there’s no rest for the fantasy world as there’s still another set of games to run through and we’re getting to the point in the season when every single one of them count.
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 whether you can’t wait to get to the Slam Dunk contest already, here are some pointers no matter what type of fantasy mood you’re in.
Add(s) of the Night
Reggie Bullock, SG, New York Knicks – 37 minutes, 21 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, five 3-pointers, 8-of-18 FG.
With the Knicks leading scorer and 3-point shooter now playing for another team, there is opportunity for someone remaining in New York to fill in the void of those unique skill sets. The beauty of the Knicks roster composition is that there isn’t anyone with the resume or qualifications currently employed by James Dolan that would warrant that kind of a promotion. Except for Reggie Bullock.
Bullock has long been a sniper and owns a career 38.5% rate from beyond the stripe. That’s something the Knicks, who’ve been oddly competent over the past few weeks, could use in droves in a post-Marcus Morris world. Since R.J. Barrett, Elfrid Payton, Julius Randle aren’t all of the sudden going to become the kind of deep threats that keep opposing scouts up at night, someone is going to have to help them stretch the floor. Bullock isn’t going to do much else besides stroke it but there’s always someone out there who could use a 3-point streamer, so why not Bullock and his ample amount of minutes for the next few weeks..
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.
You’ll see the name and think ‘oh boy, here comes Josh with yet another nonsensical hot take’ but this is the time of year when you have to look past names and look at production. Then you’ll see that Horford hasn’t been a top-100 player over the past two months with a shooting percentage below 40%. Dig a little deeper and the Sixers all of the sudden have the one thing that’s been missing for them all season, which is a little bit of depth.
Obviously, Horford’s role on this team is secure but that hasn’t resulted in the type of Horford-type production that we’ve become accustomed to. The additions of Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks won’t change that but it might take some extra usage away from Horford. If that happens and Horford doesn’t help turn his and the Sixers season around, he becomes the kind of name that you put on your radar when the time comes for difficult decision making this time of year.
We begin with news out of Bruski-town where Marvin Bagley certainly sounded like a guy who expected to miss most if not all of the remainder of the season. If in fact Bagley is finished for the season, he will have played a total of 13 injury plagued games in what should have been a breakout campaign,
Newest Knickerbocker and Queens native Maurice Harkless has been dealing with an illness so he has yet to make his hometown team’s debut after missing Sunday’s game.
Kawhi Leonard was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Cavs with knee soreness rather than being labeled with load management considering this was a second game of a back-to-back. The injury designation is basically Kawhi and the Clips taking a page out of Don Draper’s book. If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.
Pat Beverley’s groin keeps acting up so he missed Sunday’s game for the Clippers as well.
Despite the Mavericks hoping to get Luka Doncic back prior to the All-Star Break, he’s been ruled out ahead of Monday’s game against the Jazz and we’ll consider him doubtful to play before the weekend.
Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Daniel Theis all returned to the Celtics lineup and are now a Time Lord away from being at full strength.
The only problem is that Jaylen Brown rolled his other ankle during the game and all that full health goodwill might be out the window.
Al Horford is dealing with an Achilles injury and even though he was able to play on Sunday against the Bulls he didn’t do so very effectively and probably needs to be monitored.
Nic Batum is out of Monday’s game against the Pistons so rather than watching the game in his warm-ups on the Hornets bench, he’ll be doing that in his pajamas on his couch.
Cody Martin has had his minutes trend up but he got whacked in the nose and will miss Monday’s game for the Hornets while he is in concussion protocol.
Cam Reddish also remains on concussion protocol for the Hawks and did not play in Sunday’s game against the Knicks.
Reddish’s fellow Hawks teammate DeAndre’ Bembry was also ruled out of Sunday’s game with a hand injury.
On the other hand, Trae Young was able to suit up for the Hawks despite a bruised right ankle. Young has been dinged up all season and still keeps going but with another losing season all but assured, who knows how long that will last.
Zach LaVine was able to play on Sunday despite having a neck injury but that also may be worth monitoring during the week.
Eric Gordon did not play on Sunday night against the Jazz due to a leg contusion. Lots of shots for Russ and Beard as a result.
Marc Gasol has been ruled out of Monday’s game with his hamstring injury and with the Raptors destroying everything that’s been laid in front of them, there’s no reason to rush the big man back.
The Raptors may also be without Kyle Lowry for another game due to a neck injury but with the Wolves coming to town and the break close, the Raptors may be cautious with their star point guard.
Richaun Holmes of House Hoop-Ball was ruled out again for Monday and his inevitable return from a shoulder injury keeps becoming a little less inevitable.
Jabari Parker and Alex Len will also be out for the Kings with a shoulder issues and the Kings frontcourt will remain barren for the time being. Apparently, the Kings don’t believe in carrying big men with functional shoulders.
Draymond Green is expected to return to the Warriors after some back tightness so we’ll see how long it takes before he and Wiggins come to blows.
Deandre Ayton had been red hot but is now listed as questionable with an ankle injury ahead of the Suns game against the Lakers.
Svi Mykhailiuk continues to be ruled out with a hip strain and is expected to miss his fifth straight for the Pistons.
Derrick Rose is doubtful with a groin injury that may have cost him his opportunity to leave the sinking Pistons ship.
Will Barton is going to be out again for the Nuggets with knee inflammation. His teammate Michael Porter Jr. will be out with an ankle injury so the Nuggets frontcourt will be down against the Spurs.
Finally, D’Angelo Russell has a quad contusion but is expected to take the court to make his debut for the Wolves and his buddy Karl-Anthony Towns.
Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked
The All-Star Break is a good time to relax a bit. It’s a very long season after all and even the best of us at this aren’t robots. But then again, if you want to try to make a jump on your opponents, the break also presents the perfect time to do that as well.
The rest of your league may be asleep at the wheel but you might want to take the time and do some digging into moves that could impact your team for the stretch run. You shouldn’t be afraid to shed some weight to take a chance on players who could deliver top-100 or better results during the stretch run.
If you’re holding onto a couple of the players we’ve noted above like an Al Horford or Marvin Bagley, what exactly are you hoping for? Horford has barely been a top-100 player all season and isn’t going to all of the sudden become a top option on his team. Bagley is openly admitting doubt that he returns this season and if he does, what kind of player is he really going to be?
In the meantime, everyone pounced on Christian Wood after the Andre Drummond trade but they might be overlooking Thon Maker who has seen 30 minutes a game since his departure. We’re not suggesting to immediately swap Horford with Maker but if Maker can put together a couple more good games then the break would be the time to pounce and take a chance on someone with newly found upside and opportunity.
The league is now littered with players like this post-deadline. New rotations are starting to materialize and that means players are getting minutes they weren’t seeing previously. Because there are only a few games between the trade deadline and All-Star break, other players might not be paying close enough attention to these changes. But you should, so be ready to pounce on a player you believe in while the rest of your league things it’s taking some time off.
May 27, 2020, 9:06 pmAndre IguodalaSF, Miami Heat
Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida after living in California since the NBA season was suspended.
Iguodala returning to the market where his team is could mean that he believes team workouts will begin soon. However, there is no official timetable on when team workouts will begin and Jimmy Butler has yet to return to Miami.
Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter
May 27, 2020, 7:52 pmZach LaVineSG, Chicago Bulls
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls were cleared by the Governor of Illinois and are in talks with city officials to open practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts that would follow the NBA guidelines.
The NBA's guidelines currently state that a maximum of four players are allowed in the facility at any given time and there can only be one player per hoop. The Bulls are currently eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls may not play again this season given how far behind they are in the standings and the recent reports of proposals to not continue the regular season.
Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter
May 27, 2020, 7:08 pmLuka DoncicPG-SF, Dallas Mavericks
Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Mavs plan to open their practice facility on Thursday.
This news would make the Mavs the 23rd team to have their facilities open for "voluntary and socially distanced player workouts". Continue to monitor the wire as we should learn more about the potential of the league resuming in early June.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
May 26, 2020, 10:07 pmKawhi LeonardSF, Los Angeles Clippers
On Tuesday afternoon, AmicoHoops reported (via Twitter) that an unidentified NBA GM told them the league has seriously discussed resuming the current NBA season on Wednesday, July 22.
Nothing has been officially announced, by any means, and this is the first we've heard of specific target date(s) from anyone. It's looking like the continuation of the season will occur in Orlando at Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, which has accommodations for at least some of what the NBA has planned for a resuming activity. As we have relayed numerous times recently, the next week or two seem to be a likely window for some decisions from Adam Silver and Co. at the NBA league office to start to come down. Stay tuned, hoops fans.
Source: AmicoHoops on Twitter
May 26, 2020, 8:47 pmDamian LillardPG, Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard announced on Tuesday evening that, in the event of a continuation of the NBA season, he would not be participating if the Blazers are scheduled to play 'meaningless games' with no shot at making the playoffs.
"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating," Lillard told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday morning. It's hard to blame him, as it is quite easy to see the potential situation from his point of view. There have been countless scenarios tossed around by the league office during the pandemic period, but nothing is set in stone so far. Lillard, for his part, is only interested in returning to action if there exists a legitimate shot for his Blazers to reach the NBA Finals. Fair enough.
Source: Yahoo! Sports
May 26, 2020, 8:34 pmJoel EmbiidC, Philadelphia Sixers
The Sixers, who have their practice facility located in nearby Camden, NJ, will allow voluntary player workouts at the facility beginning on Wednesday, raising the number of NBA teams who have been able to do so to 22.
The Celtics, Knicks, Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, Mavericks, Spurs and Warriors are the final teams remaining who are unable to return to their practice facilities. The NBA seems to be inching ever so close to, at the very least, announcing a plan for a continuation of the current season. This next week or two should be very eventful on that front.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
May 26, 2020, 8:26 pmClint CapelaC, Atlanta Hawks
Hawks GM Travis Schlenk indicated on Tuesday that Clint Capela (right heel, plantar fasciitis) could very well play in the event of an NBA restart.
"Clint [Capela] says he's feeling better, and there's a possibility that we can get him back on the court," Schlenk said in a phone interview with ESPN. "Practicing and playing five games would be valuable to us." Capela has yet to see the floor for the Hawks since he was acquired at the deadline from the Rockets, and one would have to surmise that he would be under a heavy minutes restriction if the league resumes and if the Hawks deem him healthy enough to give it a go. Still two big "ifs," but this is obviously positive news for the Hawks and potentially for fantasy owners who have managed to stash Capela in an injury slot this long.
May 26, 2020, 8:17 pmMohamed BambaC, Orlando Magic
Magic center Mo Bamba said on Tuesday that he's spent the quarantine period bulking up, self-proclaiming that he's put on close to 30 pounds of muscle.
Bamba said of his time off, ""I’ve worked my tail off during this quarantine. This is going to sound weird, but I put on probably about 28 pounds since quarantine (started)." He laughed and added that only about 2.5 percent of the weight he's put on is body fat. Bamba, along with many other NBA players, "can’t wait to get back out there and work" which is a great sign for the Magic and their fans. Jonathan Isaac is becoming more and more of a potential option for the team when/if the season is resumed as the days pass, so his presence would limit Bamba's chances on the offensive end of the floor. The team has yet to decide whether or not they want to play Isaac at all the rest of the season, regardless of the rumblings about a restart from the league office. However, this bulk-up on Bamba's part is nonetheless pretty impressive and is certainly noteworthy.
May 25, 2020, 3:16 pmTerry RozierPG, Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets are the latest team to re-open their facilities, with the Novant Health Training Center set to open up on Tuesday.
With this, there are only eight teams left to open their practice courts back up, though nobody has been able to engage in any sort of team work yet. Individual workouts are better than no workouts, however, and the league appears to be getting its ducks in a row in terms of returning to play. There's still no firm timelines but things do appear to be heading in the right direction.
Source: Charlotte Hornets
May 25, 2020, 3:13 pmJon LeuerPF, Milwaukee Bucks
Jon Leuer has announced his retirement from basketball.
Injuries completely destroyed Leuer's career, as he played in a combined 49 games over the previous two seasons with zero appearances in the 2019-20 campaign. Leuer's high point came with the Suns, where he averaged 8.5 points to go with 5.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and a 38.2 mark from deep. His eight-year career comes to an end, with Leuer saying that his body simply won't let him play at a high level anymore.
Source: Jon Leuer on Instagram