January 20, 2020, 9:32 am
So much to cover and so little…hey wait a minute! Where did all the games go? What do you mean there were only two games on Sunday? What is this nonsense? Did the league decide to take a Kawhi load management day? It’s not like people actually care about the Chiefs and the 49ers, right? I demand more basketball on my Sunday nights!
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’re ready to voluntarily jump into an icy lake without clothes, here are some pointers no matter what type of fantasy mood you’re in.
Add(s) of the Night
Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Denver Nuggets – 23 minutes, 10 points, eight rebounds, two steals, 3-of-9 FG, 4-of-4 FT.
On a night with only two professional basketball games, there isn’t a whole lot to choose from so back to the MPJ well we go. I was hoping Monte Morris would give me an easy add since Jamal Murray and Gary Harris are dinged up and could miss more games but I’m not desperate enough to write up a 1-of-7 night which included a whole lot of nothing else.
It’s going to be difficult to trust Michael Porter Jr. because it’s only a matter of time before the Nuggets are healthy again and the possibility of being lost in the shuffle looms large. Still, it behooves the Nuggets to bet on his talent, especially when no one else not named Jokic or Barton seem capable of scoring the basketball on this team while Murray, Harris, and Paul Millsap are collecting dust. The problem is Porter Jr. still plays defense like a rookie and he might be capped because of it. If you can deal with the potential rollercoaster of minutes, there can be some exciting offensive outputs if you can tolerate some of the large drops on the horizon.
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.
Derrick Jones Jr.
I feel like we want DJJ to be a thing because of his defensive ability and propensity to bring the house down with a ferocious dunk. However, he simply isn’t seeing the floor enough to make an impact on the offensive side. As you know, that is a pretty important aspect of fantasy hoops. We need to see more consistent usage if we’re not going to contemplate letting go of someone who we’d consider a steals streamer for someone who might be a hot pickup on the wire. The minutes and production have trended down even with Justise Winslow on the shelf and it could only get worse if he were to return.
Despite just about the entire league playing tomorrow for Martin Luther King Day, we’ll start with someone who’s been out just about the whole season and that is Steph Curry. Reports now have Curry targeting March 1st as his return date from a fractured hand giving any of his owners who have hung on this long a glimmer of hope for later in the season. Beware though, the Warriors playoff schedule is less than ideal and rest may still come up since the Dubs have nothing to play for beyond ping pong balls.
Another superstar is inching his way back into action. This time it’s John Wall playing 4-on-4 in practices but despite the increased practice reps, it is still unlikely Wall sees game action this season.
His teammate Jordan McRae got in a limited practice after spraining his ankle on Friday but with the rest of the Wizards getting healthy, we can ignore him outside of deeper formats.
Rui Hachimura got in a light practice but remains a long time away from returning to action as he recovers from his groin injury.
Anzejs Pasecniks is questionable for Monday with an ankle sprain so get ready to enjoy all the Ian Mahinmi you can handle Wizards fans.
Rudy Gay missed Sunday’s game against the Heat with an illness but is likely to return to the Spurs soon.
Tyler Herro returned from a knee bruise but only played limited minutes on Sunday.
Despite the Mavs not playing on Monday, they appear ready to get Kristaps Porzingis back for their date with the Clippers on Tuesday.
Al Horford has a questionable tag for Monday against the Nets and with the Sixers frontcourt potentially in shambles the question is, where is Boban when you really need him?
Alex Len is doubtful for the Hawks on Monday with a lower back strain and is in jeopardy of missing his fourth in a row.
Jrue Holiday remains questionable for Monday with his elbow injury but even if he misses the game against the Grizzlies, we hope he can take the floor on Wednesday alongside Zion.
Austin Rivers is questionable with a thumb injury and I’m sure you’ll all secretly freaking out on the inside.
Kemba Walker remains questionable with a sore knee and the Celtics have been in a really bad funk of late so hopefully this isn’t a long-term issue.
Jaylen Brown is also questionable for the C’s and the Celtics breakout star is at risk of missing his third in a row with a thumb injury.
Jeremy Lamb returned to the Pacers lineup to play 23 empty minutes and lets just chalk this one up to shaking off rust.
CJ McCollum is out again on Monday with an ankle sprain and Dame is playing the Warriors. You do the math.
Kelly Oubre Jr. is expected to return on Monday after clearing concussion protocol so fire him back up and hopefully the Mikal Bridges stock doesn’t tumble too far upon Oubre’s return.
Aron Baynes is doubtful to play on Monday and as we expected, Baynes has been a complete afterthought since Deandre Ayton made his return.
Cameron Johnson is recovering from a quad bruise and is questionable for the Suns.
A bunch of Bulls players are probable. Moving on.
Glenn Robinson III is questionable to face the Blazers with an ankle injury but Draymond Green is off the Warriors injury report so he should have no issue filling in for Robinson.
Lastly, Robin Lopez is doubtful for the Bucks as he deals with an illness. However, no one is really sure if this is a kayfabe sickness or a shoot sickness. For all we know Lopez could say he’s sick and then attack a mascot and a couple of teammates with an elbow drop from out of nowhere.
A King, A Dream, A League
We refer to LeBron James as The King and Hakeem Olajuwon as The Dream but today we honor The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which will undoubtedly include his “I Have a Dream” speech and so much more than that. His peaceful activism and fearless leadership in fighting injustice in this country is why we shouldn’t just sit back and enjoy a whole bunch of basketball but we should think deeply about how Dr. King has helped shaped the world we live in and what we could do individually and collectively to make it a better place.
We continue to mourn David Stern, a man who lead the NBA for 30-years and continue to honor his legacy to the league. Stern took over the commissionership of the NBA well after the death of Dr. King but think about what kind of league he may have led had Dr. King not come to the side of Rosa Parks to boycott the Montgomery bus system and fight the injustice of Jim Crow laws. Without the faith and determined non-violent resistance of Dr. King, would we still be watching the same kind of league and enjoying our fantasy rosters and friendly competitions?
It’s a rabbit hole that is both difficult and simple to answer. Of course, the NBA wouldn’t be the same without Dr. King. At the same time, it’s impossible to know the immeasurable impact he had on so many and what opportunities came about because of his courage and determination to change the course of this country and his continued fight for equality.
Yes, I will be enjoying lots of NBA basketball today. You should too. There’s nothing wrong with that. But do take a moment to reflect on why we’re enjoying NBA basketball today. Equality, kindness, justice, service and faith are all American values. As we watch the games today, let’s remember that these values are inherent in all of us, and that we can continue to do more for our communities and loved ones as Dr. King did long before us.