January 15, 2017, 8:45 am
Saturday night really showcased some of the guys that are up for All-star consideration as we approach Monday’s deadline for ballot submission. If you haven’t voted yet you can go to this link and do your ballot, or you can find how to easily vote in your guys on Twitter. Guys who are more than deserving like Rudy Gobert are still being overtaken by Zaza Pachulia and injured people like Blake Griffin, so make sure that if you want to see those players you go and cast your vote. I love the All-star game and it’s always really bugged me to see guys who aren’t deserving get voted in by fans or players voting exclusively for their current or former team-mates (re: Tony Allen). All-star nominations effect how we talk about players for years, whether or not we consider them for the Basketball Hall of Fame, and triggers contract clauses which directly impact the salaries of players in the league. So as a Hoop-ball reader you’re smarter and more qualified than the average fan to help the process so take a minute and vote a few guys in!
With that PSA over let’s get to the Dish. There was a big upset with the Spurs losing to the Suns on the road and an injury that could impact the whole lot of fantasy NBA rosters. Let’s dig into the dish!
Lakers 97 Clippers 113
This game was over by half and so we saw some reduced minutes, especially on the Lakers side of the ball. Nick Young led the team in minutes but did not play well as he only scored 11 points with two 3-pointers in his near 29 minutes, all while posting the second lowest team plus/minus of -17. D’Angelo Russell still isn’t able to string together any semblance of consistency as he shot just 1-of-7 on his way to five points, though he did contribute six boards and five assists to the effort. Lou Williams scored 13 points in the starting lineup with an assist, a steal, and a pair of 3-pointers. He’s fallen off and he could be a trade candidate which makes him a risky get for me moving forward. Brandon Ingram played a nice game as he scored 14 points with five assists, five boards, a steal and two 3-pointers. Hopefully he can pick up some more usage down the stretch as he’s currently at 15.5% on the season which is one of the reasons to just stay away. Jordan Clarkson had the best line for the Lakers as he scored 21 points while adding four rebounds and three assists to go with three 3-pointers.
DeAndre Jordan somehow played full minutes in this game despite the lopsided score and he was a beast with 24 points and 21 rebounds while adding a couple of blocks and a stellar 12-of-13 from the field. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute continues to get some run at power forward with Blake Griffin (knee) out and while he isn’t relevant his play at power forward opens up three guard lineups in which Austin Rivers gets on the court. Rivers played 31 minutes and scored 15 points with two assists and two steals, but he really hasn’t played enough or played well enough to justify an add in any leagues. Chris Paul has been great since his return and he scored 20 points with 13 assists, five rebounds, two steals and a pair of 3-pointers. Raymond Felton chipped in 15 points off the bench and J.J. Redick just had a bit of an off shooting night but he’s been solid.
Pelicans 99 Bulls 109
The big news on the Pelicans side was Terrence Jones starting at power forward next to Anthony Davis at center. Many in the fantasy community (and the NBA community at large) have not exactly understood the logic behind massive Dante Cunningham minutes, especially when the Pelicans seem to perform well with Jones on the floor. The Pelicans know they need to make a decision about whether or not they want Davis to be playing major minutes at center or at power forward, so it’s possible we see more of this lineup going forward. It doesn’t speak well to Jones that the Pelicans were worse on the floor with him tonight as he posted a team low -12 on the floor, so while I recommend adding him I also recommend having a quick hook over the next week to two weeks if it isn’t blatantly obvious Alvin Gentry continues to ride with Jones at power forward. Jones posted a low usage line of nine points with eight rebounds and three blocks, so he was moderately productive. Davis continues to absorb ridiculous amounts of shots as he went 14-of-23 from the field on his way to 36 points. E’Twaun Moore and Tyreke Evans scored 16 and 14 points respectively off the bench and they continue to get more shots than Jrue Holiday for some odd reason. Holiday has been an excellent distributor but a lack of attempts ends up with nights where he goes 0-of-7 from the field and scores one point with 12 assists.
Michael Carter-Williams started at the point of Rajon Rondo and it’s pretty clear MCW’s defensive efforts help the Bulls as long as he doesn’t overdue it on offense. MCW scored 11 points with a couple assists and a steal but he should be firmly off the fantasy radar by this point. Dwyane Wade was the de facto point guard in this game as he and Jimmy Butler primarily ran the offense. Wade hit 9-of-24 shots for 22 points while adding five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a 3-pointer. Jimmy Butler shot a really efficient 9-of-16 on his way to 28 points with eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and three 3-pointers. Taj Gibson dominated the glass as he scored 15 points with 16 rebounds and two blocks, he’s helped by the absence of Nikola Mirotic (illness). Mirotic has also already been ruled out for Sunday’s games. Cristiano Felicio was the direct minutes winner with Mirotic out as he played 21 minutes off the bench and scored nine points with seven rebounds. Rajon Rondo was bad in his 19 minutes and you shouldn’t be holding out any hope.
Spurs 105 Suns 108
The Spurs losing on the road definitely qualifies as an upset. The Spurs played too sloppy on the defensive end and had some key turnovers late that cost them the game in the end. Kawhi Leonard abused T.J. Warren, Dragan Bender, and Marquese Chriss and it resulted in Leonard scoring a career high 38 points while adding four boards, three assists, a steal and a couple of 3-pointers. Danny Green didn’t have a good game on either end and he had just six points with a couple rebounds to complete his box score. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting and only added four rebounds. Pau Gasol had a weird game as he grabbed 10 rebounds but only took four shots and hit only one of them to score three points, he also hit only 1-of-6 free throws which is very uncharacteristic. Manu Ginobli played a good game off the bench as he scored 16 points with three assists but he had a costly turnover late that resulted in the fast break bucket for the Suns.
Devin Booker was the highlight of the game as he scored 39 points on 12-of-22 shooting and lived at the line as he got there 12 times and made all of his attempts. Booker wasn’t defended full time by Kawhi Leonard, but he roasted another good defender in Danny Green on a regular basis. Booker’s of course capable of these games but I’d like him a lot more if he produced more in the box score. T.J. Warren has been really up and really down and tonight was more down as he scored just 12 points with two steals and little else. Eric Bledsoe scored 17 points but hit just 5-of-17 shots while adding six rebounds and 10 assists. Tyson Chandler showed up and scored eight points but grabbed a nice 15 rebounds for owners who are still putting him out there. Dragan Bender closed out the game for the Suns which was very encouraging as he scored six points with six boards and two 3-pointers 20 minutes. I’d like to see what he could do with full minutes at forward.
Sixers 93 Wizards 109
Ersan Illyasova continues to produce well for the Sixers as he scored 18 points with seven rebounds and three 3-pointers, but he comes with a disclaimer as Ben Simmons will be returning to the floor sooner rather than later. Robert Covington is as up and down as they come, tonight was down as he played 22 minutes and scored seven points with four rebounds. Jalil Okafor got the start at center with Joel Embiid (rest) sitting this one out and he dominated offensively as scored 26 points and added nine boards with a steal and a block. The Sixers still stuck with Nerlens Noel off the bench who scored six points and grabbed 12 rebounds in only 12 minutes as he picked up five very quick fouls. T.J. McConnell and Sergio Rodriguez are back to splitting time at point guard which means neither of them did much of anything productive in totality, though both are capable of racking up assists when given the opportunity. Nik Stauskas has shown a few flashes this season and he had a pretty play you can see here where he crosses up Kelly Oubre and wraps a pass around Marcin Gortat.
This game was actually competitive until the Wizards turned it on in the third and essentially put away the Sixers. John Wall’s wrist injury seemed like it could’ve been really bad but he’s a tough guy and looks to be fine as he scored 25 points with seven rebounds and seven assists while adding a couple steals and three 3-pointers. Bradley Beal scored 20 points of his own and chipped in four boards an assist and steal while Otto Porter took a bit of a back seat with just 10 points and six rebounds. Marcin Gortat had some trouble defending Jalil Okafor but he still had a fantastic plus/minus of +25 in his 22 minutes on the court and he scored 12 points with 10 rebounds and a block in that time. Markieff Morris scored 14 points with nine boards and a couple 3-pointers as he played some minutes at center in this one.
Magic 107 Jazz 114
The Magic played nice game and they were led by Elfrid Payton who nearly triple-doubled with 28 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a 3-pointer and he had a relatively efficient game as well. Aaron Gordon scored 21 points with four boards and a steal but still isn’t producing enough across the board, especially defensively where he showed so much promise in fantasy last year. Evan Fournier (heel) sat this one out and so Jodie Meeks played a full 38 minutes on his way to 12 points, three rebounds, six assists, a steal and three 3-pointers. Nikola Vucevic scored 15 points with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals and he’s been solid while Bismack Biyombo is getting relegated back to a strictly limited minutes bench role. Serge Ibaka scored 13 points with five rebounds and two 3-pointers but failed to block a shot. Frank Vogel’s rotation is definitely tightening which is only good news for frustrated owners of Magic players.
Rodney Hood is the big story here as he hyper-extended his knee and is going to end up missing some time. Joe Ingles was a big beneficiary last time as he averaged 33 minutes, 15 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 3.4 threes in that time, but that was without Alec Burks around so we’ll have to see how that works out. It’s disappointing news for the Jazz who just cannot seem to get their starting five healthy all at once this season, and the lack of continuity could end up effecting their ability to perform in the playoffs. Gordon Hayward is desperately trying to make his case for the All-star team ahead of Monday’s deadline for voting, Haywad scored 23 points with five rebounds, seven assists, a steal and two 3-pointers and he only needed 10 shots to produce that line. Before Hood hurt himself he was actually on the way to a decent game as he scored 14 points with four rebounds, two assists, and two 3-pointers. Derrick Favors scored 17 points with six rebounds but turned the ball over three times and didn’t register a steal or a block, but he’s looked very solid and it’s good to see him on the court playing his starter’s minutes. Rudy Gobert certainly deserves his All-star consideration as he scored 19 points with 19 rebounds and two blocks, he’s been a beast all year and is a leader in many rim protecting advanced metrics. George Hill struggled a bit from the field but he’s playing just as well as ever with 14 points scored, seven assists, and a couple of steals and it looks like all the Jazz will be able to co-exist in a fantasy rich environment.