April 19, 2021, 12:38 pm
Welcome, Hoop Ball readers, to another edition of The Week Ahead!
This week’s intro will be dedicated to the recent greatness of Steph Curry and how he was seemingly overlooked due to his injury last season. He was easily regarded as the best point guard in the league prior to his injury, but upon returning there were too many people saying that Damian Lillard was now the best point guard in the game. No disrespect to Lillard, but Curry had to remind everyone why he is the greatest at that position.
Since March 29th, Curry’s stat lines are:
3/29/21- 32 points, five rebounds, six assists and six triples on 45.8-percent shooting (W)
4/1/21- 36 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and five triples on 47.4-percent shooting (L)
4/4/21- 37 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and three triples on 52.2-percent shooting (L)
4/6/21- 41 points, six rebounds, four assists and five triples on 66.7-percent shooting (W)
4/9/21- 32 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and five triples on 44.0-percent shooting (L)
4/10/21- 38 points, eight rebounds, five assists and eight triples on 61.9-percent shooting (W)
4/12/21- 53 points, six rebounds, four assists and 10 triples on 58.3-percent shooting (W)
4/14/21- 42 points, six rebounds, eight assists and 11 triples on 70.0-percent shooting (W)
4/15/21- 33 points, four rebounds, five assists and five triples on 48.0-percent shooting (W)
4/17/21- 47 points, seven rebounds, three assists and 11 triples on 55.6-percent shooting (L)
As you can see, the former MVP, No. 2 overall fantasy player and No. 2 overall scorer in the NBA this season has not come to play as he has been tearing it up despite his team’s lackluster record. This was just a daily reminder of how truly dominant Steph Curry is in case anyone still believed that he was not the best point guard in basketball.
Weekly Schedule Breakdown
4 games: 76ers, Bucks, Bulls, Cavs, Celtics, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Nets, Nuggets, Pacers, Pistons, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Trail Blazers, Warriors, Wizards
3 games: Clippers, Jazz, Kings, Knicks, Lakers, Magic, Mavs, Pelicans, Thunder, Wolves
2 games: Raptors
Best Schedule: Pacers (Spurs, Pistons, Thunder, at Magic)
The Pacers are firmly in play-in territory right now as the 9th seed and are three games ahead of the 10th seed and four games behind the 6th seed, so they have some work to do if they want to avoid the play-in tournament. This week could surely help them out as they have three home games and all of their games this week are against teams that are 10th seed or lower in their respective conferences. This is a week where they have to capitalize and go 4-0 if they want to escape the play-in as the Knicks are red hot as well and sit at the 6th seed right now. Continue to start Caris LeVert, Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. McConnell, Jeremy Lamb and Myles Turner as this team should have a big week in store.
Worst Schedule: Raptors (Nets, at Knicks)
The Raptors are the 10th seed in the play-in tournament and are tied with the Bulls and Wizards, so they could easily drop down to 12th seed if they have an 0-2 week here. They are playing the Nets and the red-hot Knicks, so they have their work cut out for them if they want to avoid missing the playoffs entirely. Regardless of their short schedule, start Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet (if he is able to suit up). It looks like you’ll need to be vigilant about check for nightly statuses, though, as the rest days are stacking up.
Game of the Week: 76ers at Bucks on Thursday at 7 PM ET and Saturday at 3:30 PM ET
The 1st seeded 76ers and 3rd seeded Bucks will face off twice this week in what could be a preview of a playoff matchup, whether it be in the semifinals or conference finals. The 76ers are rolling with MVP candidate Joel Embiid and potential Defensive Player of the Year in Ben Simmons. The Bucks have the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and perfect complementary players in Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. These two games could have a playoff vibe as the 76ers want to widen the gap between them and the Nets for first place. Tune in on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon for some entertaining contests!
Waiver Wire Watch
Monte Morris- The injury to Jamal Murray is a tough blow for the Nuggets as the acquisition of Aaron Gordon had set them up to be contenders in the Western Conference playoffs, but it will be tough for them to compete without Murray. Although Morris will be sharing minutes with Facundo Campazzo, he should be the lead point guard and could be worth rostering in all formats if that turns out to be the case. Keep an eye on that situation as it could turn out that Campazzo will be the one worth rostering, but Morris has the first shots at seeing more minutes down the stretch due to his familiarity and experience with the roster.
Killian Hayes- The Pistons have nothing to play for as they are the worst team in the East, so why wouldn’t they give their first-round pick the lion’s share of minutes at point guard for the remainder of the season? In his last two games, he is averaging 8.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.0 steals on 35.0-percent shooting in 25.9 minutes per game. Those numbers are good enough for top-50 value in 9-cat formats over the past week and he could put up standard league value continuously if the minutes keep coming his way. Give Hayes a speculative add as he could wind up being a difference maker come playoff time.
Aleksej Pokusevski- This is a speculative add based on the fact that the Thunder are sitting Al Horford for the season and are hoping to remain young. They could keep sending around 30 minutes per game Pokusevski’s way and he could be a standard league asset. Although the efficiency numbers are horrendous, other elements of his game could keep him worth having in all formats. Over his last five games, he is averaging 12.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.0 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers per game on 39.3-percent shooting. He should be scooped up in all formats as the Thunder could rely heavily on the rookie to show what he can do down the stretch as they do not have much to play for.
Jamal Murray (torn ACL) will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL against the Warriors on Monday. This is a tough blow as the Nuggets were looking like some serious contenders in the West, but it will be tough for them to compete without Murray. Expect Monte Morris and Facundo Campazzo to see the bulk of the point guard minutes.
Donovan Mitchell (ankle) suffered an ankle sprain against the Pacers and will miss at least one week before he is able to return to game action. Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles will likely see some increased run while Mitchell is out.
Here are the guys currently listed as day-to-day due to COVID-19 protocols:
Evan Fournier, Zach LaVine, Alec Burks
Here are the guys currently listed as day-to-day due to injuries:
De’Andre Hunter, Danilo Galinari, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams III, Kemba Walker, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Malik Monk, Devonte’ Graham, Monte Morris, Dennis Smith Jr., Jerami Grant, Steph Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Eric Gordon, Danuel House Jr., Serge Ibaka, Doug McDermott, Dennis Schroder, Andre Drummond, Brandon Clarke, Dillon Brooks, De’Anthony Melton, Jonas Valanciunas, Jimmy Butler, Terrence Ross, Otto Porter Jr., Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, Damian Lillard, Richaun Holmes, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert, Rui Hachimura
Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.
Thanks for reading this week’s edition of The Week Ahead!