• Welcome, Hoop Ball readers, to another edition of The Week Ahead!

    The NBA is oftentimes full of rumors that never come to reality, but there should be some deals made prior to the trade deadline this season that could turn some teams into contenders. For example, the Bucks were able to get PJ Tucker in a deal where they gave away Rodions Kurucs and D.J. Augustin.  Deals like that can lift teams into another level, but it will still be hard for the Bucks to compete with the Nets, who seemingly get anything they want.  This section will be focused on three players who could benefit greatly in fantasy and real-life by getting dealt and looking at the possible fits for those players.

    1. LaMarcus Aldridge– Aldridge is done with the Spurs and will likely be bought out if he can’t be traded. This is the most obvious player to note of the three on the list as he is outside the top-120 value after having eight consecutive seasons with top-60 value and seven of those eight seasons were top-30 value.  He is not completely washed up, so I think a change of scenery could bring some value back to Aldridge and help him get back on his game while competing for a championship.Top destinations: Heat, Celtics, Raptors

       

    2. Aaron Gordon– Gordon sits outside top-200 on the season and could benefit immensely with a change of scenery as no matter how many minutes he plays the value is not there. He has put up top-140 value over each of the past five seasons, but his numbers are down and it seems as though his time in Orlando could be up soon.  He has been thrown around in the rumor mill for the past couple seasons, but nothing has ever come of it.  We will see if this season is much of the same or if the Magic capitalize on getting something back for Gordon while they can.Top destinations: Celtics, Trail Blazers, Timberwolves

       

    1. Victor Oladipo– This is a weird one as Oladipo already has top-100 value and was moved once this season. However, he is not happy in Houston and would likely be a lot happier somewhere like Miami where he can compete for a championship and retain a starting role.  He is averaging 20.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.6 triples per game this season in 29 games played.  The Rockets envisioned John Wall, Oladipo and Christian Wood to be a solid big-3, but that has not worked out as Wood has been hurt and the Rockets have lost 20 straight games.  A change of scenery could help Oladipo hit a different gear and jump inside top-50 value.Top destinations: Heat, Nuggets, Knicks

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    4 games: Bucks, Cavs, Celtics, Clippers, Grizzlies, Hawks, Hornets, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Magic, Nuggets, Raptors, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Trail Blazers, Wolves

    3 games: 76ers, Bulls, Heat, Knicks, Mavs, Nets, Pacers, Pelicans, Pistons, Thunder, Warriors, Wizards

    Best Schedule: Wolves (Thunder, Mavs, Rockets, Rockets)

    The worst record in the NBA has the best schedule of the week, which does not seem right.  However, the Wolves are facing the Thunder and Mavs at home before having a doubleheader with the Rockets who have lost 20 games in a row.  Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio, Jaylen Nowell and Anthony Edwards should be started in all formats.  Edwards has been out of his mind as of late and could wind up winning rookie of the year since LaMelo Ball is out for the season.  The Wolves could end up jumping the Rockets in the standings and send the Rockets to last place with a good week.

    Worst Schedule: 76ers (at Warriors, at Lakers, at Clippers)

    The 76ers remain the No. 1 seed in the East, but have an unkind West coast schedule this week.  It is strange that the worst team in the NBA has the best schedule and the best team in the East has the worst schedule, but that is just what happens in the NBA.  The 76ers have to stay in California to play the Warriors, Lakers and Clippers this week.  The Lakers will be without LeBron James and Anthony Davis and the Warriors could be without Steph Curry.  Regardless, a three-game road trip against some talented teams could help some of the other East teams gain ground on the 76ers this week.

    Game of the Week: Nets at Jazz on Wednesday at 10 PM ET

    The No. 2 seed in the East will face the No.1 seed in the West on Wednesday night in what should be an extremely competitive regular season game.  The Jazz have cooled off a bit, but still remain atop the West and could remain in that spot as the Lakers are without LeBron James and Anthony Davis for quite some time.  The Nets will most likely not get Kevin Durant back for this matchup, but their team remains scary without him due to the dominant play of James Harden since he has become a Brooklyn Net.  Tune in on Wednesday night for an exciting matchup!

    Waiver Wire Watch

    Talen Horton-Tucker- Horton-Tucker has been a top-180 asset over the past two weeks with LeBron James in action, so there is a chance that he could skyrocket until James returns. In 23.2 minutes per game over his last six contests, THT is averaging 13.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists on 47.6-percent shooting.  This add would be a flier with the hopes that THT can absorb some of James’ minutes and begin to see around 30 per game until he or Anthony Davis returns from injury.  THT has shown us what he can do in the preseason, but he has yet to see enough minutes in the regular season to prove that it was not a fluke.  However, he has still shown some good potential in the minutes he receives and could make great use of increased minutes.  

    Saddiq Bey- The opportunities will be there for Saddiq Bey as the Pistons have absolutely nothing to play for and he is a rookie that needs developing, so he should be rostered in all formats.  Over his last six games, he is averaging 14.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.7 triples per game on 38.2-percent shooting.  The efficiency numbers will remain low for Bey, but even with that number he has been a top-100 asset over that span.  He is also a lock to see above 30 minutes per game, so his value should hover around top-100 or even higher for the remainder of the season. Grab Bey off the wire as he is in for a big second-half of the season.

    Jordan Poole- Poole has been playing some great basketball as of late and looks like a player that should be rostered in all formats.  However, it is tough to jump the gun as Steph Curry is returning soon and that could impact his minutes.  Over the past two weeks, he is averaging 20.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.0 triples per game on 53.0-percent shooting. Those numbers are good for top-60 value in 9-cat formats over that span.  His shots have been falling all season as he is shooting 50-percent on the season, but the supporting stats are just now starting to blossom.  Pick up Poole and hope that his minutes remain in the mid-20s for the remainder of the season and he should be a lock for top-120 value.  

    Injury/COVID-19 Report

    Marvin Bagley III (hand) will be re-evaluated after four weeks after suffering a fracture in his left hand.  The Kings will likely be patient with Bagley returning as they are not in the playoffs right now, so there is a chance his return could be even longer than one month away.

    LaMelo Ball (wrist) fractured a bone in his right wrist and will most likely miss the remainder of his stellar rookie campaign.  This opens the door for someone else to get rookie of the year, but it is a cheap win as Ball had the award locked down until the injury.  Expect Devonte’ Graham to return to the starting lineup next to Terry Rozier.

    LeBron James (ankle) is out indefinitely after suffering a right ankle sprain on Saturday against the Hawks.  Both James and Anthony Davis are sidelined, so the remaining Lakers will have to hold down the fort until they return.

    Davis Bertans (calf) is out for approximately two weeks after suffering a calf strain against the Jazz on Thursday. The sniper is having a down year, but hopefully he can pick it up upon returning from injury. His minutes will likely be divided between Deni Avdija and Troy Brown.

    Here are the guys currently listed as day-to-day due to COVID-19 protocols:

    Derrick Rose, Jordan McLaughlin, Udonis Haslem, James Wiseman, Eric Paschall, Willie Cauley-Stein, James Johnson, Romeo Langford, Tristan Thompson

    Here are the guys currently listed as day-to-day due to injuries:

    De’Andre Hunter, Trae Young, Kemba Walker, Terry Rozier, Taurean Prince, Kevin Love, Monte Morris, Wayne Ellington, Steph Curry, Serge Ibaka, Goran Dragic, Giannis Anteotkounmpo, Jarrett Culver, Lonzo Ball, JJ Redick, Elfrid Payton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley, Seth Curry, Rudy Gobert

    Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.

    Thanks for reading this week’s edition of The Week Ahead!

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