January 17, 2020, 9:26 am
Thursday night was owned by one man and one man only: Brandon Ingram. Hitting shots from everywhere en route to a career-high 49 points, Ingram lead a furious charge that lead to an almost game winner in regulation and eventual overtime win. The win was an emotional one for the Pelicans, who were victims to a particularly brutal loss against this same Jazz team a week ago. Ingram was fouled pretty obviously by Rudy Gobert on the final play of that game but the refs did not make the call, leading to a Jazz victory.
The refs almost took a prominent role again in this game with a controversial foul call on Jaxson Hayes that gave Rudy Gobert the opportunity to tie the game and send it to over time. The Pelicans got close to taking out debatable the hottest team in the league twice, and almost lost both chances. Gobert ultimately fouled out, ironically on another Brandon Ingram drive to the hoop, and the Pelicans pulled off a victory that filled everyone in that stadium, from the fans, to team staff to players alike, with absolute joy.
The game was a pivotal moment in Brandon Ingram’s star turn, and with all-star voting by media members set to be finalized next week, it could leave a lasting impression. His team mates were quick to make note of that point, and plastered his name all over social media encouraging fans of the team and Ingram himself alike to spread the word. “I know I never do this, but BRANDON INGRAM is a All Star” tweeted Lonzo Ball. Jrue Holiday piled on simply adding “RETWEET RETWEET RETWEET” to Lonzo’s original one. BI has endeared himself to the city and clearly his teammates. We could be witnessing the first moment of a true star-turn in New Orleans.
Adds of the Night
Michael Porter Jr., F, Denver Nuggets
There are a good amount of reasons to be skeptical of Porter Jr.’s fantasy outlook on this team. The Nuggets are generally very deep, and their current injury situation is giving way to playing time he likely wouldn’t be getting if they were at full strength. But I’m sorry. This dude is just teeming with potential and passes the eye test with flying colors. I look at him on the wire and I’m just overwhelmed with FOMO.
At some point I really do think he earns a mid-25 minute role as a leader off the bench for the Nuggets. His scoring prowess gives him a clear role as a 6th man type, and his length and athleticism gives him the defensive versatility necessary to play with a variety of different lineups. All of this can really go a long way for him to play meaningful minutes during the second half of the season. He should at the very least have a nice two to three games more of solid production while Jamal Murray (ankle) and Gary Harris (adductor) are both out. I think he is a worthy stream, and frankly he’s building a nice stash case for the chance he just breaks out for good.
Monte Morris, G, Denver Nuggets
Morris got it going in his fill-in start for Jamal Murray (ankle) and though he didn’t exactly impress, he should stick around to a mid-20 minute role until Murray returns. We got word that while tests on Murray’s ankle came back ‘clean’ he is still expected to miss “multiple games”. It’s anyone’s guess how long that could be, so Morris makes sense as a quality end-of-bench point guard until his eventual return.
Damion Lee, G, Golden State Warriors
Lee was foolishly dropped in a handful of leagues when news came out about a snafu in contract negotiations between he and the Warriors earlier this week. Well, that situation promptly figured itself out, and Lee jumped right back into the starting lineup. He lead the team in minutes played and basically went shot-for-shot with D’Angelo Russell. He’s going to play big minutes and collect a bunch of stats while he’s doing it, so he should probably be picked back up in those leagues.
Aron Baynes, C, Phoenix Suns
Baynes was a starter-in-name-only over his last few games, playing over Deandre Ayton but barely registering starter’s minutes in that time. Monty Williams finally put an end to that ridiculous experiment and Ayton went for a 20-and-20 double-double in the starting lineup while Baynes toiled away with the reserves. He was pretty much a drop before this game and now you have no choice but to cut ties for good.
Omari Spellman, F/C, Golden State Warriors
Spellman went back to the bench with Willie Cauley-Stein making a return to the starting lineup, and he did not fare all that well. The center rotations in Golden State are pretty messy. Guys are seeing inconsistent roles and minute shares and Spellman’s fantasy game isn’t exactly tuned to survive that sort of roller coaster way of going about things. I thought he was playing a bit above water as it was, and now feel fairly confident in saying that you could probably do better.
Jayson Tatum (knee) returned to action after missing one game. Jaylen Brown (thumb), meanwhile, was not able to suit up.
The Nuggets had to dig into their bench Thursday with Jamal Murray (ankle), Gary Harris (adductor) and Paul Millsap (knee) all ruled out.
Brandon Ingram (knee) and Derrick Favors (hamstring) returned from brief absences to suit up against the Jazz on Thursday. Teammates JJ Redick (hamstring) and Jahlil Okafor (back) did not.
Reggie Bullock (neck) missed Thursday’s contest while Marcus Morris (neck) was able to return from a five game absence.
R.J Barrett injured his ankle and was unable to return to Thursday’s contest.
The Magic continue were relieved to get Evan Fournier (quad) back into the mix, but D.J Augustin (knee) and Michael Carter-Williams (shoulder) remained out on Thursday. News also came down on Augustin’s timetable: at least 3-to-4 weeks on the sidelines.
Steven Adams (knee) did not practice on Thursday.
Karl-Anthony Towns (illness, knee) is once again listed as questionable for Friday’s game, which feels a lot closer to “out” these days.
Kristaps Porzingis (knee) is questionable for Friday’s game. He was a late scratch after he was expected to play this past Wednesday.
Fred VanVleet (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Friday. Should he not make it back for that one there is a good chance he could return Saturday.
Alex Len (back) will not play Friday, though fellow big man Bruno Fernando (personal) is expected to.
The Buy-Low Case: Mitchell Robinson
Mitchell Robinson has been playing below his standards over his last two-to-three weeks of ball games, but that changed with an all-around solid line from him in Thursday’s game. He played 30 minutes and snared five defensive stats, both high-points for him over his last near-month of games. I have been parroting this on Twitter, the Boxscore Breakdown podcast, and to several people I encounter in real-life (some of whom don’t even know what I’m talking about) that Robinson has been playing below his standards, lately because he has been more hurt than he has let on. He has gone into each of his last nine games with a “probable” tag due to a sprained left toe.
Now, the fact that he has played each of these nine games and has never been anything more than probable (aside from the first game he was diagnosed with it, where he was considered questionable) suggests that the injury isn’t all that severe. HOWEVER, if this injury were really not that big of a deal, wouldn’t be a little odd that he is still listed as dealing with it nearly three weeks later? I think that he’s been playing hurt, and has not been able to stay on the floor for long stretches because of it. Just look at his splits over his last nine games (all with the toe injury) versus his last 10 games before it (the start of the Mike Miller regime, up until the toe injury)
Last 9 games:
20.7 min / 9.2 points / 5.1 rebounds / 1.0 steals / 1.1 blocks → 97th in 9-cat
10 games prior:
26.3 min / 12.1 points / 7.8 rebounds / 1.0 steals / 2.0 blocks → 24th in 9-cat
I think this is one of those rare instances where a player is in a buy-low window due to completely explainable circumstances. I think that this new coaching regime wants to play Robinson, showing a genuine appetite to do so in every game leading up to this toe injury. We’ve now seen him hit the 30 minute threshold, and it’s quite possible we could be seeing him finally getting over the nagging injury. I am very interested in seeing the injury report on him for their next game this Saturday against the Sixers. If he’s off it, you may have limited time to trade for him before this buy-low window slams shut on you.