February 26, 2020, 1:32 am
Lines of the Night
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers – 40 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one block and five triples (17-for-27 FG)
LeBron gifted us another vintage performance on this fine Tuesday, hitting five triples as the Pelicans sagged off to prevent his dribble penetration. Although that was the gameplan, it didn’t work well as James was able to barrel into the lane and get some massive dunks late in the game to lift his team to another win. It’s a bit baffling to see him do all of this at the age of 35. Don’t take him for granted.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics – 36 points, five rebounds, one assist, two blocks and eight triples
Tatum’s evolution is here. He’s increased his peripheral stats from last season’s 1.5-1.1-0.7 to 2.8-1.3-0.9 while still maintaining a .449 clip from the field. The defensive improvements came faster than many expected and they’re here to stay. I can’t see a reason why he won’t finish the season at this current pace, which is well inside the top-15 in 9-cat leagues.
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers – six points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals, eight blocks and two triples (2-for-9 FG)
Turner hasn’t been doing much on the offensive end, but he’s still swatting a ton of shots and grabbing steals which is why you spent an early-round draft pick on him. The minutes aren’t an issue as he’s proven to be capable of producing without them. He had a pretty rough stretch earlier this year, but that’s long gone now and he’s here to stay.
Add(s) of the Night
Trevor Ariza, Portland TrailBlazers – 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two triples
Ariza won’t be consistent at all. He’s going to be a pain on your percentages on most nights and although he shot 5-for-6 today, no one is expecting him to keep that pace up. All that being said, he’ll knock down enough triples to keep you satisfied and the steals are where his value lies. He’s owned in 27 percent of Yahoo! leagues and is the ideal 3-and-D streamer.
Coby White, Chicago Bulls – 35 points, seven rebounds, three assists and six triples (13-for-21 FG)
White has now scored at least 30 points in three consecutive games and although it might seem like a trend, I’m not buying into him knocking down triples like he’s Steph Curry. He doesn’t dish out dimes or gather any defensive stats and his value is solely tied to hitting triples at an absurd rate. I renamed this section the trade zone because there’s no way you should drop him, but shop him and get a top-50 caliber player while he’s on fire.
In the latest medical update from the Grizzlies, Brandon Clarke (right quad) will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Bruce Brown will not play against the Nuggets on Tuesday with a sore left knee.
Kelly Oubre Jr. is apparently dealing with a right knee injury and has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game.
Norman Powell (left hamstring tightness) is expected to be re-evaluated in one week.
Jonathan Isaac (sprained left knee and bone bruise) did some on-court work, but the team will remain patient with his recovery. It’s unlikely he returns to the court this season.
Willie Cauley-Stein (personal) is being listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Spurs.
Dante Exum (left ankle sprain) is being listed as out for Wednesday’s game against the Sixers.
Jimmy Butler (personal) is being upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Wolves.
LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) is being listed as out for Wednesday’s game against the Mavs.
Stephen Curry (left hand fracture) will make his return to the court for Sunday’s game against the Wizards.
DeAndre’ Bembry (abdominal pain) is being listed as out for Wednesday’s game against the Magic.
De’Andre Hunter (right ankle sprain) is being listed as probable for Wednesday’s game against the Magic.
Dewayne Dedmon (right elbow pain) is being listed as probable for Wednesday’s game against the Magic.
Ben Simmons (back) suffered a nerve impingement in his lower back and will be re-evaluated in approximately two weeks.
Coach Dwane Casey mentioned on Tuesday that Luke Kennard (bilateral knee soreness) could potentially return to the lineup when the team returns from their western road trip.
Wilson Chandler (personal reasons) is being listed as questionable for Wednesday’s matchup with the Wizards.
Elfrid Payton (sore right ankle) is being listed as probable for Wednesday’s contest against the Hornets after missing the previous two games.
Kemba Walker (left knee soreness), who has already been ruled out of Tuesday’s game against the Blazers, is being listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Jazz.
Eric Gordon (sore knee) is being listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies but expects to suit up.
Russell Westbrook (sore thumb) is expected to suit up when the Rockets take on the Grizzlies on Wednesday.
Silly Season Approaching
We’re heading into Silly Season territory. This is when the bench players get more run due to injuries to starters or teams that begin to tank. This is when the fantasy legends of Richaun Holmes, Robert Covington and many more have been made. Now, Holmes and Covington are legit players, but they had their silly season runs way back when they were still prospects. This is also the time where you shouldn’t be afraid to cut bait from those players that are ruled out with multi-week injuries. If you have the IL slots to hold them, obviously you should, but if I have guys like Ben SImmons, Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr. and no IL slots left, I’m thinking hard about dropping them. Especially when playoffs hit. That’s when no player is safe. Players that don’t play and eat up a roster slot will cost you majorly. As a Richaun Holmes owner in a majority of leagues, once the playoffs hit, it’s no mercy. Be quick with your pickups as well, ride the waves, go and grab Coby White and try to ship him off for value. See how long Trevor Ariza can help your team out. If you have any specific questions about this, you can always tweet at me @HB_Nate on Twitter and I’ll gladly answer your call.
From a fantasy perspective, most of the games tonight were in line with what we’re expecting to see from players. Although the Warriors team as a whole is an interesting bunch. I do like Damion Lee a bit and Marquese Chriss should be rostered everywhere. Eric Paschall is a much bigger question mark and I’m not trusting him yet. If you’re in a deep league, Juan Toscano-Andersor has a nice stat set and could be legit as Silly Season comes close. Christian Wood has been let loose and should be owned everywhere as well and Steven Adams has gone on a hot streak. You know the drill, sell-high. He’s not a top-10 player and has been putting up stats like one over the past two weeks. Sell Sell Sell. Malcolm Brogdon has played poorly with Victor Oladipo returning and with Oladipo out, he played well. Now there might be an owner itching to ship off Brogdon with the fear that when Oladipo returns, Brogdon will go back to being fodder. I’ll happily ship off some bench players to acquire Brogdon, he can still produce at a top-75 clip with Oladipo playing. It just takes a bit of time.
Now the two primetime games were well worth watching. Giannis Antetokounmpo had trouble getting those easy dunks like he’s used to and that’s because the Raptors are a stout defense with a loaded bench. They lost Kawhi Leonard, which is the only reason why I don’t think they can topple the Bucks this season. Milwaukee had all of their role players go ice cold in the last four playoff games against the Raptors, but I don’t think that happens again. Tonight showed that Giannis can get help when he’s not going as he usually does. The Raptors also showed that they’re going to be a nightmare to deal with in the playoffs. It was a defensive battle that felt like a playoff game which is why the stat lines across this one are messy. Don’t get caught up in it, all of these players are fine.
The Pelicans have been playing hard as well. They ran into the juggernaut of the Western Conference tonight and fell to King James, but I still have zero doubts that they’ll grab that last playoff spot. Brandon Ingram can still drop numbers with Zion Williamson in the lineup and he’s going to be a mid-round guy, but the top-20 days are gone. Lonzo Ball had a tough night as he was smothered by the Lakers defense and Alex Caruso had the highlight block on him at the rim. Zion’s free throw shooting is really tanking fantasy teams right now and the defensive numbers aren’t there to make up for it which is a problem. He’s still a No. 1 player in dynasty leagues to me as those things will work itself out. He’s played in 12 NBA games.The Lakers got great contributions from their role players in Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso which helped push them over to a win in this one as Anthony Davis struggled. Davis was also grimacing and holding his shoulder and elbow late in the game as well which is never a good sign as he’s back to being Anthony Day-to-Davis. This matchup was one of the most hyped games of the week and LeBron James delivered. He gave us another gem of a performance and made sure that with all the Zion hype, that it was still he who wears the crown.
March 28, 2020, 10:21 pmMitchell RobinsonC, New York Knicks
Knicks owner James Dolan tested positive for Coronavirus on Saturday.
Dolan is in self-isolation and fortunately has "little to no symptoms". The Knicks' press release said that Dolan "continues to oversee business operations" which is hopefully, a good indicator that Dolan is feeling well.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
March 28, 2020, 9:30 pmPaul ReedSF, College
Paul Reed declared for the 2020 NBA Draft on Saturday.
The junior small forward out of Depaul was named to the All-Big East Second Team this past season while averaging 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 2.6 blocks. Reed is likely to be drafted late in the first round. He was an efficient scorer in college (51.6 percent from the field in 2019-20) and if his shooting, rebounding and defensive stats translate to the NBA he could be a sneaky fantasy value. Keep an eye on Reed next season in case he is in a role where he can get minutes in the upper-20s.
Source: Paul Reed on Twitter
March 28, 2020, 7:57 pmZeke NnajiPF, College
According to CBS' Jon Rothstein, Arizona Wildcat power forward Zeke Nnaji will declare for the 2020 NBA draft.
Nnaji is a potential late first-round pick in the draft, given that it's a guard-heavy field and some teams may be in the market for some size. That said, it's far too early to make any hard predictions and draft boards remain fluid. With averages of 16.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on .570 shooting from the field, Nnaji has the base to be a fantasy-friendly big man, should he earn meaningful minutes on the team that eventually takes him.
Source: Jon Rothstein on Twitter
March 28, 2020, 7:50 pmAaron NesmithSF, College
Vanderbilt player Aaron Nesmith has announced that he will be entering the 2020 NBA Draft.
Nesmith, whose 2019-20 NCAA season was cut short by foot surgery, will be foregoing his junior year in order to join the draft. He's 6'6" and weighs in at 213 pounds. Playing small forward for Vanderbilt, Nesmith posted averages of 23 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from beyond the arc in the 14 games he managed to play.
March 27, 2020, 8:36 pmKillian HayesSG, International
Killian Hayes, a highly touted 18-year old point guard who has played three years professionally in France and Germany, has declared for the 2020 NBA draft after submitting the paperwork to the NBA league office.
Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Hayes has been on scouts' radars for quite some time after riding some very impressive YouTube highlight videos to prospect relevancy. In his most recent season, with ratiopharm Ulm in Germany, Hayes averaged 12.8 PTS, 6.2 AST, 2.3 REB and 1.5 STL while seeing his NBA draft stock rise as a result. He is a very talented shooter and it is seemingly more and more likely that Hayes will see his name called in the lottery when draft night arrives.
March 27, 2020, 8:24 pmPatrick WilliamsSF, College
Patrick Williams, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound small forward out of Florida State, has declared for the 2020 NBA draft after a shortened freshman season off the bench, averaging 9.2 PTS, 4.0 REB and 1.0 AST while not starting a single game for a deep Seminoles squad.
The intriguing aspect of Williams' draft aspirations lies in his dimensions; particularly his 7-foot wingspan. He had modest numbers but that can largely be attributed to how deep their rotation was in 2019-20, similar to fellow 'Nole Devin Vassell, who also declared for the draft recently. Williams has incredible athleticism and has made himself into an intriguing prospect who could find himself landing in the first round if his draft stock maintains momentum.
Source: Patrick Williams on Twitter
March 27, 2020, 12:14 pmRudy GobertC, Utah Jazz
The Utah Department of Health has cleared both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, meaning they no longer pose a risk of infection to others.
Both Gobert and Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19, and although Gobert mentioned that he briefly lost his senses of taste and smell, the duo seems to be fully recovered. This is great news as we wait for word on when or if the NBA season will be able to continue.
Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter
March 26, 2020, 4:11 pmReggie BullockSG-SF, New York Knicks
Reggie Bullock will likely return to the Knicks for another season, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
If the Knicks chose not to bring back Bullock for next year, the team would suffer a $1M cap hit. That means that bringing him back for another season will only have a cap hit of $3.2M. That amount is only 2 percent of the projected salary cap for next season. The Knicks appear to be focused on creating cap flexibility for future years in the hopes that they can land some big-name free agents. Continue to monitor this situation as it develops but it appears likely that Bullock will be in a Knicks uniform for at least one more season.
Source: The New York Post
March 26, 2020, 3:57 pmDamyean DotsonSG, New York Knicks
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Damyean Dotson's time with the Knicks could come to an end after this season and the Jazz, Bucks and Warriors are among the teams that are expected to have interest in signing Dotson for the 2020-21 campaign.
Dotson saw his role with the Knicks evaporate towards the end of the season as he received a DNP-CD for eight of the Knicks' final nine contests. Interim head coach, Mike Miller, chose to play veterans Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock over the 25-year-old that they drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft. Dotson will look to land in a situation that will give him a more consistent role as a three-and-D wing as he enters his fourth season in the association.
Source: The New York Post
March 25, 2020, 11:12 pmMalik FittsSF, College
Malik Fitts announced on Twitter that he is declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Fitts was the second leading scorer for a Saint Marys' team that was top-10 in offensive efficiency. He averaged 16.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting .472 from the field and .408 from beyond the arc. Fitts is an under-the-radar draft prospect who will likely be a second-round pick at best. He is likely to have a limited role if he makes an NBA roster next season, but his 3-point efficiency and steals are two fantasy skills that translate well from college to the pros. He could be a threes and steals specialist if he gets minutes in the upper-20s.
Source: Malik Fitts on Twitter