March 24, 2021, 5:07 am
Welcome to the Hoop Ball Daily Dish!
Tuesday night had seven games. And while there were some interesting outcomes as well as some head-turning stat lines, what’s in the forefront of people’s minds right now – at least those playing fantasy basketball – is the NBA Trade Deadline, which happens to be just around the corner. You can probably call it “The Calm Before the Storm.” But is it, though? Calm? Well, the short answer would be “no, it isn’t calm.”
One thing’s for sure, there is a storm looming on the horizon. We’re in for one of the wildest trade deadlines we’ve seen in quite some time. Just the number of players who have either asked to be traded or aren’t with their respective teams in preparation to be traded should be an indication that there will be a significant number of players who will be donning new jerseys by the weekend.
We can visualize or map out all the possible scenarios we want in our heads, but the fact of the matter is that we really can’t be certain as to how all of this will play out. Kind of like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle but with basketball players instead of sub-atomic particles, but no, not really. The chaos will be epic.
Players like Aaron Gordon, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Drummond will be on new teams, possibly even Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, Al Horford, John Collins, and a whole list of names we haven’t even considered could be on the move as well.
The important thing is to save those weekly moves, those waiver wire priorities those FAB dollars so that you can swoop in and grab the beneficiaries of the changes in the fantasy basketball landscape.
Anyway, back to Tuesday night’s games. Wow. James Harden almost single-handedly toppled the Blazers, 116-112. Not only does that say a lot about him and the Blazers, but also the rest of Harden’s crew over at Brooklyn.
New York’s Mitchell Robinson found his way back to his pre-injury form tonight with 16-12-3 in a brutal domination of the Wizards’ soft frontcourt.
With Lonzo Ball absent tonight, both Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis Jr. played well in varying respective degrees. Both of these guys will be interesting players to grab and stash as both Ball and Eric Bledsoe have been shopped by the Pelicans long before the trade deadline neared the corner.
The Nuggets won. Nikola Jokic is amazing. Blah, blah, blah. Jokic for *cough* MVP *cough*!!!
Add(s) of the Night
Kendrick Nunn, PG/SG
He’s back. After a recent downward trend, the absence of Goran Dragic tonight served as a catalyst for Nunn to be able to pop off. The only “danger” in investing in Nunn at the moment is that the Heat are supposedly in the market for an upgrade at the point guard position and are one of the teams that are seriously interested in acquiring the services of the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry.
Either way, Nunn should be good for a couple of more games at the very least.
Nicolas Claxton, PF/C
Don’t look now but Claxton just dropped his second straight 16-point game. He’s trending up but we have to remember to take tonight’s game with a grain, no, a fistful of salt. The Nets were without Kyrie Irving and were still without Kevin Durant. Then again, Claxton doesn’t play backup for their positions. DeAndre Jordan had three points and 10 boards in 20 minutes. That said, Claxton wouldn’t get the usage and touches he got tonight of either or both Irving and Durant played tonight.
Goran Dragic, PG/SG
Dragic is dealing with back problems and being no spring chicken, this could be something that will linger for a while. Then there’s also the aforementioned interest that the Heat have in Kyle Lowry, someone whose addition would surely cramp Dragic’s style, assuming he was still with the Heat
whenif Lowry arrives. But that’s dipping too much into the speculative well right now. Dragic has barely been able to hold onto value outside the top-175 over the last month and has trended down with value outside of the top-200 over the last couple of weeks.
The biggest news that came out tonight was that Stephen Curry is expected to miss at least another week due to inflammation in his tailbone. James Wiseman (health protocols) and Eric Paschall (health protocols) were both available but only Wiseman played and actually started. On a non-injury-related note, Wiseman is slated to remain as the Warriors’ starting center moving forward. FYI.
The Magic were without Cole Anthony (non-displaced rib fracture), Chasson Randle (sore left groin) and Terrence Ross (sore right knee).
No Lonzo Ball tonight for the Pelicans with a right hip flexor strain.
The Knicks got Elfrid Payton (right hamstring strain) back and he played a quiet 21 minutes, scoring just seven points but also swiped three steals, which was a nice bonus. Immanuel Quickley (sore left ankle) played but moved back to the bench and produced 14 points with three triples in only 12 minutes of action. As previously mentioned, Mitchell Robinson (sprained left ankle) blew up for 16 points, 12 boards and three blocks.
Abdel Nader was the only one on the injury report for the Suns with right knee soreness.
James Harden (sore neck) was questionable tonight but was able to play and popped off for 25 points, seven rebounds and 17 dimes.
The Sixers were without Joel Embiid (left knee bone bruise) and Seth Curry (left ankle sprain), who were both ruled out way ahead of tonight’s game.
Kyrie Irving was away from the Nets, dealing with personal matters.
A South Beach Surprise
Trade winds could be blowing in Miami pretty soon. They lost to the Suns, who may be on a winning streak, but still, it’s the Suns.
The Heat got as far as the Finals in 2019-20, blazing through the Eastern Conference in one of the more surprising and inspiring Cinderella storylines of the Orlando Bubble.
In order for them to repeat that feat, or even come close to it, they will need to spruce up their roster. The franchise’s aspirations for a championship are on a timer and that said timer is closely tied to Jimmy Butler and the number of years he has left in him. They’re not going to make it.
They’ve been linked to Kyle Lowry, which is understandable because their weakest position is at point guard, and Lowry’s defensive-minded, bulldog, never-say-die attitude just seems like a great fit for the team’s needs and existing culture. Lowry is a champion and one of the fiercest competitors out there in the league.
The Heat are looking for upgrades all around, really, and there is a rich and varied selection of players out there who can make an instant impact for the team.
In the process of gaining someone like Lowry, the Heat will need to part with some talent. We’re talking about the neighborhood of Tyler Herro and maybe Duncan Robinson as well. Goran Dragic could be thrown in various scenarios, just to make contracts match. Lowry, for example, reportedly wants assurances that whichever team he’s traded to will sign him to a two-year deal where he gets $25 million a year – a hefty price for a player his age.
LaMarcus Aldridge has also listed the Heat among his preferred teams to be traded to. The Heat are currently in competition with the Blazers and Celtics for the big man’s services.
Before all is said and done, when the dust settles after the trade deadline, the Heat could look drastically different, possibly Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, two more stars and a bunch of free-agent role-players who were signed on the cheap.
The writing is on the wall. The Heat need to make a move, maybe more than one, if they want to optimize their chances to win a championship. And if there’s anyone who can appreciate the value of optimization, that’s us, fantasy heads.