November 6, 2019, 3:20 am
Just when you think you had the NBA figured out, two upsets get splashed in on a Tuesday night. Trae Young returned after a one-week absence and shocked the Spurs, the Lakers found themselves down 13 to the Bulls entering the fourth quarter and came all the way back, and the Hornets aren’t as bad as we thought they were.
Let’s dig in to some moves to help out your fantasy squad while everyone is still trying to figure out value in this young season.
Add(s) of the Night
Jabari Parker, F, Atlanta Hawks – 32 minutes, 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, 9-of-14 FG, 1-of-2 FT
In case you are living under a rock, Hawks big man John Collins has been suspended 25 games for the illegal use of a banned growth hormone. The big beneficiary here is Jabari Parker, who is an instant add in all formats. He has a fantasy-friendly game and is capable of filling up the stat sheet across the board when given minutes, which he will now inherit.
In roto formats, Parker becomes a prime, albeit shortasset to help get you a third of the way through the season with big numbers off the wire. He will also serve as a great head-to-head player to give you a good head start to make your playoffs into December. Run, don’t walk, to grab Parker, as he is surprising less than 14% on ESPN, 34% owned on Yahoo, and 65% owned on FanTrax.
De’Andre Hunter, F, Atlanta Hawks – 36 minutes, 16 points, eight rebounds, one assist, 6-of-13 FG, 2-of-2 FTs
You can sense a theme here. With John Collins out and more minutes to go around, Hunter saw the most usage he has seen in his young career. His 36 minutes and 13 field goal attempts were a career-high. Fantasy basketball has a lot to do with opportunity and Hunter could provide some low-end value in standard leagues. If you play in a 14-team league or deeper, Hunter is a borderline must-add and see what happens in those formats.
If you’re looking for more potential adds, check out our Pickups of the Night, part of the Hoop Ball Gametime Premium package.
We’re not saying that you have to drop any of these guys, only that you should at least consider it depending who’s on your waiver wire. Your mileage may vary based on league size and team build, but for the most part we’ll try to cut dead weight in the 12-team range.
If you added Bacon to your fantasy breakfast on opening night, you likely suffered from a pork overdose. He possibly tempted owners with the smell of Bacon again after Saturday’s 25-6-2-2 line against the Warriors, which made him a popular waiver wire add once again.
Devonte’ Graham stomped on his greasy value on Tuesday night, posting a monstrous 35-4-6-3 line in 42 minutes, compared to Bacon’s 13 minutes. He was in foul trouble, but Graham is simply better than him. It’s time to move on to other diets.
John Collins (pending appeal, situational)
Let me start with a word of caution: don’t make a hasty decision just yet, as John Collins plans to appeal his 25-game suspension.
Several of you spent a hefty pick on John Collins during your drafts. The decision to drop a player of this caliber on a non-injury absence is entirely up to you and the settings in your league.
Most leagues do not allow suspended players in your IL spot, so you will likely have to hold Collins until late December, which will bleed you in the standings. In head-to-head leagues, we are two matchups in the books, so if you are already far behind near last place, you could at least shop Collins around to a bold owner and salvage some value. Again, it all depends on your circumstances. Perhaps you are facing other teams with injuries or holding DeAndre Ayton and you can stomach some time here and there. Maybe your league allows a high amount of teams in the playoffs. You know your circumstances best.
In roto leagues, if you are in a league which allows daily substitutions and transactions, you probably have to cut bait and move on if Collins’ suspension is upheld. It’s hard to do so this early on a guy oozing talent, but a roster spot with no stats for seven weeks gives you nearly no shot to jump atop the standings.
Again, this is all circumstantial. Assess your situation, wait for news of Collins’ appeal, and make a calculated decision.
Kawhi Leonard is being listed as out against the Bucks on Wednesday, but is expected to play against the Blazers on Thursday. This will be Kawhi’s second game of the young season resting in order to manage his load. The Clippers have a back-to-back next week as well, so you can expect Kawhi to probably play only three games next week.
Trae Young returned for the Hawks after a one-week absence and led the Hawks to a 108-100 upset victory over the Spurs. His ankle looked just fine on this play toying with LaMarcus Aldridge.
Gary Harris left Tuesday’s game with an ankle injury and was quickly ruled out. After the game, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he expects Harris to play against the Sixers on Friday. This was starting to sound all too familiar, but it’s a relief to hear Harris should be back quickly.
Paul Millsap was another Nuggets player who left Tuesday’s game and did not return. He collided with Justise Winslow and cut his forehead, bleeding profusely before leaving the game with a towel over the wound. Millsap is getting stitches and coach Malone expects him to play against the Sixers on Friday.
PJ Washington is day-to-day with a lower leg contusion after injuring it on Tuesday against the Pacers. He shouldn’t miss much time, if any.
D’Angelo Russell is questionable with a right ankle sprain for Wednesday’s game against the Rockets. Steve Kerr was hopeful Russell should come back, which sounds like his return will be very soon.
Will Barton returned from a two-game absence with a toe injury. He played 32 minutes and put up a nice double-double with 15 points, 10 boards, four assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers. It’s safe to say he has recovered nicely.
Jeff Teague is being listed as questionable with an illness ahead of Thursday’s game against the Grizzlies. Shabazz Napier is doubtful with a right hamstring strain, so there’s a chance the Wolves could be down to Jarrett Culver. No thanks.
Brad Stevens said that Jaylen Brown worked out on Tuesday after an illness landed him out for the past two games. Stevens said Brown has a chance to play against the Hornets on Thursday.
Blake Griffin is out for Wednesday’s game against the Knicks with his left knee injury. Griffin went through 3-on-3 practice on Tuesday and is inching closer to a return.
Zach Collins is having surgery on his torn labrum and will be re-evaluated in four months. He can safely be dropped in all formats.
The Hornets are Above .500 with Waiver-Wire Heroes
The Hornets won their third game in a row after a 122-120 overtime win against the Pacers. Sure, they beat the depleted Warriors and lowly Kings, but doesn’t a win over the Pacers warrant taking this team more seriously?
The game fell on the back of young fantasy waiver-wire heroes: Devonte Graham (35-4-6-3), Terry Rozier (22-5-4-1), PJ Washington (16-3-3-1). All three should be owned in your leagues, no matter the format.
As for the Pacers, your ultimate sell-high moment lasts all day, since the Pacers play again Wednesday: T.J. Warren shot 15-for-18 from the field for 33 points, four boards, three assists, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers. It would be hard to imagine Warren tops this performance. Throw some darts at top-75 players and see what lands. This is the top of the mountain.
Gordon Hayward is All the Way Back
It took a while, and quite a bit of scrutiny, but it appears that Gordon Hayward has rediscovered himself on the Celtics roster. On Tuesday, he shot 17-for-20 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line for 39 points, seven boards, eight assists and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes. It was his Celtics career-high, one shy of his actual career-high of 40 points, which is impressive considering his only hit one triple.
Obviously, Hayward won’t shoot that well, and there’s a great chance he won’t shoot this well again in a single game this season. However, it’s nice to see a guy who battled so hard to come back from a gruesome injury have success again.
Hayward has name value, so you bet this is a great opportunity to sell high. You could shop him around for a top-50 player, but not worse than that. There is a legitimate chance Hayward finishes in the top-60 or beyond this season.
June 4, 2020, 2:00 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
The Board of Governors has approved the NBA's 22-team format to restart the 2019-20 season.
The vote was 29-1. It was widely expected that the format would get the go-ahead, even though more than one team didn't fully support the proposed plan, and the NBA has at least settled on what the season will look like once it's able to resume. They have also set the draft lottery for August 25 and the draft for October 15. The biggest hurdles remain anything that has to do with COVID-19, and to this point the league has yet to say anything about those challenges, but there is plenty of forward momentum these days.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 3, 2020, 9:23 pmEnes KanterC, Boston Celtics
Sean Deveney reported that "multiple agents say not all players are on board with an NBA return".
One agent said, "Most of the guys are excited, fired up, they want to get back out there. Those are 95 percent of the conversations I have had". There are players that feel the money is not worth putting themselves and their families at risk. Enes Kanter weighed in on the topic, saying "there are some other team's players out there, that they don't want to play. They're like, 'It's just a game. I'm not going to risk my life". It is likely that the high-profile players will still play, but it looks like some role players may not be willing to take the risk to join their team when the NBA season resumes.
June 3, 2020, 4:39 pmDerrick RosePG, Detroit Pistons
The Pistons announced that they plan to reopen team facilities on Thursday, allowing voluntary individual workouts while following all the social-distancing guidelines.
Although the Pistons' season is likely over as they are not one of the 22 teams that will continue to play if the Board of Governors vote to ratify the plan on Thursday, this will allow players to stay in shape for the 2020-21 season which is expected to start in December.
Source: James Edwards III
June 3, 2020, 11:41 amZion WilliamsonPF, New Orleans Pelicans
Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Pelicans, Blazers, Suns, Kings, Spurs and Wizards will be the six non-playoff teams resuming action when the NBA restarts.
This makes complete sense, as they're the only non-playoff teams that can sniff the postseason. Woj backs up an earlier Shams Charania report about a potential play-in tournament for the final playoff spot in each Conference as well. If the ninth seed trails the eighth seed by more than four games when the league's truncated regular season wraps up, the eighth seed makes the playoffs. If the deficit is under four games, however, the two teams will compete in a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for the ninth.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 3, 2020, 11:36 amLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the NBA will have an eight-game regular season for the purposes of playoff seeding upon its return while Shams Charania reports that there will be a play-in tournament for the eighth seed.
This applies to the NBA coming back with 22 teams, as the league's bottom eight are well out of playoff contention and bringing them to Orlando would only negatively affect the league's pursuit for player safety. As for the play-in tournament, Charania describes it as such: "If the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed earns the playoff spot; if the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind, then the eighth and ninth seed will enter a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for ninth." Expect another announcement about the league's format in the coming days.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 2, 2020, 10:02 pmCorey BrewerSF, Sacramento Kings
Corey Brewer, a veteran of eight different NBA teams, is still hoping to sign another contract before he calls it a career.
Brewer, 34, seems to think he has enough in the tank for one final stint in the NBA. “We had some talks with a few teams, but nothing really happened. My agent is still working on it, so we’ll see,” Brewer said. “I feel like I can still help a team and I feel like I have a few good years left. But you never know, man." Brewer has not suited up for an NBA team this season and, with a waning jump shot and increased age, his chances of securing another pact in the NBA are pretty unlikely.
June 2, 2020, 9:47 pmDeMarcus CousinsC, Los Angeles Lakers
Kings broadcaster Grant Napear stepped down from his position with the Kings on Tuesday after he said 'All Lives Matter..Every Single One!' when asked about his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement during a Twitter interaction with former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.
This is the first domino to fall in American professional sports in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, even if it's a relatively insignificant one. Napear said of himself and the interaction, "I’m not as educated on BLM as I thought I was. I had no idea that when I said 'All Lives Matter' that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across," he said. "I’m in pain. I’m 60 years old and I still have a lot to learn." The Kings will evidently have to find a new play-by-play man for their radio broadcasts to accompany Doug Christie when games resume.
June 2, 2020, 8:45 pmJohn WallPG, Washington Wizards
John Wall, who has long been rumored to have absolutely zero chance of returning to the court even if the current season is resumed, said in a conference call last week that he feels "110 percent."
Wall and the Wizards both maintain that he will not return to action this season, regardless of the outcome of the vote on Thursday by the NBA Board of Governors. This is good news, obviously, for the team as they set their sights on next season. As of late, trade rumors have been swirling around the franchise's two top assets: Wall and All Star guard Bradley Beal. Moving forward, there is a high possibility that the Wizards will decide between the two, as Beal's contract will expire after next season. Which player will the Wizards keep? Who will they trade, or will they trade them both? They are hoping to have some time to evaluate how the pair plays in tandem early next season, as Wall has missed significant time with a torn left Achilles he suffered during the 2018-19 season. But it may be too late to negotiate an extension with Beal at that point, so they will have to play their cards with extreme care.
Source: The Athletic
June 2, 2020, 8:27 pmBradley BealSG, Washington Wizards
Wes Unseld, a Hall of Famer and Washington Bullets legend, passed away on Tuesday due to complications with pneumonia and other illnesses. He was 74 years old.
An outstanding rebounder, Unseld is also one of only two players to ever be awarded Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same season in 1968-69. He guided the Bullets to the NBA Finals four times, winning once in 1978, a series where Unseld took home MVP honors. Hornets' GM and former teammate Mitch Kupchak said of Unseld, “As a teammate, he was tough, dependable and competitive to no end.” Unseld was a fearless competitor and highly respected across the league during his 13 seasons with the Bullets franchise. Former Knicks center and fellow Hall of Famer Willis Reed recently recalled their battles against one another, "He was most consciously a rebounder — he could shoot, but he didn’t emphasize that part of his game — and felt that if he did his job right, by getting the defensive rebound and making the quick outlet pass, they would score quickly.” Unseld was undoubtedly a pioneer for the game of basketball and means a great deal to the city of Washington D.C.
Source: Rick Bonnell on Twitter
June 2, 2020, 7:58 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
ESPN's Adrian Wojanrowski is reporting that Adam Silver and the NBA Board of Governors, who are planning to vote Thursday on how to continue the season, would like the NBA Finals to conclude no later than October 12.
With July 31 being the widely-reported restart date and the league tentatively planning to start 𝘯𝘦𝘹𝘵 season by Christmas Day of this year, it would make sense to crown a league champion as early as possible. The meeting with the NBA Board of Governors on Thursday will (finally) bring some clarity to the rest of the NBA season, as they will hold a vote to decide how to proceed. NBA fans have been waiting since the middle of March for some resolutions. This week will provide them.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter