• Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo both notched triple-doubles, which is only the sixth time it’s ever occurred in the regular season. On Tuesday’s four-game slate, the first three games were wildly entertaining, only for the night to be ruined with the Knicks in the late-game slot. The Nuggets continue to struggle offensively (float those buy-lows for Nikola Jokic) while the Hornets continue to surpass expectations. We’re here to down the big news and takeaways from Tuesday’s slate so off we go.

    Line of the Night

    Bam Adebayo, C, Miami Heat – 30 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and two steals 13-for-18 FG, 4-for-5 FT

    Adebayo set new career highs in points and assists tonight and is on pace to smash his ADP. More on how great he’s been below.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Davis Bertans, SF, Wizards – 32 points, nine rebounds, one assist, one block and eight 3-pointers (11-of-18 FG, 2-for- 2FT, 8-for-12 3PT)

    This guy is nuts. He’s flinging around 3-pointers like he’s Stephen Curry. The Wizards are ALL about that action on offense and have no problem diverting half of their 3-point attempts to Bertans because he’s an absolute flamethrower from deep. On the year he’s hitting .452 of his long-balls and in the month of December he’s hitting 5.6 3s on 11.8 attempts a game which is just insane. He’ll cool off a bit of course, but the high amount of triples should still be enough to warrant standard-league value. Thomas Bryant is shelved a bit longer, but even at full strength, Bertans is one of the premier 3-point shooters in the league and in fantasy circles.

    P.J. Washingon, PF, Hornets – 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, one block and three 3-pointers (5-for-13 FG, 2-for-2 FT, 3-for-9 3PT)

    I’m giving you guys another free one since Bertans is owned in over 70% of Yahoo! leagues. Washington was red-hot to start the year and cooled off a bit, but he’s now providing stats elsewhere to help with those bad shooting nights. He’s getting better with each passing game and is one of the most complete rookies in this class, yes that means he’s a good defender, but he also knows how to score within the flow of the offense. I’ll rave more about Washington in the section below, but if you’re in the 45% of leagues that his him on the wire, go grab him.

    Drop Zone

    Tyler Herro, SG, Miami Heat – It’s time to let it go. The hype around him was higher than it should have been because of some preseason performances and he was reaching Kyle Kuzma levels of praise. The Heat scored 135 points in OT and Herro couldn’t etch out any value which is a major problem considering they were without Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow as well. Herro hasn’t provided top-150 value on a per-game basis in the last two months, last month, last two weeks or last week. On the year he’s on ranked No. 165 on a per-game basis. Don’t let the occasional big game fool you, he’s not worth holding onto in the long run. In the words of Elsa, let it go.

    Injuries

    Austin Rivers will miss Wednesday’s game with an illness.

    Tyson Chandler won’t play in Wednesday’s game with an illness.

    Delon Wright is already listed as doubtful for Thursday with a right adductor strain.

    Derrick Favors will play against the Bucks on Wednesday after missing several games due to personal reasons.

    Kyrie Irving is still dealing with a right shoulder impingement and will miss Wednesday’s game.

    Mike Conley won’t play in Wednesday’s game due to a left hamstring strain.

    Damion Lee is probable to play in Wednesday’s game after missing time due to a fractured left hand.

    Jeff Teague showed up on the injury report as questionable due to left ankle soreness. The ankle limited his minutes in the last game and he came off the bench so the Wolves might play it carefully with him.

    Marcus Smart is still dealing with an eye infection and is questionable for Wednesday’s tilt against the Pacers.

    Robert Williams will miss Wednesday’s game with a sore right hip.

    Otto Porter Jr.’s nightmare season continues as he’s set to miss at least the next four weeks with a left foot bone edema before even being re-evaluated. Owners will have to re-evaluate their roster spot with this news, especially those of you who don’t have an IL slot.

    Landry Shamet and Rodney McGruder are both listed as out for Wednesday’s match against the Raptors. Shamet is dealing with an ankle sprain and McGruder has a hamstring strain.

    Aron Baynes may finally make his return from a left calf strain on Wednesday, as he’s listed as probable.

    Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson are both listed as probable for Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies.

    Fantasy Hive

    I’m going to take a section and dedicate it to a team that I and many others believed to be a dumpster fire heading into this year. The over/under for their win total was 17 heading into this season. Terry Rozer was signed to an albatross contract, Kemba Walker walked and all signs pointed to a disaster year, but they quickly silenced all of the haters. If you ever get the chance, watching a Hornets game is actually. . . fun. They’ve adapted a modern take on basketball and the emergence of their young talent is already miles ahead of their projected schedule. The Hornets rank 7th in 3-point attempts in volume and by shot percentage, their offense and defense are still bad compared to the majority of the league, but they’ve already hit 10 wins and should easily crush their pre-season betting prediction of 17.

    P.J. Washington ranks 8th in scoring among rookies, averaging 12.1 points to go with 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 0.8 blocks while hitting 1.4 3s at a .425 clip. He’s shooting .491 from the floor and if you watch him play, there’s almost never a time when he shoots and you think, “Why did he take that shot?”. Almost every shot he takes is a “good” or “clean” look and there should be serious discussion regarding him being the Rookie of the Year so far.

    Miles Bridges has cut the fat out of his game and left all of the juicy goodness, which is great for the squad and for fantasy owners. Tonight, he went 3-for-6 from deep, including the dagger 3-pointer in the corner to put the game away in crunch time.The defensive numbers from a fantasy perspective could use a bump, but he’s not hurting owners anywhere and there’s a strong chance that he improves as the year goes on. His per-game stats are outside of the top-120, but he’s delivered nearly top-80 value in 9-cat leagues overall. He’s one of the centerpieces for this Hornets team so he’ll get all the room he needs to learn.

    Scary Terry is a guy that many people were afraid of because his low efficiency coupled with high usage would cause serious damage to owners’ percentages. Luckily, he’s playing within the scope of the team and not being disruptive. He’s surprisingly taken a backseat to Devonte’ Graham in a well-mannered fashion and it’s led to what could be viewed as his best version of himself. He’s scoring 17.5 points with 2.7 3s, 4.3 assists and 1.2 steals on .429 shooting. He’s hurting you a bit in percentages, but he’s not shooting enough to make it an anchor and he’s doing enough elsewhere to prop himself up. The unprecedented growth of Devonte’ Graham has led to Rozier being able to defer ball-handling duties which is good news for everyone involved.

    The biggest story here is Devonte’ Graham. This guy is an absolute stud. If you’re a premium member, you got to read me gush about him in the Weekly Report yesterday, but now I’m doing this for free for the people. They need to know. Yeah, the numbers are great, 19.2 points, 7.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 3.7 3s on .404 shooting. The low shooting percentage from the field is not a problem at all because he’s taking more 3s (8.7 attempts) a game than 2s (6.5 attempts). This is where you need to dive into some advanced analytics to see that he’s boasting a .561 true-shooting percentage (which takes into account 3-pointers and free throws). In fantasy circles that count FG%, you’re a bit out of luck, but he’s been so good elsewhere that it doesn’t matter. Graham is putting up All-Star numbers and it’s no fluke. His control of pace and usage of the pick-and-roll is immediately something you can observe after watching him play for five minutes. His vision and ability to deliver the ball to teammates combined with the I.Q. make him a top-tier point guard in fantasy circles and easily the best player on the Hornets.

    I know ESPN and all of these other media outlets always do this thing where they cherry pick stats to show how good a player is doing, but I had to take a look at what Graham was doing and see who else was putting up numbers like this.

    Minimum 20 games played – Players who are averaging at least 17 points, 7 assists and 3 3s a game: James Harden, Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard, Trae Young and Devonte’ Graham.

    Minimum 20 games played – Players who are averaging at least 15 points with a 37% assist rate: Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Trae young and Devonte’ Graham.

    If you own Graham, you don’t need me to tell you how much of a superstar he’s been and if you don’t own him, this dish here is to let you know that you’ll be hearing about him sooner rather than later. He’s the truth and one of the reasons why I love watching basketball is watching young talent blossom before our eyes.

    White Hot

    The Miami Heat are also a surprising team this season, well, depending on who you ask. Before the year started it was the Bucks and Sixers, but the Celtics sit at No. 2 behind the Bucks and the Heat are the 3rd seed and riding a seven-game win streak. They’re 11-0 at home and Coach Spoelstra has done a fantastic job leveraging his talent and maximizing his assets.With how much depth and talent they have, it’s a bit hard to assess which talents to chase and which to drop, just like last season.

    To me, the only must hold players in standard leagues are Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn. Duncan Robinson is a close fourth and he’s playing the way everyone thought Tyler Herro would. Robinson is hitting 2.8 3s at a .425 clip from deep while Herro is hitting 2.1 on a .391 mark from deep. The rest is noise and you’ll be chasing inconsistency. There’s a place for that on rosters, but it’ll be a headache.

    One guy that’s been teetering on and off is Kendrick Nunn. He’s been bordering standard league value, but is entrenched as the starting guard and Coach Spoelstra is allowing him to chuck away. He’s only dipped below 20% usage once in the last seven games and while the defensive numbers are a bit concerning, the fact that he’s guaranteed minutes and usage makes him the most reliable guy out of the mess of guards in Miami.

    Jimmy Butler is doing his usual business, but Bam Adebayo has quickly reached his potential and is playing as one of the best bigs in the league. He’s versatile on both ends of the floor and is actually running point on many sets, as evidenced by his career-high 11 assists tonight. I tweeted in the early stages of the year (shameless plug of @HB_Nate on Twitter) that Bam might reach 400 assists and that was on the higher end of the spectrum. After tonight, I’m fully confident he can reach five per game with how the Heat are using him. Coach Spoelstra is also having him as the primary defender on the opposing team’s ball-handler or point guard which has caused plenty of problems for teams as they decide whether or not to call for a screen. Adebayo is causing mismatches on the defensive end which is unheard of for a center. He’s putting up nearly top-40 value on the year and I might be overly optimistic, but top-30 is well within play this year and I think if you’re in a dynasty league you should treat him has a top-15 asset.

     

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